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Filmmaker Salima Koroma Talks About 'Bad Rap' Documentary Featuring Jay Park, Dumbfoundead & Other Korean-American Hip-Hop Artists [Exclusive Interview]

By Ellie L. | September 30, 2014 12:11 AM EDT

(Photo : Salima)

Is it safe to call you a filmmaker/editor/director extraordinaire?

Haha. Extraordinaire? That's epic! I don't want to be like Kanye West where I'm going around telling people I'm a genius or an extraordinaire - but hopefully one day I can be considered a household name. A filmmaker who's made a huge, very important mark. I want people to know and respect the work I do because I love creating films! But right now, I'm just working on getting my filmmaking skills up and learning from other talented people.

You're currently working on a documentary called "Bad Rap." Please tell our readers about this awesome film.

If you live in America or anywhere, really - think about how many Asian-American rappers there are. Can you name five? When I started this documentary I asked my friends this question and people could barely name one. When in reality, there are a ton of Asian American rappers who've made an impact on the industry or who should be: we just haven't been exposed to them.

Bad Rap is a documentary my partner Jaeki Cho and I are making about Asian American rappers. Although we're featuring artists like Jay Park, Far East Movement, Jin, Traphik, and a bunch of others, we're primarily focusing it on 4 rappers: Dumbfoundead from LA, Awkwafina and Rekstizzy both from New York, and Lyricks who's a Virginia rapper.

We've been working on it for almost two years and it's going to be amazing when people see it. You have a lot of Asian American artists talking about what it's been like trying to push into the mainstream music industry. Why hasn't there been that one artist who's made it big and stayed at the top?

What made you interested in documenting Asian American rappers?

Actually, I wanted to make a documentary about K-pop artists who weren't Korean and didn't speak Korean: Nichkhun of 2PM, Amber of f(x), Kris formerly of EXO. I wanted to see why these kids were picked out to join the K-pop industry and the struggles they go through as trainees not knowing the language and culture. But it was hard getting the companies to talk to me.

During that time, this guy from Queens, Jaeki, had done an interview with G-Dragon for XXL Magazine - it was huge. I figured, this guy probably knows a thing or two about K-pop, let me contact him. We got on the phone and talked for a while. He explained to me a doc about K-pop done by someone outside of the entertainment companies is near impossible. And the more we kept talking, the more we learned about each other's love for Hip Hop. We started talking about Asian rappers like the Mountain Brothers, Tiger JK and Tasha, Dumbfoundead, etc. And from there, we got super excited and I was convinced I had to do the film. Jaeki later came on as my partner and co-producer and we've had a dope partnership.

(Photo : Salima)

Why do you think "Bad Rap" is important for the Asian American community?

I can't really speak too much about how important it is to the Asian American community, although we've gotten so much love on social media and from the media in general. We went to screen a short version of the film at a predominantly Asian American school in New York and the kids told us how happy they were to see representations of themselves that weren't stereotypical. How many times do we have to see Asian Americans on television categorized as nerds, as quiet, as strange before it gets stale and tired? Hopefully we can tell a different story about Asian Americans that you don't see in the media.

On top of that, this film is important if you have even a remote liking for hip hop! Middle America thinks hip hop looks like this but no, it also looks like that. If you're a hip hop head, this film will be important to watch. Hopefully the film can help to step up the hip hop history knowledge a bit. It did for me.

You love K-pop and I know you're especially a fan of 2PM. Can you tell us what made you interested in K-pop and who your favorite groups/singers are?

Woah, you know about my love for 2PM? My cousin is a big geek so she used to be into all these K-dramas. My other cousins and I used to make fun of her about it until one day she got us to watch Boys Over Flowers. And as silly as that drama was, it hooked us all. I started listening to some of the soundtracks - specifically the Dream High OST which had a bunch of 2PM songs on it - and now I'm a huge fan.

In fact, I even started a K-pop site with my good friend called the ONE SHOTS - check it out if you want to laugh. We just have fun throwing harmless shade at all the crazy things that happen in K-pop. It's super fun. We get to do cool interviews - right now we're in the middle of "Fanboy Appreciation Week," where we interviewed Dumbfoundead about his favorite idol rappers and another where Rekstizzy talks about his love for 2NE1 and Minzy. It's the most fun I've ever had. Everyone should have K-pop in their lives.

Where can people check out the documentary or learn more info about it?

If all goes well, the documentary will be ready early next year. If anyone wants to learn about it, Facebook us or follow us on Twitter and Instagram! Or just hit us up via email at badrapfilm@gmail.com

What's coming up for you next?

Hopefully a wedding with 2PM member Jun.K.

Tagged :  jaeki, Jay Park, 2NE1, Kanye West, rekstizzy

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