Dumbfounded Brings His “The Yikes Tour” To The Constellation Room THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: DUMBFOUNDED, YEAR OF THE OX, G YAMAZAW & TED PARK @ THE CONTELLATION ROOM 4/4/18
SANTA ANA, CA- Asia entertainers, musicians in particular, have had quite the renaissance over the past couple years. With pop artists like BTS reaching critical and popular acclaim in the United States, it would appear that- in the age social media- Asian recording artists seem to finally have the means to reach out to, and connect with. an audience that wasn’t readily available to them merely a decade ago.
Asian have been trying to garner respect in the hip-hop game for over 30 years.
It’s not like the talent was never there. In fact, Asians have been been closely tied to the culture almost since its inception; it’s just that “majors” never knew how to get their music out there. The Mountain Brothers were one of the first Asian-American rap groups to get signed to a major label, but marketing something “new” was something that the label couldn’t get their hands and corporate brains around. 2 Live Crew’s “Fresh Kid Ice”? He was Afro-Chinese. Black Eyed Peas’ apl.de.ap? He’s Filipino. DJ Qbert and Mix Master Mike? They’re Filipino too. Asians have been in the game for a minute, it’s just that
In 2016, the well-received documentary “Bad Rap” was released which focused on an Asian rapper who is searching to pierce the BTS veil: Jonathan Park, p/k/a “Dumbfounded”. Dumbfounded is an Argentine American rapper of Korean descent who earned his stripes being one of the premier battle-rappers in the game. His quick, witty and at times comedic flow has been the draw to earn him accolades across the board.
Enlisting the talents award winning spoken word poet G Yamazawa, viral sensation Ted Park and the rising duo Year of the Ox (which features another “Bad Rap” star Richard Lee p/k/a LYRICKS), Dumbfounded brought his “The Yikes Tour” to Santa Ana at the intimate venue Constellation Room.
For those who haven’t been to the Constellation Room, it’s is a rather intimate venue that holds around 200 people. But when I showed up 3 hours before Dumbfoundead was set to perform, and the room was already ⅓ of the way filled up with fans rocking all kinds of Dumbfoundead merch, Clearly, his fans were eager to bump the evening away with their inimitable host.
Unlike most other concerts, where the opening acts often struggle to captivate the crowd, every single one of Dumbfoundead’s opening acts brought out their own unique energy and sound to the stage, captivating the audience in their own way.
First off, DJ Zo came in playing music that seemed to really appeal to the fans. He effortlessly mixed old school and new school hip-hop hits in a way that always had the crowd moving. Even throwing in some memes and iconic pop songs for comic relief, DJ Zo is personally one of the most entertaining DJs I have ever seen.
R&B and hip-hop artist Ted Park came to the stage bringing with him high melodies and a unique upbeat sound that somewhat reminded me of A Boogie wit da Hoodie.
G Yamazawa followed and being both a rapper and a spoken word poet, it was no surprise when he continuously dropped clever bar after clever bar that got the crowd going. Nothing but good energy came from G as he made jokes, engaged with crowd, and performed his ass off.
Year of the Ox was the last the opener, and the duo definitely set up Dumbfoundead with a bang. The two New York rappers brought with them a gritty new school rap sound that served as a nice compliment to Dumbfoundead and all the previous acts. Performing songs from their self-titled EP YOX they delivered complex lyricicism ingrained with metaphors reminiscent of their Asian culture. A great contrast from today’s age of mumble rappers, Year of the Ox made sure to hit hard with their performance.
Finally it was time for the man of the night, Dumbfoundead. As he ran on stage the crowd went wild, and you could see Dumb fill up with energy. He performed songs that ranged his entire discography from iconic hits like “Korean Jesus” and “Cochino” to songs from his latest EP Rocket Man. As a seasoned artist and a notorious battle rapper Dumbfoundead’s clever rhymes, expert flow, and inventive beats took the entire crowd on a ride unobtainable anywhere else.
Undoubtedly delivering an amazing performance, what really made the night special was how Dumbfoundead interacted with everyone in the room. The event didn’t feel like fans going to see an artist, but rather like a bunch friends watching their best friend rap on stage. Dumbfoundead continued to have a back and forth with the crowd throughout the entire night. He made jokes, roasted meddlesome fans, and had entire conversations between songs. It was unique experience where everyone in the room was comfortable and having a great time.
Having packed out all of the stops on his current tour, Dumbfounded’s fan base and cred has been steadily rising, and we figure that will be sooner rather than later that his “bad rap” is find that larger mainstream audience that he’s searching for