Coming to you live from COVID quarantine in 2022…
I decided now was as good a time as ever to catch up on the last few seasons of Show Me the Money.
Over the years I have developed a love-hate relationship with this show. If you are able to overlook Mnet’s annoying editing and stomach the cringey moments of culutural appropriation, Show Me the Money can be a lot of fun to watch. It’s undeniable that SMTM has boosted the careers of many a hip hop artist. Usually in American Idol fashion though, where the first place winners slowly fade from public attention while the runners up and others that made it to the final rounds garner new fans and promising contracts.
I know diving into the last few seasons wil be nothing if not entertaining and maybe my interest in the Korean hip hop scene will be reinvigorated along the way. Are there talented artists that have emerged the last few years that have flown under my radar? There are a few artists I still follow faithfully (some of whom appear on this season) but there is a nostalgic part of me that believes Korean hip hop peaked between the years of 2015-2017 when this blog was the most active. I’m hoping to prove myself wrong.
Content creation can be exhausting so I will return to this blog here and there when I have the time or I feel moved to draw attention to something in particular. This recap will be a little different than the ones I posted in the past but I hope you enjoy. As always, shout out to KHipHop subs for being committed to making SMTM accessible for all of us international fans of the show.
Presenting the producer teams for Season 7.
- Swings and Giriboy
- Deepflow and Nucksal
- Paloalto and Code Kunst
- The Quiett and Changmo
So why the Triple 7? Supposedly, it’s meant to represent the ‘Jackpot’ on slot machines as YDG points out. I think it’s fitting – over time as we see more and more artists who are already at least somewhat well known come on to the show, the winning check is as much motivation to participate as any potential exposure.
I agree with the past judges that the range of music style amongst this season’s producers will be interesting to see play out.
The biggest changes this time around?
- An increase in award money – now 200 million won + an SUV
- The show boasts a new betting system
- We are all spared the long and painful first preliminary round. Instead? 13,000 video submissions (a record number) were cut down to 1,000 contestants. The remaining contestants choose the producer team they prefer to be judged by. 140 rappers make it through the first judgment round and must perform for the classic Pass/Fail round except this time there’s a twist – an amount of money will be bet by producers on each person that passes.
Other things never change. I’m glad to see the fire pit and host Kim Jinpyo are still around.
- D.Ark rapping in 3 languages – I remember seeing this clip a few years ago while the show was airing. This kid’s brain is nuts.
- Homebody is one of my favorite songs by pH-1 and it was fun to see him do it for his Pass/Fail performance. I’d love to interview him again and ask what role he feels like appearing on the show has played in his career.
Standouts from this round:
- Even though they are big names already, I’m looking forward to seeing how Nafla, Loopy and pH-1 do this season.
- I recently saw Coogie at an AOMG in Chicago and I didn’t realize he had appeared on SMTM. Excited to see how far he makes it.
- Chillin’ Homie received an all pass and I undersatnd why. I like his energy.
- Choi Eunseo (yes the kid with the baby face) was so stable?! I love Nucksal’s soft spot for all the children.
- Lee Surin is giving me the same vibes as Woodie GoChild
- I hope Odee goes far, because he’s really good but also because we need some deep voice representation this season (I hope Flowsik is having a lovely day).
- Nafla never disappoints…I think he’s one of the best rappers to appear on the show and still one of the best rappers I’ve ever seen live.
- High hopes for the talent this season, lots of familiar faces from the industry and past seasons
- Interesting to have the High School Rapper dynamic; I feel like they’re the new ‘idol rappers’ based on the annoyed looks they were getting.
- I thought Giriboy was a little harsh…Osshun Gum wasn’t that bad but I’m not familiar with his usual sound. I think he would fit with Paloalto’s music style.
- I do not understand the Dbo obsession…he seems like Giriboy’s brand of weird though.
- It is a little bit hilarious that it takes appearing on a TV program at the same time for some of these men to face and deal with their beef…but good for them. I’m sure Mnet is playing these past conflicts up a bit but you can’t deny it makes for good television.
The rapper performances continue. I’m very curious about how the fight money is going to come into play.
Most of the folks who appeared on the show before did not impress even if they managed to slide by with one pass. I agree with Paloalto and some of the other judges that Superbee could take it this season if he applies himself. I’ve always thought all he needs is better production. His performances are always on point and now that he’s a bit more mature he’s definitely less annoying than he used to be and he comes off as less cocky and more confident.
After the individual performance round is over, it’s time for the ‘Fight Money’ battle. Rather than the usual 1 v 1 battles, now up to 3 people can contend against one another at the same time. One rapper at a time is randomly selected then someone comes forward to challenge them. Once the 1 v 1 is set up, anyone can choose to go against both of them as long as they agree. The victor will walk away with the total amount of fight money on the board. Although it’s a battle, the 3 of them have to work together to decide on a beat and create a cohesive performance (complete with a hook and everything).
Here are some of the battles that took place:
D.Ark vs Choi Eunseo vs Owen Ovadoz
New Champ vs Chillin Homie vs Osshun Gum
Reddy vs Kim Hyo Eun vs Pento
Coogie vs Zene the Zilla vs Lil Tachi
pH-1 vs Kid Milli vs Kidd King
Nafla vs Bully the Ba$tard vs EK
Swervy vs Park Dan vs Lee Dongmin
- Kid Milli’s recovery during his performance…he has a really interesting flow and I wish Mnet didn’t censor so much for the sake of rhythm but I guess that’s what the unedited Youtube clips are for. I think he cracked a bit under the pressure of being hyped up as a potential component for the win with Nafla.
- Chillin Homie was really ready to beat New Champ’s ass and then Osshun Gum had to insert himself in there…only for New Champ to be the one to make it out alive…
- Not Owen suggesting rock paper scissors with the children…
Standouts from this round:
- EK received an all pass and I agree with the judges. He has skill and I think his relaxed manner made him stand out.
- D.Ark…역시…as expected he did well with the trap beat but I hope he is open to trying new things and taking risks
- Lee Dongmin was surprisingly good and he definitely deserved to win that battle.
- Despite his nervousness (and stomach issues), Coogie managed to do really well!
- Kid Milli. Enough said.
- It seems like nobody wants to be fun these days…get your f***ing ass up and be fun…okay seriously I hope OLNL brings some levity to the show this season.
- Keem Hyo-eun is someone I’ve always wanted to see more of but I’m not sure if he has the personality to make it if that makes sense…
- I was really concerned that the judges were going to pick Dbo for some unknown reason but I’m glad YunB emerged victorious. On a show like this sometimes being unique or having an interesting character is enough to carry you for a little while but in the end skill is what should matter the most.
- It’s always hard to tell whether more than one or two women made it through the preliminary rounds because they barely get screen time but at least we got a glimpse of Swervy.
The battles continue…
Poor Superbee kept getting rejected but eventually ended up on stage with DayDay and Chaboom. Chaboom did well but I think picking him to tie with Superbee was a bit generous. Superbee raps like he created the beat himself.
After the fight money battle ends, 20 rappers remain. There is one more hurdle before Team Selection takes place.
But first, it is decided that there will be resurrection matches to give a second chance to some of the folks the judges regretted eliminating. pH-1, Zene the Zilla, Chaboom and EK get to make a comeback.
So with 24 contestants we move into the next rap battle challenge.
Nafla and Superbee’s names are called first as they are in first and second place respectively with the amount of fight money they’ve earned. They will be the captains of two teams that will face each other in a group rap battle consisting of 3 rounds, best 2 out of 3. The winning team will get 50,000,000 won to be split up between the members. The losing team will have to eliminate teaam members by public vote.
Superbee chooses: Kid Milli, D.Ark, Los, Qwala, Keem Hyo Eun, pH-1, OLNL, Chaboom, Choi LB, Lee Dongmin, Black Nine
Nafla chooses: Loopy, Coogie, Odee, Slick O’domar, Luda, EK, New Champ, Lee Surin, YunB, Zene the Zilla, Seo Ilgyo, Boo Hyunseok
All of the rounds were really fun to watch. I won’t be linking them here so go check them out on Youtube.
The judges decide that Team Nafla takes the win for Round 1.
Round 2 went to Team Superbee, leaving us with a cliff hanger until the next episode.
- I really enjoyed Loopy and No:el’s stage with Poy Muzeum – It was definitely one of the strongest performances.
- Finally we get to see the battle between Nafla, EK and Bully the Ba$tard. It was outstanding honestly. I was expecting Nafla to be the clear stand out but I wasn’t expecting EK and Bully to bring it like that.
- Lee Surin was the last person I expected to bring the aggressive energy we know and love from past rap battles back. It was fun to see Los respond in kind.
Standouts from the 1 v 1 battles:
Standouts from the group battle:
- Choi LB
- Black Nine
- This show has come a long way since that mess of a group battle with Snoop Dogg present years ago. I liked the structure of the group battle because even though it’s a competition show it’s fun to see what the contestants create as a result of teamwork.
Round 3 of the group battles kicks off with Team Nafla starting. I was worried Round 3 wouldn’t be as fun to watch as the first two but I was wrong. Everyone seemed a bit more relaxed this time around.
Round 3 went so well that the producers have a really hard time determining which team should come out on top. In the end, Team Nafla takes the win. Loofla’s co-leadership and careful preparation truly carried their team through.
Team Superbee is disappointed but they learn that they won’t have to eliminate anyone after all.
Now it’s time for the producer team performances (linked below). These are always entertaining and full of fun guest performances. After the producer showcase, the contestants get to choose what Team they’d like to join. In the early days of the show, these showcases might have held more sway over the contestants decisions. I have a hard time believing that most of them don’t already have their minds made up but some folks have known to have a last minute change of heart.
Each contestant casts their votes for which producer team performances they thought was the best.
4th place – Swings and Giriboy
Third place – Code Kunst and Paloalto
2nd place – Deepflow and Nucksal
1st place – The Quiett and Changmo
The contestants get to choose which team they want to join based on the amount of fight money they’ve earned in the preceding rounds. However, the producers have the final say of whether they will accept that person or not. If a team ends up with more than 4 people, the most recent team member selected chooses who’s spot on the team they will take. The replaced person is eliminated along with anyone else who was not chosen.
Here are the final teams with the final 16 contestants moving forward:
Team Illionaire Ambition – Superbee, Coogie, Lee Dong-min, D.Ark
Team VMC – EK, Los, Keem Hyo-eun, Chaboom
Team Hi-Lite AOMG – Loopy, Qwala, Kid Milli, pH-1
Team Just Music – Odee, Nafla, YunB, OLNL
- I really enjoyed everyone circling Slick O’damar while he rapped. I noticed a couple people using sections of existing verses but I don’t blame them. I guess it is impressive in its own way that they can take an existing verse from a completely different song and make it fit a different beat.
Standouts from this round:
- It’s always a good thing when hearing from an artist on the show makes you want to seek out more of their music. I will be doing exactly that with Odee.
- Team Hi-Lite AOMG is STACKED. It’s going to hurt when they have to start eliminating folks.
- I’m probably most looking forward to seeing OLNL, Odee and Qwala perform.
Each team is off to Hong Kong for their first Song Mission. Of course on this trip each team has plenty of time to bond of shared meals and activities. I’m glad the show still includes this content so we get to see more of everyone’s personality.
The original plan was for the teams to complete their song missions on a Hong Kong rooftop but the weather has other plans. Team VMC tries to continue practicing despite the wind and rain but it’s a lost cause. The teams return to Korea to do the song missions there.
The song missions are always exciting not only because of the contestant performances but because of the original songs we get from each producer team. Many of these songs end up becoming really popular.
Team Illionaire Ambition starts first with ‘사임사임 (SaimSaim)’.
Lee Dongmin is eliminated.
Team Just Music is next with ‘Science-fiction technology’.
YunB is eliminated.
Next up is Team VMC with ‘Pae’
Los is eliminated.
Last but not least is Team Hi-lite AOMG with ‘Good Day’
Qwala is eliminated.
- I’ll say it again, it’s nice to see how much Superbee has grown. He’s consistently good but it’s so obvious he’s leveled up since his appearances on past seasons.
- I can see why Team VMC was so disappointed about not being able to do their performance in Hong Kong I appreciated their outfit coordination and performance quality. It reminded me of ‘$insa’ from back in in season 5.
Standouts from this episode:
- D.Ark is crazy good for his age. I think knowing he has to compete with folks almost twice his age (or older) is a definite factor fueling his passionate performances.
- I’m glad Odee was chosen to start Team Just Music’s performance. I’m not sure how far he’ll make it but he’s a strong competitor.
- Qwala really held his own on the Good Day stage.
- One of the best components of this show is the live performance challenges. We all know of artists that are better in the studio than they are live…it really isn’t everyone’s strong point. So for the artists that are already familiar to the audience, it’s interesting to see them stretched (and often humbled) by these opportunities to showcase themselves in a new way.
Ahh it’s time for the classic team diss battle.
Team Illionaire Ambition is in 1st place so they get to choose which team they’d like to challenge. They choose to face Team Hi-lite AOMG. This means that Team Just Music will challenge Team VMC. Then the rappers from each team choose who they’d like to match up with:
(Team Just Music wins)
(Team Illionaire Ambition wins)
The next phase of the competition will be the individual performance stages.
Producers have bet money on the members of their team – this determines who will get to pick their opponets for the individual stage.
While 3 teams bet the most money on one person (Nafla for Team JM, EK for Team VMC and Loopy for Team Hi-Lite AOMG), Team Illionaire Ambition chose to distribute their funds evenly between their remaining members (Coogie, Superbee and D.Ark).
Here are the match ups for the 12 remaining rapper’s solo stages:
Start of Round 1:
pH-1 and D.Ark
At the end of this round, only 6 rappers will remain.
D.Ark ‘트랩중딩 (trap middleschooler)’
pH-1 ‘Hate you’
So who did the audience vibe with more?
We find out Nafla selected Keem Hyo Eun as his opponent, hoping for a boom-bap showdown if you will. We’ll find out the rest of the matchups in the next episode.
- OLNL showed up to a diss battle in overalls LOL…cute. Despite his appearance, he put a creative spin on EK’s diss. Even my feelings were a little hurt.
- Kim Youngok coming to coach (read: roast) Team VMC was great.
- I loved that they called Jo Woochan up to plot against D.Ark haha
- UGH pH-1 is so good. He makes music you can groove to with lyrics people can connect with. And he brought out Woo Won Jae?? He’s taking it.
Standouts from this round:
- Respect to Chaboom for having the audacity to step to Nafla like that. It’s too bad he messed up his lyrics but he had everyone shook anyway.
- I think Odee’s diss for Keem Hyo Eun was the most memorable.
- I really didn’t think anything could top Jo Woochan vs Woo Wonjae but pH-1 had no reservations about coming for a child and D.Ark was out for blood. These moments are why I love this show.
- I think it was really smart choice for Superbee to sing instead of rap. I think it made his diss more mocking than it would have been if he had just rapped.
- I had no idea Superbee and Loopy had past issues but its always interesting to learn about that kind of stuff through the show.
- Seems like most of the contestants fall into two categories: boom-bap style or trap. I’d like to see more range in the future.
- pH-1 looked STRESSED about going against D.Ark but I don’t think he had anything to worry about. D.Ark has a lot of growing to do. Don’t get me wrong, his stage was great. But it would have been nice if he had tried something a little different/unexpected.
At the top of this episode, we find out that Coogie selects OLNL as his competitor for the final mainstage of Round 1.
OLNL ‘Breaking Bad’
Coogie ‘빌어먹을 인연 /That damn relationship (Watch Me Ballin’)‘
OLNL reveals that he won the first round of betting, but what will the results of the second round be? We’ll find out later.
Keem Hyo Eun ‘XXL’
Nafla ‘물어 (Bite)’
We’ll get the results of the Nafla vs. Keem Hyo Eun challenge later as well.
Now we move on to Round 2:
It’s revealed that Loopy chose Chaboom as his opponent for this round.
Chaboom ‘죽어도 종아 (I’m okay even if I die)’
Finally we find out who has won the preceding matches.
- OLNL wins leaving Superbee as the last man standing on Team Illinonaire Ambition.
- Loopy wins by a landslide against Chaboom.
- Despite Keem Hyo Eun leading after the first betting round, Nafla earns 52 more votes in the second round.
- Before watching this show, I was only familiar with OLNL because of his features on Giriboy’s songs. It was nice to finally watch them work together to create OLNL’s stage.
- I love it when contestants families show up to support them. Coogie’s parents and OLNL’s family were in the audience to cheer them on.
Standouts from this round:
- Coogie, as some of the other contestants pointed out, has a level of stability and clear diction that really make him stand out. I think his performance was one of the best.
- I’m proud of Keem Hyo Eun for really putting his all into that performance. Dok2 featuring really strengthened it overall but this was probably the best Hyoeun stage we’ve seen so far.
- Nafla had one of the best performances in SMTM history. Period.
- It was a really smart move to have Nafla perform alone with no features. I think it’s a better way to show his strength as an artist, especially given Keem Hyo Eun had Deepflow and Dok2 to support him.
- I could write an entire essay about Loopy and Paloalto’s comments (about these stages being like a 흑인 음악 or ‘black music’ festival and feeling like a “BET Award performance) but I’ll save that for another day. Fun fact: Changmo actually got nominated for a BET award once lol
- Code Kunst really did the damn thing with these beats.
Finally we have two matches left:
Superbee vs Odee
EK vs Kid Milli
Changmo says he “worked hard to broaden Superbee’s spectrum”.
I’m glad Superbee recognizes the need to keep showing new sides of himself. I hope continues with that attitude as he releases music in the future.
Odee ‘Airplane Mode’
Kid Milli ‘Change’
EK ‘God God God’
I feel pretty good about Superbee winning this round but Kid Milli vs EK could be a toss up…
Kid Milli and Superbee win the first rounds of betting for their respective matches.
But who received the most votes in the end??
Superbee will be moving forward in the competition.
Kid Milli wins over EK with 97 votes.
With that, Team VMC has no contestants left.
1st place – Team Hi-lite AOMG
2nd place – Team Just Music
3rd place – Team Illionaire Ambition
Nafla has the highest betting amount so he chooses pH-1 to face for the semi-finals.
Kid Milli selects OLNL next, leaving Superbee and Loopy as the final pairing.
I have to admit I did not expect to be this invested in the semi-finals but I’m anticipating Superbee v. Loopy the most.
Gray appears as a special producer for a group track for the 6 remaining contestants.
- Superbee and Changmo’s stage…this performance was the best of what this show can be.
- I was really happy to see EK chose his MBA crew members to join him for his stage.
I think his performance will be remembered for a long time.
Standouts from this round:
- Kid Milli’s song feat. GRAY is probably the only one from Round 1 of the stages that I would actually listen to regularly. Code Kunst does it again. The melody of the chorus was really nice and Gray’s singing is nice alongside Kid Milli’s rapping.
- I’m disappointed that Swings overshadowed Odee during his performance. I think he did too much. I would have liked to see more of the Odee we got a glimpse of during the group battles.
- I don’t think anyone can deny that Kid Milli’s win over EK came down to popularity. But that’s just how things go with shows like this. If EK’s goal was to bring recognition to his crew I think he was successful.
- Someone should create an SMTM drinking game…where you take a shot every time Swings makes a misogynistic comment or someone talks about how good looking Gray is.
It is time for the semi-final matches to begin.
Kid Milli’s mentality is still shaken up after the close match with EK last episode. He says he’s worried he won because people liked him rather than liking his skills. It was nice to see him meeting up with his supportive momma. Kid Milli’s popular for a reason so hopefully he can relax and do his thing without overthinking it.
Kid Milli ‘MOMM (Money on My Mind)’
After the first round of betting, Kid Milli was ahead by over 300 votes. Right after, the 2nd round betting results are revealed:
I expected this outcome but I wish the numbers had been closer for OLNL’s sake. But as he said, making it to the top 6 is a big deal and now more people know his name.
It’s exciting to hear that Superbee wants leave everything on the stage with no regrets this time as he said this is his last time participating on the show. Let’s see what BewhY cooked up for him.
Loopy seemed pretty nervous as he prepared and rehearsed. Will he be able to top his last performance? I think he’ll need something a bit stronger than his ‘Save’ performance to beat Superbee.
Loopy ‘Winning + NoNo’
This collab was not what I ws expecting but it worked. This was the perfect match for the Superbee x BewhY stage.
Superbee wins betting round 1 – but only by 89 votes. Will Loopy be able to pull ahead??
First, the last semi-final performances.
pH-1 ‘주황색 (Orange)’
I think Nafla’s advantage in this round might be going in a completely different direction from his ‘Bite’ performance. I actually think pH-1’s ‘Hate You’ performance was better than ‘Orange’ but we’ll see what the audience thought.
pH-1 lost the first betting round, despite performing first. What is the result of the second betting round?
Nafla moves on to the finals with an almost 300 points lead.
Now we find out who the last contestant advancing to the finals will be – Loopy or Superbee?
Wow…Loopy gets by with just 5 votes.
This is the end of the rode for Team Illionaire Ambition.
- I really enjoyed OLNL’s stage. This is the sound I’m more familiar with from him. I liked this way more than Breaking Bad.
- This was the Loopy the people know and love. And he brought Bae (aka Simon D) out??
- Superbee’s stage with BewhY was pretty iconic. Even if Superbee doesn’t move into the finals, this was the perfect way to end his time on the show.
- The semi-final and final episodes always have the most exciting performances and this season has been no different. I think that Giriboy and Code Kunst as producers really made this season special.
We made it folks.
I’d love to read your thoughts and opinions about Season 7 so please share in the comments.
Like most survival shows, the finale was broadcasted live and is long as hell. I’ll just be focusing on the final performances.
The final 3 rappers have a fan meeting performance. The audience will vote for who they liked the most and whoever receives the most votes will get to determine the order for the final showcases.
Nafla receives the most votes, followed by Kid Milli with Loopy in last place.
So what order did Nafla decide on?
First on stage will be Kid Milli. Loopy will go second. And Nafla saves himself for last.
Each rapper will do both solo and producer collaboration performances while the in-person audience and at-home audience sends in votes.
Kid Milli performs ‘Boss Thang (prod. Code Kunst)‘ with his Indigo Music labelmate Yang Hong-won (formerly known as Young B).
Loopy performs ‘Robot Love (prod. Code Kunst)‘
Nafla performs ‘버클 (Buckle)’ (prod. Giriboi) along with Zico
With only 50% of the votes counted, here are the results from the first round of voting:
On to the final performances.
Kid Milli ‘Goals (feat. Paloalto, Hoody) (prod. Code Kunst)’
Loopy ‘V (feat. Loco) (prod. Code Kunst)’
Nafla ‘픽업맨’ (feat. Swings, Giriboi)’
After the live audience and text-in votes are counted from Round 1 and Round 2, who goes home with all of the prize money and be crowned Season 7 champion?
Nafla becomes season 7 winner!
- I enjoyed Nafla’s first performances the most out of the 3. I think when it comes to performance quality, Loopy and Kid Milli were no match.
- Kim Jinpyo comments on the fact that Code Kunst has created 11 songs in total for this season (Code Kunst says something about how his arm hurts haha). He really put in work this season and I think he’s officially one of my favorite producers now.
- Even thought at some point in the competition it started to feel like Nafla’s win was guaranteed, in a way Team Just Music was the underdog from the beginning. I’m sure Swings and Giriboy were proud to be able to carry Nafla all the way to the end.
- All in all, I’m glad I spent time watching this season. I’m not sure if I’ll watch 8-10 in their entirety but I do hope the show has continued on the same trajectory.
Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments below and follow the Seoulrebels account on Instagram.