Dreaming Balhae

Later albums, like Dreaming Balhae, reflect a more pronounced rock sound, but continue to contain elements of American hip hop, particularly the social critique found in American hip hop. The Wikipedia entry for Seo Taiji and Boys describes the societal critique of songs like “Barhaereul Ggoomggoomyuh (발해를 꿈꾸며 Dreaming of Balhae),” which “indicates a hope of reunification of Korea.” The video also features hip hop choreography. It is significant that Seo Taiji’s early experiments in fusion with Seo Taiji and Boys involved American hip hop. Tony Mitchell argues that “hip-hop and rap cannot be viewed simply as an expression of African American culture; it has become a vehicle for global youth affiliations and a tool for reworking local identity around the world” (1). If expressive culture acts as a tool for refashioning identity, then hip-hop is a Swiss army knife. At its core is the idea of improvisation and blending different elements: “A common feature of the hip-hop scenes in most of these countries is their multiethnic, multicultural nature as vernacular expressions of migrant diasporic cultures, which would appear to reflect the multicultural origins of rap in the South Bronx” (Mitchell, 10).