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The main event of this episode will be the second qualifying round, in which the contestants must rap for 60 seconds in front of all four producer teams – this time with a beat. If they get at least one pass, they’re clear for the next round. If not, they’re eliminated and everyone watches as they sink dramatically through the floor (surrounded of course by the classic ring of fire).
Last week, we were left with the cliffhanger of Double K’s preliminary audition and so this episode we’ll find out his fate.
First, we watch Hangzoo from Rhythm Power audition in the prelims. He was eliminated in the prelims on season 4 of SMTM and has returned to, in a way, defend the honor of the Rhythm Power trio after Geegooin’s elimination in Episode 1. Hangzoo raps confidently and receives a chain from Zico.
Sleepy is another well known contestant highlighted. He is a rapper who was a part of a hip hop duo called Untouchable (circa 2008) and was also a part of Jiggy Fellaz crew. He discusses how after gaining fame on reality tv and becoming well known as an entertainer/comedian, he feels he has slipped from the hip hop scene and wants to give being recognized as a rapper another shot. He knows that expectations for his audition aren’t very high.
Tragically, Sleepy forgets his lyrics and it’s unclear (thanks to Mnet’s editing) how long he actually paused before starting again, but he does recover. Zico ends up handing him a chain and he makes it to the next round.
Finally, we get to Double K. Tiger JK admits to being nervous for him.
Dok2 talks about how he and Double K started together back in 2002 and how coming back to SMTM now will be a huge burden for Double K, as many of the contestants grew up listening to his music and will be watching him closely.
Damn. Double K murdered that. Tiger JK hands over the chain and Dok2 walks over and gives him a chain too.
After hours and hours of auditions, 130 people out of the original 12,000 applicants have made it to the next round.
Later, as the Korean contestants gather, the contestants who passed the audition rounds in LA and NY enter. Everyone introduces themselves. There’s a black dude this year ya’ll and Mnet actually gave him camera time! Anywho…
There’s always this weird tension Mnet tries to build between the American rappers and the Korean rappers. It could actually exist, but it seems silly. While yes, America is where hip hop was born, that doesn’t mean hip hop hasn’t thrived in Korea. And no matter how skilled the U.S. contestants are, this is a show where success means you must be able to rap in Korean and do it well.
Penomeco is the first contestant to face the judges in the second round. Things could get awkward if he doesn’t do well since he and Zico are old friends and in the same crew.
Penomeco receives an All Pass with ease.
Next up is Junoflo, who is admittedly nervous because of everyone’s high expectations for him this season. He raps and impresses the judges and earns much applause from the rest of the contestants waiting and watching in the other room. Everyone is looking forward to great things from him.
When asked about the possibility of facing Hash Swan again (Mnet I swear…just don’t) Junoflo says he hopes it doesn’t happen but if it does, he can’t lose.
There are many rappers from Uijeongbo, the city Tiger JK (and now Junoflo) reps. One of them is a rapper named Black Nine, who was given a chain by Tiger JK in the prelims. Will he impress the other producers?? He does! I really enjoyed his audition and I think he could go far this season. He receives an All Pass.
High school student Na Sungwook is next up in round 2. He starts off so strong but then ends up stumbling twice, completely giving up the last five seconds. By the end, he receives four Fails. Ugh. Everyone (including me) is disappointed. At this point in the competition, you just can’t crack like that.
Next, we see a string of rappers (Rudals, J’Kyun, and others) get eliminated.
Who is the applicant that makes the producers nervous?? P-Type (eliminated season 4) is back. He will again use the ‘Nas Is Like’ beat from his last second round audition. P-Type does well but doesn’t receive passes from Jay Park and Dok2 and the Dynamic Duo team. Someone on the DD team (Gaeko?) comments that his rap style is ‘old’.
‘Demon rapper’ Ignito and ‘angle rapper’ Kebee (former CEO of Soul Company and active in Eluphant) are contrasted in a brief highlight. Kebee stumbles during his audition and fails to recover, receiving fails across the board. Ignito, who has a really interesting rhythm, receives an All Pass, but the producers honor his request for fire anyhow.
Yesss an audition I’ve been waiting to see is next. Woo Wonjae shares that he’s only been doing music for about a year but really wants an outlet to share his story. Choiza tells him that while he hasn’t heard him rap, his talking voice is cool.
Woo Wonjae has this unique, dark, intense style that draws you in. Mnet with all of its censorship really does his audition no justice but anyways… he receives an All Pass! He walks back into the room with the other contestants and receives much applause.
FINALLY we get to see some lady rappers do their thing. A rapper by the name of 아토 (Ato?) receives an All Pass (thanks a lot Mnet for showing her full audition…yes, that’s sarcasm).
Next is rapper Asol, who also passes. After her audition, the notorious Truedy (winner of Unpretty Rapstar 2) appears. Sigh. I really wish I could root for her but I just can’t. She receives passes from everyone except Zico and DEAN. Zico says in the two years that have passed since her audition for UPRS, she’s gotten worse. Jay Park also admits that she’s good but didn’t necessarily earn her UPRS win. Gaeko addresses the elephant in the room: her ‘sensitive problem’ or the fact that if she doesn’t improve and gain her own style she risks becoming a rapper that just sounds like someone else.
Yeah, ‘someone else’. Who could he be referring to?? Okay, I’ll stop being shady now.
Rapper Woodie Go Child auditions and receives an All Pass with a style that stands out from what the producers have been hearing all day.
A familiar face, Killagramz, appears. He shares that he’s a big fan of Dynamic Duo but ‘Tiger JK hyung’ is the one who opened the doors of hip hop for him. He passes through to the next round.
Following Killagramz, Sikboy is back. He was a part of Cycadelic Records with Killagramz but left the crew after being eliminated last season. Sadly, he doesn’t pass. Another comment from Gaeko I believe: “Isn’t he a bit too plain?”
Next is a rapper chosen by Swizz Beatz in New York, Absint. Thought he makes no mistakes, I don’t think his audition was dynamic enough. He doesn’t pass.
Rekstizzy is eliminated as well, followed by many other contestants from the U.S.
Will Maniac from Uptown Crew (with Snacky Chan, Swings) be able to impress the judges??
He does it, receiving an All Pass. He doesn’t miss a beat and wows everyone with a solid rap.
Next is 13-year-old rapper hopeful Jo Woochan. I could not resist capturing this adorable moment when Gaeko affectionately called him “Woochan-ie”:
Will Jo Woochan live up to all the hype that has been built around him?
First of all, as a true global representative of his generation, he raps to ‘Juju On That Beat’. Second of all, he raps skillfully with style! I think his audition was really impressive for someone his age who has been rapping for less than a year. He receives a Pass from everyone except the Fanxychild duo, who claim to have judged him without regard for his age.
OG Digili is next to face the producers. Ugh he’s a total mess, even before he starts rapping. Of course, some of this is Mnet’s ‘evil editing’ at play but you can tell the producers do not appreciate the way Digili is coming across as soon as he starts speaking. I’m not sure if he was really nervous so felt the need to overcompensate with unnecessary bravado or what but he just came off as a jerk. His audition was underwhelming from the start and everyone gives him a Fail except Tiger JK.
Highly anticipated contestant Nucksal is the next rapper to come through. Nucksal raps ‘작두 (Jakdu)’ (Deepflow feat. Nucksal and Huckleberry P). He kills it obviously but Zico expresses disappointment that he took the safe route and didn’t show them something different. Nucksal admits simply wanting to avoid the flames and the producers tell him they look forward to something new in the future.
Next up? High school rappers No:el and Young B. Young B receives 3 passes, with the MFBTY team withholding. In the moment, I had the thought that Tiger JK might have thrown the Fail up there just to see if Young B would be thrown off. After complimenting his ability to ride the rhythm and his diction, Tiger JK has some words of advice: “But even if you don’t want to, you need to live with certain responsibilities. I hope that you can learn that words can be scarier than bullets and become a cooler rapper.”
From the start, No:el doesn’t have much energy. Just as his rapping starts to build, he forgets his lyrics. He can’t recover and he is eliminated swiftly. It’s really hard to watch.
That wraps up Episode 2! Check back here for the recap of Episode 3 soon!