The LiFTED 50 Number 1: Jay Park
The South Korean superstar has done a lot for Asian Hip Hop
It’s true that a Jay Park tweet can move mountains. On Friday, about 24 hours after dropping our LiFTED 50 list, Jay retweeted our list and our world shook with joy. But first, the website started crashing because so many people were on it at once. Once our amazing IT guy fixed up things, we could go back to celebrating.
This just goes to show how influential Jay really is in his realm. He’s been working non-stop in the music business since 2008, but he’s also a Bboy at heart, having been a member of Art of Movement, a Seattle-based Bboy crew, since 2003. Being serious about Hip Hop gives you a lot of life lessons. For Bboys, it means practicing over and over until you figure out how to master your craft. For MCs, it means freestyling until the mic doesn’t work again. For bosses, it means running the long game and being able to spot trends and focus on them before everyone else does.
Jay Park has done more in and for Hip Hop in Asia than any other artist. Jay started his career in the KPop band 2PM after four years of hardcore KPop training. He experienced being canceled before it had a name and came back from his troubles even stronger. He harnessed the power of YouTube from the start, and he’s built three record labels with successes across the board at AOMG, H1GHR MUSIC, and now with More Vision. Jay signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, was the only non-Chinese judge on The Rap of China, and he’s been a mentor on Show Me the Money. He’s worked with big brands like Nike, has starred in movies, and has done concerts all over the globe.
There is no doubt that Jay Park has GOAT status, which places him firmly at the top of this LiFTED 50 list. But just in case you thought he was just an idol or dabbled too much in R&B, here’s his Freestyle on Sway in the Morning from 2018. Over the Mos Def’s DJ Premier-produced ‘Mathematics’ beat, Jay Park goes so crazy on the mic that at the end, Sway had to scream, “We’ve got a hyena up in here.”