Korean reggae artist (yes, it does sound crazy), Skull, has been creating a crazy buzz for himself with his debut single, “Boom Di Boom Di.” Even Mariah Carey says, “The song is really hot!” Maybe that’s why Ballerstatus felt the need to highlight the young artist, or maybe it’s because he is something out of the norm. Either way, we made it happen.
Skull has been described by DJ Bobcat as “Incredible, he defines what hip-hop Culture is all about!” And has garner rave reviews across the board, which in turn, brought the attention of Mariah Carey’s brother Morgan Carey, who has been pushing Skull ever since.
So who is Skull? BallerStatus spoke to Skull and YG label exec, Morgan Carey to find out more about the new sensation whose Asian heritage hasn’t hindered his broad influence in music.
BallerStatus.com: What did you grow up listening to?
Skull: I grew up listening to all types of music, but reggae always spoke to me in a special way. In high school, I really started getting heavily into it. It’s really hard to find reggae in my country, and that always really bothered me, but it also made me value my music collection that much more.
BallerStatus.com: How did you get into reggae?
Skull: Bob Marley’s music really brought me into reggae, He was much more than a hero to me, and he changed my life. His music, philosophy, thoughts and life were all so meaningful to me. Bob Marley inspired me to explore the roots of reggae culture and philosophy.
BallerStatus.com: Where did you get the name Skull?
Skull: When I was in high school, I belonged to a reggae band called Skull. The band broke up, but for me the name represented my birth into reggae culture. It was kind of my spiritual and creative awakening. I adopted the name, so I would never forget my beginnings and where I came from.
BallerStatus.com: How are you enjoying the States so far?
Skull: God has really blessed me since I arrived here with great people in my life who support me and help guide me in my career. Morgan Carey, K-Sly and Nasty Nes have really been there for me. In the beginning, it was very hard. I felt all alone, missed my friends and family. The culture was so new and unfamiliar, but now I’ve really come to enjoy it here and it’s so great to be able to do my beloved music with good people.
BallerStatus.com: When were you introduced to Skull, Morgan?
Morgan Carey: When I got back to the States [from Korea], there was a huge box of CDs and other products waiting for me. At first I was kind of like, “Yeah right,” but then, I sat down for the better part of a whole weekend and listened to everything. The Asian market is very different, and while YG Entertainment (label in Korea) has some very successful, talented artists, there wasn’t much that was really tailored for this market. Skull was part of this reggae group, and he really stood out. “Star” was written all over his voice and his image was on fire. I got curious.
BallerStatus.com: So, how did you become involved with him?
Morgan Carey: YG and I had a series of conversations, he knew that I was very taken with Skull and YG was very clear about his dream of making it happen in the States. At that time, I was in no way interested in working in music; I was developing several film and television properties and still was soured on my experiences.
YG invited me to Tokyo for one of the shows on their world tour. Skull’s group was the warm up band and they killed it for like 10,000 fans, who couldn’t understand a word of Korean, didn’t know these guys, but within minutes, the girls were throwing their panties. Skull’s vibe before and after the show was surreal, in a very approachable way though. He’s very spiritual, and has a sincerity and air of peace about him, which really strikes you.
BallerStatus.com: What things about Skull stand out to you, Morgan?
Morgan Carey: The first time I saw him in Japan was when he was sitting in the lobby of the hotel meditating. You know, generally, if I saw someone meditating in public I’d be like, “Give me a break,” but he was just doing his thing. There was also a time we were at a music convention and they double booked the hall with some rock artists, so their audience was still inside with the hip-hop audience waiting outside, so everyone was ready to fight and wanted to see somebody they knew. Skull got up on stage and some these kids were like, “Where you from, chink? But by the second chorus, hands were in the air and heads were bopping.
Afterwards he sung “No Woman No Cry” acappella; you could have heard a pin drop. Afterwards he said to the audience, “I’m so happy to be here, and I really want to be your friend.” I couldn’t believe it; this hard-core hip-hop audience ate it up! There’s so much haterism in the music business, but he can win over any crowd and that’s because he’s that authentic.
BallerStatus.com: What do you like most about performing to a crowd, Skull?
Skull: I love people, I feed off their energy and reactions good or bad. Whether there’s one person or a thousand, I’m just so happy to have the opportunity to share my music.
BallerStatus.com: Where did Skull get the idea for “Boom Di Boom Di?”
Morgan Carey: It was originally written and released in Korean by Skull and then Mystic re-wrote the lyrics in English. Skull’s been in the States for about only months now and he’s picking up the language real well.
BallerStatus.com: You have an animated ringtone for your single, “Boom Di Boom Di,” so do you think animated ringtones are the next craze?
Skull: The Internet and downloadable digital content are so popular now especially with the younger generation, so yes. I think its part of the technological explosion and it’s entertaining. I hope that my ringtones and animated music video will open the gates for more exciting and creative venues and help introduce reggae music to a new generation of fans.
BallerStatus.com: What will be different about the way Skull is marketed from other Asian artists?
Morgan Carey: When an Asian artist is promoted in the States, they are normally presented to the Asian demographic. From day one, I wanted Skull to be seen as a global phenomenon and not just a Korean or Asian artist. There’s a big Asian artist who wanted to collaborate with Skull, but I told them no because I don’t want the public’s perception to be that he’s just another Asian artist. He’s an incredible talent, has integrity and a raw sex appeal that resonates across the board.
There has never been an Asian artist in history to cross the cultural divide and speak to all people. I believe that Skull will be that artist. I truly count myself blessed to be working with an artist and for that matter, a team with this level of talent, work ethic, commitment, and dedication. I truly am happy to get out of bed every morning to go to work.
BallerStatus.com: Are you surprised by all of the positive reactions you’ve had so far?
Skull: First of all, I really appreciate everybody, even someone who may not like me. Before I came here, I was a little nervous because my English kind of sucks. I’m a foreigner and I’m not black, but at the same time, I was confident because I believe in the power of music and I have faith that God brought me here for a reason. From one day to the next, I’m really happy and appreciate everything because I didn’t expect the things that are happening!
Nowadays, my only hope is that I can keep doing my music forever with happiness. Thanks again and I promise you I will always keep my mind pure and make music from my heart! Jah bless.
For more information on Skull, visit his official Myspace page at MySpace.com/SkullRiddim