Long known for its incessant depictions of improbable love affair and saccharine lifestyle, fissures are appearing in the once insular world of Korean popular music/culture (commonly categorized as K-Pop). One of the few that dares to deviate from the norm is Lim Sungbin, a star in the small but increasingly popular music genre of K-Hip Hop. Best known by his stage name Beenzino, Lim spent much of his childhood in New Zealand, where he picked up his love of American hip-hop. By the time he moved back to Korea for middle school, Lim was already developing his hip hop persona, one that subsequently became Beenzino, a name Lim derived from his admiration of American rapper Benzino.
Unlike much of his peers, Beenzino’s not represented by any major record label. But that has not slow the 26-year-old’s meteoric rise since his debut in 2009. Just this year alone, he made the KOR music chart seven times, a worth noting feat since the music market is still heavily favored K-Pop and the likes. In addition to his hip-hop career, Beenzino is expanding his reach beyond the music world. A sculpture major at the prestigious Seoul National University, he made headline last month when he appeared in fashion photoshoot with actress Ko Joon-hee, sparking rumors that the two are dating. But whatever the tabloids and gossips may have on him, there is really no way but up for Beenzino
Photography by: Cheonbong Ko
Produced by: Dan Hwang