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K-Pop Crossover: brandUn DeShay Discusses His Recent Collaboration With South Korean Rapper Reddy [EXCLUSIVE]

By Tony Sokol | September 29, 2015 02:49 PM EDT

Los Angeles-based rapper-producer brandUn DeShay first hit the hip-hop scene in 2010 when his debut single, "Why You Gotta Zodiac Like That," was put in rotation on mtvU.

Since then, DeShay has produced rappers like Curren$y, Dom Kennedy, Mac Miller, Action Bronson, Chance The Rapper and Danny Brown. DeShay's remix of the Thundercat song "Lone Wolf And Cub," released back in August, is proof of how much he has grown musically in the last five years. The Chi-Town MC's recent collaboration with South Korean rapper Reddy, entitled "Chi Kwon," proved to be one of the best East-meets-West rap songs the K-pop explosion has produced so far.

Last week in an exclusive interview, DeShay took some time to talk to KpopStarz about a career path that has taken a lot more twists and turns than the average 25-year-old MC.

"I listen to a lot of K-pop," he said.

"People will see me riding around with my girlfriend, who is Asian, listening to Red Velvet, Oh My Girl or Boyfriend and think it's her. But it's actually me who's playing it."

The love of Korean music led DeShay to connect with artists a bit closer to home.

"I live near Korea Town in Los Angeles, so I've been able to make friends with a lot of Korean musicians, including Peter Hong, Amber Liu, Jeff Bernat, Lola Fair of Baby Vox, Keith Ape, Dumbfoundead and KeroOne, the producer for Park Kyung," he said.

But when it came to "Chi Kwon," it was Reddy who sought out the Chicago-born LA rapper.

"It was very 2015," DeShay said. "Reddy reached out to me on Instagram actually when he heard about my beats and I was familiar with [his record label the Seoul-based] Hi-Lite Records already, so we exchanged numbers and worked via FaceTime and email...we recorded it over the internet."

DeShay was impressed with that legendary Korean work ethic.

"He is a very hard worker," he said of the long-distance collaboration with Reddy. "We were able to create about four songs in only a couple weeks. He is fast and has very clear vision. We also have similar taste so we agreed on most things easily."

DeShay also discussed the complex opening riff of "Chi Kwon."

"That was me," he said. "That was a beat I did very fast, about 30 minutes after listening to a lot of punk music, so the bassline riff came to me pretty organically. I wanted to express attitude, passion and youth in that song, all the elements of punk music. I'm a big fan of Anthrax, Misfits, The Smiths, Bad Religion, so many."

The process only primed DeShay for more collaborations with Korean artists.

"I would love to work with Hoody and Coke Jazz," he said. "I listen to 'Blue Horizon' every day. Dok2, Epik High or Dynamic Duo would be amazing too."

The rapper also keeps up with who's on top of the K-pop charts.

"Right now, I love Red Velvet, Clazziquai, Justin Park of ST5A , Big Bang, Jo Jung Min and TaeYong," DeShay said. "I love a good catchy melody and rhythm and K-pop is the same way.

But the rapper admits that he is also enamored witht the visual aspects of the genre.

"K-pop music videos are so good and well developed," he said, before listing a few current favorites.

"'Automatic' by Red Velvet is a great video, 'Ah Yeah' by Exid, 'Cupid' by Oh My Girl and the 'Lion Heart'  video by Girls' Generation are all really dope."

Always on the lookout to expand his sonic output, DeShay also talked about how his remix of "Lone Wolf And Cub" came to pass.

"I met Thundercat backstage at show after we were introduced by Tribe Called Quest's Q-Tip," he said.

"We really hit it off after talking and exchanged numbers. Then I asked if I could remix a song from his new album. He gave me the okay and we were good."

Watch the music video for "yUng N On Da ComeUp" by brandUn DeShay RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  brandUn DeShay, Reddy, K-Pop Crossover, K-Pop, Chi Kwon

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