Rap Like Kendrick” is scribbled over a perspective photo-shoot of iKon’s Bobby in W magazine, Korea. With a theme of, “youth,” Bobby is dressed in colorful and casual outfits, displays a sense of rebelliousness, and scribbles over the images, in English.

Ikon bobby in W Korea

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Kpop in it’s purest form, represents a drive for sustaining youth and youthfulness. Bobby, as a member of the 7-member boy band iKon, plays a prominent role in that narrative, displaying the energy, vitality and emotions that characterize youthfulness.

iKon in Harpers Bazaar, Korea
iKon in Harpers Bazaar, Korea

Youth is defined as the time between childhood and adulthood, or when something is not yet established. And, although kpop has broken the rigid boundaries of the Korean peninsula and Asia, it still remains a not-yet-established genre in the western world. This is okay. Because, sometimes overdoing things can be detrimental, as seen in the proliferation of plastic surgery in kpop and South Korea. All in a bid to sustain youth and retain youthfulness. But, fans and the industry sometimes forget the platitude “age is nothing but a number.”

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An attribute of youth is development. And, Bobby scribbles over the pictures from the photo-shoot his aspirations and development goals. He writes that he wants to “sound like Marley, rap like Kendrick, perform like Michael.” Three icons (no pun intended) – two legends and one in the making. Incidentally, they also share the same heritage on being Black. Why is this important?

Ikon bobby in W Korea 5

After Kendrick Lamar’s explosive performance at the 2016 Grammy Award ceremony (and Beyonce’s Formation, the week before that), artists (and their fans) who look up to these icons and legends, should not remain “youthful” by only looking at the bright side. But, show development and maturity by examining what also inspired(s) these legends (and in-the-making).

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Bob Marley sang beautiful music like “Redemption Song” and “War,” and even Michael Jackson sang about police brutality in “They Don’t Care About Us.” So part of development, and being rebellious is standing up to an oppressive authority or regime (and in general, power), when it’s called for. It’s even more important for influential artist, like Bobby is in K-pop, to do so as a good example to his fans. It also pays homage to the legends he aspires to emulate, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Kendrick Lamar.

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According to the kpop blog Soompi, the W magazine Korea photo shoot “was shot in a variety of locations including Cheonggyecheon, a popular public recreation spot in Seoul, and Nakwon Sanga, a famous musical instrument market,”in Korea.

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