我有我態度/HUMMIN, COMIN AT ‘CHA. MISS KO

MISSKO_SG8

攝影/Photos : Mikey Piliero for www.halide.cc
作家/Writer : SPITZ
國語/CN : Serruria
Thanks : Ben Hong, Patrick Hu, KT Liu, Levis

Miss Ko是誰?感謝Spitgan團隊的引線,現在我便可以回答這個問題。我向來比較後知後覺,團隊建議這個女生的名字後幾個月我才醒覺。當最新一期Spitgan題目開始成型時,噢M iss K o這名字又浮現腦海,究竟何方神聖?同事們反起白眼毫無吝嗇對我的不屑──所以這裡你們千萬要細閱。這個女生是出身美國皇后區的台灣MC,風頭越捲越盛,我們也不得不趕上風潮為大家追訪一下這位女子!

Who is Miss Ko? Thanks to my team members here at SPITGAN, we will answer that question for you. Being the ignorant type of person that I am, the calls to look at this girl were ignored for months. Finally as our issue started to take shape it was like, ‘Eureka!’ This girl Miss Ko, what up with her? Colleagues gave me stone cold looks and eye rolls. So check it out. The girl is a female MC based in Taiwan, with origins in Queens. Her buzz is growing, so we picked over her brains and chopped it up with her to get the low down.

English Continued after Chinese >>

SPITGAN:你有關Hip Hop的最早記憶是甚麼?
Miss Ko:最早?第一個想到的大概是我五六歲的時候吧,當時我有保姆照顧。她啊,真是個神通。她會開大收音機,當時她還有照顧其他小孩,她會開大Kris Kross的“Jump”,然後我們就來了──爬沙發、大叫,我在跳,其他小孩也跳,就像玩沙發搖搖板一樣。這是非常清晰的記憶,小孩享受著Hip Hop的記憶。自那時起,我就覺得我喜歡那挺東西,我甚至嘗試把我的褲子前後調換來穿呢!

SG:有試過在表演時把褲子前後倒穿嗎?
沒有啦!我製作人蛋堡就會,有些牛仔褲他會這樣子穿。

SG:現在也是?
是啊。我猜他發現前後看來也差不多,調換前後也沒差別。他還會穿的很低腰,就是那種褲頭在在屁股下面的褲子,這通常是個問題…

SG:為甚麼?
這樣,如果你可以把褲浪擱在屁股下這就沒有問題,但是我不可能這做嘛。

SG:第一個吸引你到Hip Hop文化的是MC這東西嗎?
不是。我從跳舞開始。從小我就喜歡跳舞,不是在別人面前,只是自己跳。音樂是種逃避方式吧?長大時父母經常吵架,很多家暴,除此以外也只是忙這忙那。透過音樂我就找到空間暫時逃離;透過舞蹈我發掘了其他東西就如MC。我高中時開始寫詞,來台灣以前詞都是英語。我從來沒有想過我可以寫中文詞,也沒有想過作品會有甚麼作為,只是自己非常喜歡寫。

SG:你成長的皇后區裡,Hip Hop的文化如何?
噢很有趣的!文化很好。在九十年代早段,在我的大廈外面就有人在跳breakdance,地鐵啊街角啊也有。以前地鐵卡是有塗鴉的,還沒有被清除。但是朱利安尼來當市長時我就開始看見沒有塗鴉的地鐵車卡,真嚇我一跳,但原來所有車廂都是這樣子了。我太習慣看到五顏六色的車卡,現在所有都變了深紅色。有點困惑,真奇怪。

SG:是挺普遍的,紐約就像是Hip Hop界的麥加。
是,你去尋找的話,就算你不去找,Hip Hop也是明顯地存在。以前old-school鬆身的,現在就越緊越好。

SG:你回台灣以前有在紐約表演過嗎?
有啊!我回台灣只是學中文。我沒有太想過能夠在這裡做音樂。在回台前,我有表演過,例如曼克頓巡遊。我朋友有份搞的所以連我也搞進去了。超級好玩!我在Bryant Park有表演,在HOT97。Miss Jones辦了一個叫“Night of the Rising Stars”的比賽,然後我被選上了。我是名單上唯一一個的亞洲女孩和唯一一個亞洲人。記憶裏場地有幾千人!排隊時拐了又拐。這只是試音而已,當時一定有五六百人。

SG:你當時有留意任何亞裔女MC嗎?
沒有。這也是有點難的部分,因為我沒有任何前輩可以參考,但我也不是太覺得自己的身份只是“亞裔”。我成長也挺多元,我的朋友可以是西班牙裔,可以是黑人、白人,什麼國籍都有,所以我就覺得,我不一定要一個亞裔來借鏡吧。我的榜樣就是Lauryn Hill,我覺得她第一隻的大碟是世上最好的。

SG:那時有製作班底嗎?一個小團體?
我們會玩玩,然後午飯時freestyle。朋友會用桌子打拍子。我會走去Fort Green Park玩,學校在Brooklyn。

SG:等一等,你住皇后區但是在Brooklyn上學?
我上特別的高校,全部都是亞洲人,你知道啦,父母都想子女入好點的高校。

SG:對。
所以最後我就在Brooklyn上好的高校,我會去學校旁的Fort Green Park。我會翹所有課去公園,可能是浪費時間但是當時我就覺得好值得、我喜歡。

SG:當時有遇到些現在已有點成就的人嗎?
沒有,坦白說我沒有見過以前的人了。以前大家都好小,只是想下一餐有什麼吃啊什麼時候回家、何時可以玩電腦、什麼時候下課去玩。現實生活還沒有開始,問我“什麼時候上大學啊?”我真的不知道欸!

SG:哈哈,Miss Ko前身有沒有其他MC名字?
沒有。但我的螢幕名字是Infamiss Ko。

SG:螢幕名字?
是啊,像AOL網名,用戶名稱。

SG:自己想還是別人給你的?
有天突然想的。我突然有創作點子,腦子突然出現的念頭。

SG:什麼讓你決定回台灣?
我想學中文,但主要其實是我想旅行,我沒有見過我新加波或台灣的家族,記憶中沒有去過地球這一面。小時候在台灣和祖母住過一兩年,當時只有一歲,不記得了。

SG:不要擔心,很多人也是這樣。
在穩定下來前想了解一下自己的根。我才剛大學畢業,在想下一步。我發現自己在進入社會前想要一點自己時間。人人都說那些朝九晚五的工作才是生活必需,但是,我完全不想要。

SG:當時有音樂的門路了嗎?
沒有,我什麼人都不認識! 講真的我只認識我阿姨,她告訴我哪裏可以學中文,我自己努力找出這個首都(sic)裏的國語中心,在台北。報了我就可以停留就一點,最後拿護照就可以永久居留了。

SG:所以你只是亂打亂撞下找到Hip Hop的同道中人?
是啊!非常任意。這裡有個兒時朋友在ICRT做DJ,我到步兩個月後我們在台灣再見,她把朋友介紹給我,全部都是來了台灣挺久的美國人。我的朋友知道我rap,然後看見一個爲商場寫jingle的比賽便告訴我了。當時我中文很有限,我可能只有加一點點中文進去,我把歌寫了。當時我還有學鋼琴,老師寫了音樂給我然後我拍了個低質的短片。我老師把片段上載了,然後我的經紀人發現我了。當時我以為是個笑話,他說他覺得我rap很好,我只是覺得“說屁話啊你是誰啊這樣“。

SG:這是什麼時候?
大概2010年八月,同年二月我就來到台灣了,這事情是至少到步半年後。

SG:發展很快呢。
過程是挺漫長的,但是現在回望就…一上軌道所有都變得順暢。

SG:MC和Rapper有什麼分別?
很政治欸。

SG:欸?爲甚麼?
我要引用KRS-ONE…

MISSKO_SG4

SG:不,我只是問問你的感覺,不是一定要你引用甚麼。
比較深度地看,“rapper是隨意講而MC的責任在於鼓動人群”哈哈。在書本定義以外當然有個人的定義啦。對於我,我不太把兩者分得很清楚。我不會說自己是rapper,但有人會這樣叫我。我叫自己M C是因為我的音樂是用來鼓舞的,但這未必是人人心裡MC的模樣。

SG:當你說自己是rapper或MC,在紐約和台灣得到的反應有甚麼不一樣?
我不太講,我喜歡低調。

SG:你告訴家人時他們如何反應?他們明白嗎?
不!我媽超討厭這個,她完全反對我聽的音樂。爸爸反對我做音樂,媽媽反對的是Hip Hop部分,她覺得很低級。Hip Hop可以低俗,但是,當我自己做自己的事而不是做那一種惹人偏見的Hip Hop,我媽都可以接受。這種改變前後我的感受非常不同。

SG:你的音樂很有90年代的feel good風,是你自己的意願還是公司?
不是。專輯很純粹、自然。我的中文能力在唱片製作過程裡一步一步累積。專輯裏有歌是我簽公司後做的,也有歌是一向也有的。我都不斷寫,這是我中文詞進步的原因。現在我的中文詞真的很好很有創意了,如果是台灣人真的永遠不會這樣子說話吧!

SG:很好,Hip Hop就是歡迎創意的!
我想做一些不一樣又不膩的東西。如果我說唱些鎗啊毒品啊,這些題材有些膩了…大概是你要想如何達到你想要的效果。我呢就想有個正面的形象,我自己的生活也是如此。不是所有都是快樂時刻但是,我不會寫我沮喪做傻事的歌詞。如果歌曲需要我是會寫的不過,這不是我自然會寫的題材。

SG:用國語和英文說唱是不是很不一樣?有哪一個比較容易嗎?
我一向用英文是因為英文比較自然而已。我覺得用中文說唱挺有趣,因為運用好像英文。態度是一樣,不論是概念或聲音上…不過如果雙語也用到就比較有動感。有時候如果只是用中文,那種一字一音的特性會在節奏裏表現,但說到多音節的英文,就算你含糊過去也會抓到節奏。有時候我把中文也含糊過去,但有趣地別人也會明白我說什麼。這是有趣的變化,挺簡單的過程。

SG:你覺得用中文押韻會比較容易嗎?國語一個字音可以有很多意思,廣東話更甚?
聽起來你可能會混亂,但我的歌詞很簡單。我不知道如何寫複雜的,中文還沒有到那個水平,我只是用我懂的字。有時候太複雜的歌詞你都聽不懂,要看著字才懂。最受歡迎的歌,即便在美國,也是很能聽清楚意思的,一聽就明白。

SG:你覺得一個台灣發展的說唱人要用中文才行嗎?
市場是這樣。我也可以用英文rap,但是我會被看成太過會很外來。英文不是他們的母語嘛。但這裡也應該有這類市場,就像H ip H op在台灣文化市場屬非主流的情況。流行曲橫行的市場內,用英語押韻寫詞就是更小的市場了。如果你想吸引電台聽眾,某程度上你要用他們的語言,年輕人聽懂一點,但是這類的訪問可能有點太過了。我的理解是,不同語言利用會影響消化資訊的過程。例如說電視電影,即使是說觀眾的語言,節目都會有字幕,可能他們對於歌詞的理解也很看重,所以你能一邊看著聽。美國的MV就絕對不會這樣。

SG:哈哈哈,可能是他們根本不可能顯示那些低俗用語吧!對我來說,如果甚麼都顯示出來念的話就沒有了那種feel了。
很多人都這樣做呢!這就是為甚麼Youtube點擊率那麼高!人人都翻看又翻看。第一次可能太忙看字幕了所以又看多幾次。我就不是這種那麼強求的人。

SG:講起你的歌,很多都是中英並用的,是你的獨特風格嗎?
我覺得這是我學習中文押韻的方法。那首“Hey DJ”我開始時是全首英文,到最後版本時卻七成是中文。現在我反而比較難寫英文,因為我都用中文思考了。第一隻專輯用中或是英完全沒有壓力,我不在乎。第二張專輯當然有更多期望。

SG:這種壓力如何影響你現在寫詞?
我非常留意自己詞裏面用英文的比例,現在我不想乘勢把創作轉英語,我反而挑戰自己找中文押韻。

SG:你有只唱不rap的作品嗎?
沒有,沒有純唱吧。我不是歌手,我可以唱旋律但我不是Beyonce,我也沒有想要變成她。

SG:但是你的官方網頁這樣說的。
真的?我是有唱啦。

SG:網頁上先說你是歌手然後才是說唱手。哈哈。
我的天!這個…可能是翻譯問題吧。我當自己是說唱藝人,但是也喜歡在作品裡加入旋律,這比較特別和有時會更有動感。

SG:作為一個女MC有甚麼挑戰嗎?Hip Hop裡有很多定型,主要在男生的方面,這樣會影響你或你的創作嗎?
不,我都不想這個。我是女生但是我沒有強調這事。特別的是,如果你太強調那種男子氣概,它會反噬你一口。我想的是,H ip H op世界滿是男生,我們可以一起玩,也不會特意強調自己的女生身份。我也可以做你做的事啊!女生rap已經不是甚麼新鮮事,以前可能一講起女生rap就會問“她?她可以嗎?”。但如果你有自己的獨特風格,沒有人能說甚麼。還有,我贏了金曲獎之後,已經證明了女生也能有大成就。

SG:那個獎為你帶來很多機會嗎?
當然!現在和當時頒獎給我的方大同合作就是其中一項。我不知道得獎後有甚麼大改變,因為得獎前已經有很多人幫我。我有很多行內朋友,他們知道我贏了時都說“我都這樣告訴你啦!”。獎項肯定你的努力,也讓人更注意台灣的Hip Hop界,就像能走進主流一樣。有更多機會和可能性。

SG:我要讓你知道,你是我們SPITGAN團隊的最愛,有兩個特別地告訴我你的Facebook專業很真誠和個人,除了作為rapper和MC外也讓我們更認識你。
無論去到哪裏,我也喜歡分享有趣的事情。我去紐約時,因為我覺得大家對萬聖節沒甚麼概念,所以我拍自己變裝的樣子。有些是我跳起半空抓蛋糕,很好玩。當有人群留意你時,不經意的表達是最好,更有控制。我只是想大家開心。無論是聽我的歌或看我的照片,世界有點悶,有時你需要逃離一下,我可能就是那個渠道吧。

SG:你又在台灣以外的亞洲地區表演過嗎?
沒有啊!

SG:甚麼?為甚麼不來香港?你有很多粉絲。
我都不知道!我只知道那些經紀人告訴我的。我想他們沒有做市場調查吧,我以前都沒有同類出現過。

SG:看看MV的數據就知道吧?有30%是香港!
我覺得他們(經紀人)不會真的去看那些數據。

MISSKO_SG3

SG:哈哈哈。
當我是經紀人來說,我覺得他們的目標是…現在當然我們在台灣有市場,雖然不入主流,但他會想我們是不是要把事情做大,甚至打入中國市場等等,香港也是一項,我們上星期才說過。

SG:上星期才說?你有一百萬點擊啊!真的全部是台灣的嗎?
我不知道這從何而來,不知道誰誰在哪裏看,我只知道數字而已!如果我投放時間可能我會知道更多,但這是我經紀人的事務啦!

SG:這又是。
不是我的工作嘛!我連密碼都沒有!

SG:哈哈,也是原因。
你告訴香港的人…我受寵若驚啦!真的!

SG:有被香港、新加波等境外媒體訪問過嗎?
沒有。也不是公司排除了他們的訪問,但是我沒有太留意。現在我們都不太清楚境外市場。

SG:所以所有表演都是在台灣?
也不是,上個月我回紐約參加CMJ週,很大的節慶。現在只是起步階段,第一年,我覺得明年、下一張專輯都會有更多在裏面。

SG:有點驚訝呢。華語市場比台灣市場大很多,中國人也會明白你唱的,香港人也會,很明顯你在這裡支持者不少。
香港講廣東話,他們會期望我用廣東話rap吧。我不知道我的市場是不是在香港。

SG:你和甚麼廣東話rapper有過節嗎?
沒有啊!我只是不知道我的能力是不是適合這裡。

SG:就給我們一個名字吧!讓我們有爆料看!
其實我是很喜歡香港啦。一個月前我去了弄我的護照。我的印象是,香港人不太喜歡講國語,我和他們講話他們都用廣東話回應,這個挺讓我有點點納悶。

SG:這個應該是中港矛盾吧,不是台灣的問題。
噢所以這裡的人不喜歡國語是有根據的!不知道啦!哈哈哈。

SG:哈哈,你當時覺得香港人不友善是嗎?
我只是覺得他們不喜歡國語。感覺就像…你去美國然後你有口音,人家就不當你是一回事這樣。

SG:台灣接受你做本地人嗎?或還是覺得你是ABC?
不知道呢,我不覺得我自己是ABC(American Born Chinese,美籍華人)。也有一方面是,可能是我的處事方法和本地人有點不一樣,思想也是。我和唱片公司一開始也有點磨刷,他們的觀點是我在人人豔羨的位置上,所以我要聽話;但是我卻想,“如果是值得的話我才做”,我也會犧牲,但是我不會沒什麼理由就無條件爲你做所有吧。這裡(台灣)的文化就是老闆叫你做甚麼就做,這不是我處事方式。我不喜歡就不做,沒談。他們以前覺得我這樣很難搞,但是我讓他們理解我的觀點,他們後來也覺得其實我是合理的,但是在他們了解以前,情況真的比較艱難。

SG:讓他們接受你的觀點真好。保持輕鬆態度和比較合理呢。
我覺得如果你是知道自己想要甚麼的話,你就把所有東西攤在桌子上談而不理後果吧。那段日子我真的有想是要回紐約還是留在台灣。我原本是用六個月簽證來的,然後第六個月我就遇上了唱片公司。當時我完成了一些旅行,在意外裡跌破了下巴…

SG:關於甚麼的以外?好像有點Kanye West事件的感覺。
對啊!我縫了兩個月針!我只能吃粥。當時我騎著機車回家,一台計程車突然U拐去接乘客,為甚麼要在綠燈前這樣做!他應該看我不到,我也不能馬上剎車,他就撞上我了,下巴裂了七塊!要像砌圖一樣把他們放回原位。

SG:我在網上見到這事,可能意外是做巨星前的公式!你可能要像Kayne那樣紅了!哈哈。
你知道啊,當時我媽媽…我當時很沮喪,不能吃也睡不著,不能出街不能工作,因為我肋骨也傷了,很像一個殘廢,不像一個功能健全的人,所以真的很不開心。我媽媽說,我活過來以後會有好運氣,我就想,說什麼啊,這個意外可以帶來甚麼運氣?然後就在那個大頒獎禮上我說起這事,然後說原來“運氣”是這個,然後觀眾堆裡的媽媽就得意地“對嘛!”這樣。

SG:你可能真在邁向Kayne的成功呢,不論好壞。
我已經成就超過所想了,我還記得以前只有三位觀眾。現在有自己的演唱會,整個場都滿了人,真的很感動,這讓我非常感恩自己能夠做到這個,很酷。

SG:能夠形容你自己的風格嗎?
時裝上?我喜歡拼湊,從高中開始已經是這樣。

SG:顏色或…
顏色。如果我有大紅鞋子,我也需要一點紅在身上,找到平衡。基本上我腦子裡會知道自己想穿甚麼,如果衣服和想像想近我就會穿的了。如果覺得無需穿成這樣子呢…很少這情況。我通常不花太多時間穿搭。

MISSKO_SG7

SG:肯定嗎?
對啊。

SG:我只是說說,女生穿搭總給男生一種神秘的感覺,好像很耗時間…告訴我們
一些台灣地道Hip Hop用語吧。“嗆”就好像是你嗑了藥。“囧” “ 瞎”、“屌”、“跩”… “囧”是“哎喲好丟臉”,字就像一個人臉朝地攤在地上。這就是我學中文的方法,圖像化文字。

SG:你支持大麻合法化嗎?
是啊,不過我不用。

SG:沒有問你有沒有用啊,只是問你支持不,哈哈。
不想被誤讀嘛!我支持不代表我會吸。我覺得大麻像香菸,如果你允許香菸…雖然大麻會刺激你腦部…不過酒精也一樣啦。如果合法酒精的話為甚麼大麻不可以。

SG:可以告訴我們5個名字或東西嘛,台灣近期時興的。
我覺得Hip Hop是一個。Fitted還有Snapbacks等的帽子、運動鞋文化…

SG:在台灣還沒有熱潮嗎?
不像New York。

SG:三個人名吧。
我很喜歡Ariana Grande,她聲音好像Mariah Carey。

SG:你的beats是誰寫的?
蛋堡啊。他的中文名字和英文完全沒有關係。啊我的朋友John Bellion,她剛剛爲Eminem和Rhianna寫了“Monster”。

SG:你知道韓國甚麼藝人嗎?
我超喜歡Drunken Tiger,他們是一個團隊,YG Family的。我也很喜歡Rain和Big Bang,整團的Big Bang。

SG:你不喜歡G -Dragon嗎?
他有點over-swag了。

SG:哈哈哈哈,台灣“swag”怎麼叫?
我其實不知道“swag”的意思。有次我在歌曲裡用到“swag”這個字,他們用了其他字來做字幕,只有SWAG才對嘛,他們用了“帥”或“帥氣”來翻譯。

SG:你在做新唱片嗎?有何近況呢?
我最近再寫很多東西,工作模式回來了。最近在做一首和方大同一起的作品…在起步階段。只是和他合作都已經是榮幸了!他是我來台灣時最先聽的歌手之一,我走到哪裏都聽到他的歌。他也許已經變成我一部分了。嗨香港!

English continued below >>

MISSKO_SG1

SPITGAN : What was an early memory for you in Hip Hop?
Miss Ko : The earliest? Well the one that sticks out the most for me was when I was 5 or 6, I used to have baby sitters. My baby sitter, she was in the know. She would bump the radio and crank it up. There were other kids she would babysit and basically there was this one song, ‘Jump’ by Kris Kross. When it came on, that was it. We would climb the couches, we would yell. I would jump, this other kid would jump. It was like a seesaw. I remember that very vividly, as a child, the enjoyment of Hip Hop music. So from then on, I was like, ‘I think I like this stuff’. I even tried to wear my pants backwards!

SG : Did you ever try to perform wearing your clothes backwards?
No! My producer Soft Lipa he wears his pants backwards. He has these jeans he wears backwards.

SG : This is now?
Yeah. I guess he realized they were so similar back and front that if he flipped them around it would make no difference. He also wears them low, like below the butt and that’s usually where the problem lies…

SG : Because?
Well if you can wear your pants below your butt you don’t have that issue, but I have to wear my pants above my butt. You know.

SG : Was MC’ing the first element of Hip Hop that drew you into the culture?
No. I actually got into dance first. I think when I was little I just really liked to dance. Not in front of anyone just to myself. Music was kind of an escape mechanism. Me growing up, my parents would always argue, there was a lot of domestic violence. Asides from that it was just a bit hectic. Through music, I found an escape and through dance I found other things like the MC’ing part. So I started writing lyrics in high school. It was all in English until I came to Taiwan. I never thought I would write Chinese lyrics. I never thought it would be anything, I just liked doing it.

SG : What was the Hip Hop scene like in Queens where you grew up?
Oh it was fun! It was good. I think the early 90’s, I could go outside of my building and there would be people breakdancing on the corner or in subways. Back then the 7 trains used to have graffiti on the sides. It wasn’t cleaned up yet. After Guilliani came in, then I started to see trains without graffiti and I was like, “Whoa!” Then it became a common theme. You were used to seeing trains tagged up in all different colors then they started coming in a dark red. I was startled. That’s weird.

SG : So it was all pervasive. New York is the Mecca of Hip Hop.
Yeah. If you sought it out, or even if you didn’t. It was there. It was very apparent. You saw people dressing all ‘old school’ and now its all skinny jeans. Back then it was all baggy, now its the more fitted the better.

SG : Did you perform in NY before you came back to Taiwan?
I did some shows! I came back to Taiwan purely to learn Chinese. I didn’t necessarily think that I could make music out here. So before that, I did some things like the Manhattan parade. My friend was helping throw it so she got me on. It was fun, a lot of fun. I did this performance in Bryant Park, and performed on HOT97. Miss Jones, she held this competition called, ‘Night of the Rising Stars’, and I was chosen. I was in that line and I was the only Asian person in that line. Not even Asia girl! I remember thousands of people! That line wrapped around. That was just the audition, there must have been at least 5 to 600 people.

SG : Were you aware of any other Asian MC’s at that point?
No. Which was the tough part, because it was hard to identify with somebody, but I never purely identified myself as just Asian. I think I grew up well cultured. My friends are Spanish, they’re black, they’re white. They’re all sorts. All different nationalities, so I mean, do I need an Asian to look up to? No. I looked up to Lauryn Hill. Her first solo album, I still regard as one of the best ever.

SG : Did you have have a crew back then? A little posse?
We’d play around but no! I’d freestyle during lunch. My friends would bang on the cafeteria tables. I’d cut to Fort Green Park…My high school was in Brooklyn.

SG : Hold up. You lived in Queens and you went to school in Brooklyn?
I went to a special high school. All Asian people, you know, your parents want you to go to some better high school.

SG : True.
So I ended up going to a pretty good school which was in Brooklyn. I would go to Fort Green Park which was right next to my school. I would cut all my classes, and just go there to chill, not go to class. Looking back it was probably a waste of time but in that moment, I was like “I like this.”

SG : Did you meet any people out of that time that got a little buzz now?
No. Honestly I didn’t even hear about people at that time. I was young and in that mode. It was more “What am I going to eat next? When can I go home and go on the computer? Or, what time are we hanging out after school?’ Reality doesn’t even really begin. ‘When are you going to college? I don’t know.’

SG : Hahahah. Did you have any other MC names before Miss Ko?
No. My screen name is Infamiss Ko though.

SG : You had a screen name?
A screen name, like AOL. Like user name.

SG : Did you make this up yourself or someone gave it to you?
I just thought of it one day. I have random moments of creativity. I just appears in my head.

MISSKO_SG2

SG : What made you decide to come back to Taiwan?
Well I wanted to learn Chinese. The main thing was I wanted to travel. I had never seen my family in Singapore. I had never seen my family in Taiwan. I had never been on this side of the world really. Not that I have any recollection of anyways. When I was little my parents sent me back to Taiwan to live with my grandma for a year or two. That was when I was one. I don’t remember.

SG : Don’t worry not a lot of people do.
I just wanted to understand that side of my culture before I settled down. I just graduated college. I was like what should I do next? I figured I wanted to take some time so I could be free and just take some time before I got into the ‘real world’. The 9 to 5, you know. Everyone was like life is supposed to be this way and I was like, “I don’t want it to be that way…”

SG : Did you have music connections already?
No, I didn’t know anyone out here. Honestly, I knew my mom’s sister. She was the one who told me where I could learn Chinese. I looked at it and it didn’t look like the place. So I looked online. I basically just winged it all. I talked to people. They said there was a Mandarin center in Sou Dao (sic), which is in Taipei. So through that I was able to stay longer, and then I got my passport so I could stay permanently.

SG : So you slowly just ventured out and found people that were into Hip Hop?
Yeah! It was very random. I came here and a childhood friend of mine, she was a DJ on ICRT. She was like we should link up. This was probably 2 months afterwards. She introduced me to some friends of hers. All of them were Americans but had been here for a while. So this friend was like, “I heard you rap…” She had seen this banner for a competition. It was to write a jingle for a mall. At that time my Chinese was really limited so I maybe included just a little bit of Chinese. I wrote the song. Back then my teacher was also teaching me the piano. He composed something for me and I shot a bad quality music video. My teacher uploaded it and that’s how my manager saw me. I thought it was a joke! He said he thought I was good and I said, “I think your lying. Who are you? Stop F’ing around.”

SG : When was this?
This was probably August of 2010. I had come to Taiwan in February of 2010. It must of been at least half a year after.

SG : So it moved pretty fast.
It actually felt pretty slow in the process, but looking back in retrospect…Once it got going it snowballed.

SG : What’s the difference between an MC and a rapper?
I think that gets too political.

SG : What? What does that mean?!
Well like. I’m gonna quote KRS-ONE…

SG : I’m just asking for your feelings on it. Not like quote me something from the Hip Hop bible or nothing.
In a deep voice, “rappers talk about random stuff and MC’s, the purpose is to uplift the people.” Hahahah. I think there’s always a book definition and to each of us as individuals, our own definition. For me, I’ve never differentiated between the two. I wouldn’t call myself a rapper, but I do because people call me that. As far as MC goes. I call myself an MC because the purpose of my music IS to uplift people, but I might not be an MC in everyone’s sense.

SG : When you tell people you are an MC/rapper do you get different reactions in NY versus Taiwan?
No. I don’t really say much. I like to be really low key.

SG : What happened when you told your family? Did they understand?
No! My mom hated it. The music that I listen to, she was totally against. My dad was against me doing music and my mom was against the Hip Hop aspect of it. She just felt it was very trashy. I mean, it can be. When you branch off and do your own thing and not the stereotype, I think my mom was able to see that and accept it. So its a really different feeling to see that turnaround, from being against it, to cheering you on now.

SG : Your sound seems to be very based in a feel good 90’s era of Hip Hop. Is this a concious effort on your part? Or your label’s?
No. The album was pure, natural. It was so good. It was an accumulation of my Chinese ability from when I started to when I finished the album. There are songs on there from right after I met my label and then there are songs from all throughout. I kept writing and writing and thats just how I got better at writing Chinese lyrics. Now they’re like its really good. That’s really creative. Taiwanese would never think to say it like that…

SG : That’s great though. Hip Hop has always welcomed that no? Its always embraced new styles…
I think the idea is to do something different and not let it tacky. Lets say I was rapping about guns and drugs, that would be kind of tacky in a sense…Its just the way you approach what you do. I’d just rather project a positive image. Even if my lifestyle was like that. It’s not all just happy times. I’m not going to write about times where I’m feeling depressed and going to do something crazy you know. I could if the song required it, but its not a natural process for me.

SG : You rap in both Mandarin and English is it quite a different process? Is one easier?
Just because I’ve been writing in English for so long its natural to me. What I found interesting about the whole Chinese part is I rap like I’m rapping in English. The mannerisms are the same. The concept of it, the way it sounds…I guess that’s why when its bilingual it sounds more fluid as opposed to being strictly Chinese. Sometimes if you only know Chinese, its broken down into syllable by syllable, you get used to that tempo. English you have multi-syllable words and if you slur it you can catch it. That’s the interesting part because I can slur the Chinese words and people will still get it. Its an interesting transition, the process is easy.

SG : Do you think its easier to rhyme in Chinese because you say one sound and it has at least 4 different meanings? Or in cantonese, 9?
It gets confusing when you hear it, but with my lyrics its easy to catch because I say it so simply. I don’t know how to get really complex, my Chinese ability is not at that level yet. So the words I know how to use I’ll incorporate. Sometimes it can get too complex and you don’t know what is being said until you look at the lyrics. The top songs, even in America, you don’t listen to them and not know what they are saying. You hear them and know exactly what they are saying.

SG : You think its a necessity as a Taiwan based musician to rap in Chinese?
Well the market is that. I could rap in English but it would be a lot more foreign. Its not their first language. There could be a market for it. Kinda like Hip Hop being a secondary market in Taiwan. There’s always pop, so to rhyme in English it would be even a smaller market. When you want to attract the radio audience you kind of have to speak their language. Like the young people understand a bit, but this type of interview would be a bit beyond.

What I’ve noticed is that there maybe is a different way to process information here. Take for instance movies and TV. There are always subtitles even though its of the same language. So lyrics, maybe they put a bigger emphasis on scholarly lyrics because you can read along. Its like a necessity, music videos in America would never do that.

SG : Hahahah. Probably because they couldn’t. All the trash they would print out! For me though I would lose part of the ‘feel’ of a song if I had to read along.
So many people do that nowadays! They constantly do re-runs. That’s why Youtube videos get so many hits! People are constantly watching them again. They might not know what they saw the first time. They were too busy reading! I don’t know. I can’t tap into this mentality, its not me.

MISSKO_SG6

SG : Speaking of your songs, a lot of your songs are a mix of English and Chinese. Is this a unique style of your own?
I think that was just my way of learning how to rhyme in Chinese. So I went from a full English song, ‘Hey DJ’, to the last one recorded which was 70% Chinese. I realized its harder for me to incorporate the English now. I actually think in Chinese now. There wasn’t any pressure on the first album so Chinese or English, I didn’t care. There is definitely more expectations with the second album.

SG : How does that pressure affect the way you write now?
I’m more conscious of the amount of English I put in my lyrics now. I don’t want to make it a crutch to revert back to an English rhyme. I want to be able to challenge myself and find all the possible rhymes in Chinese.

SG : Do you have tracks where you just sing?
No, not purely. I’m not a singer. I can do melodies but I’m not Beyonce. If I’m not Beyonce I’m not going to try to be like Beyonce.

SG : It’s on your official website bio do you know that?
Really?! I do sing.

SG : It says singer first then rapper. Hahahha.
Oh my god! Hmmm. Its probably the translation. I consider myself a rap artist. I just like to throw in melodies here and there. I think it makes a song sound more eclectic and gives it a groove sometimes.

SG : What are the challenges of being a female MC? There are many stereotypes in Hip Hop, mainly chauvanistic ones. Does that limit you or your subject matter?
No. I don’t think about it much. I’m a girl obviously but I don’t put a complete emphasis on it. The hallmark of it is, Hip Hop is a mainly male field but when you put to much on it and try and make it too much of a point it comes back to bite you. My idea is that you are all guys. I can roll with ya’ll. I’m not trying to come off as a girl, even though I am a girl. I can do exactly what you can do also. I think it’s been really well received so far. I think before it was like, she’s a female, can she really rap. If you have something different to bring to the table, no one will really judge you off that anymore. Also after winning an award (Golden Melody Award) of that magnitude, it says a lot about what females can do.

SG : So you win the award (Golden Melody Award). Has it opened up lots of opportunities for you?
Yeah. Obviously now getting to work with Khalil Fung who presented me the award was one. I don’t know to what extent its really opened doors because I had received a great amount of support even before the award. So I had a lot of friends even in the industry, when I won who be like, “Oh my God! I told you!” It was just kind of an affirmation of what it is that you do, or represent. It definitely helped people in Taiwan take Hip Hop more seriously. Thinking of it as more mainstream. Thinking that there would be more possibilities after me. That there is a lot more potential to it.

SG : Well to let you know you are a favorite of the SPITGAN staff, and these two in particular mentioned to me that your Facebook page is very genuine and personal, speaking on who you are beyond just being a rapper or an MC.
Well I guess wherever I go. I like to share certain things that are interesting. So when I went to New York, I don’t think people had really even seen Halloween. So I took pictures of costumes I was trying on. Some of them where funny….There’s pictures of me jumping in the air trying to reach for a cake. I think its really for entertainment. When you have people viewing you, its better to give people a laid back perception. Its just more controlled. I just want people to be happy. When they listen to my music, or even look at my pictures. There’s just so much static in the world. Sometimes you just need an escape mechanism and I feel like I can be that channel.

SG : Have you performed in Asia beyond Taiwan?
Noooo.

SG : What?! Why aren’t you in Hong Kong? Why haven’t you done anything in Hong Kong? You have a lot of fans here.
I don’t even know. I only know what my management shares. I don’t think they’ve done market research. There’s no precedent for what I’m doing.

SG : Can they just see from the statistics of your videos and stuff? Oh 30% are from Hong Kong and this percent is from here…
I don’t think they go in and actually do that stuff!

SG : Hahahah.
I think the goal for them, speaking on behalf/for my manager…Of course we have a Taiwanese market now but its still not mainstream. He’s thinking if we want to make it even bigger we have to expand into China this and that. Hong Kong would be one of them but this is something we only talked about last week.

SG : Last week? What? So you have over a million hits on Youtube and you think they’re all coming from Taiwan?
I have no idea where they’re coming from. I can’t tell who’s watching it from where, I just know the number! If i invested time I think I could draw a lot of information from it but I feel that’s my management’s job.

SG : Yeaaah. You bet!
Not really my job. I don’t even have the account password, you know!

SG : Hhahahah. Might be a reason….
For you to tell me people in Hong Kong…I’m startled. I am!

SG : Haven’t you been interviewed by media from Hong Kong, Singapore etc?
No, no, no. I don’t think its because my company is filtering them out but I guess you only start to notice something when it comes in big amounts. Right now the foreign markets, we don’t necessarily know about it.

SG : So all your shows have been done in Taiwan.
Well no. I went back to New York last month for CMJ week, which was a big festival. I’m only starting, its my first year. I think the next year, the next album, there will be a lot more to it.

SG : Surprised. Even just the Chinese speaking market, you would have so much more reach than just Taiwan. China would understand you. I think Hong Kong would have a pretty good grasp of…clearly you have fans here.
I guess in Hong Kong they speak Cantonese, so they would expect me to rap in Cantonese. So I don’t know if the market is there.

SG : You have beef with Cantonese rappers?
No, I don’t! I just don’t know if my abilities would make sense there.

SG : Agggh. Give us some beef! Make up a name.
Actually I really like Hong Kong. I went there for a month to get my passport done. From my impression though, people there don’t like to speak Mandarin. When I tried to speak Mandarin, people would reply in Cantonese and kind of brush me off.

SG : I think that’s because of this beef between Hong Kong and the mainland, more than Taiwan.
So my impression of people liking mandarin is kinda jaded. But I don’t know! Hahah.

SG : Hhahahh. So you thought there was beef. You thought people had beef with you.
I thought people didn’t like Madarin. You just get this feeling…Its similar to when you go to America and you have this accent and people don’t really take to you as easily…

SG : Has Taiwan accepted you as a local, as their own, or do they consider you an ABC?
I don’t know. I don’t consider myself an ABC (American Born Chinese). I think there’s clearly an ABC side to me. The way I do certain things is just not the same as the people who have grown up here. Even the way I think. There was a lot of clashing here at first with my label. They come from a perspective where everyone wants to be in your position, so you kind of have to be on your hands and knees. For me its like, “if you make it worth my while I’ll do it.” I’m self-sacrificing but not to the point where I’m just going to throw everything aside and do something for you for no reason. The attitude here is more so, the boss says we do this, we do it. That’s not how I operate. If I don’t like it I don’t do it. No way. They found that very difficult, but when I got them to think in my perspective they were like, “that makes sense too.” Up until that moment it was really tough.

SG : Good on you for having them see your way. It seems in a pretty chill, civil fashion.
I think you just know what you want, you lay it out on the table and you don’t really care about the consequences. I think at that time I was really contemplating more whether I wanted to go back to New York or stay in Taiwan. I came originally on a 6 month visa, and in the 6th month I met them. I had done a bunch of traveling, and then I broke my jaw in an accident…

SG : Yeah. What was that all about? You had a little Kanye West thing happen to you.
I did! I was wired for like 2 months! I could do nothing but eat congee! I was riding a scooter home and this cab did an illegal U-turn to pick up a customer. Why would you do that during a green light?! I don’t think he saw me. I couldn’t brake in time. He hit me. That jaw was broken! It was in 7 pieces. They had to puzzle it back together…

SG : Yeah I saw that on the internet. Maybe that’s a formula to success! Maybe your on your way to be as big as Kanye! Hahahah.
You know what it is, my mom at that time…I was really depressed at that time. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. You can’t go out and walk around ‘cuz I hurt my rib too. Basically your crippled! You can’t function as a normal human being. So I was in a mode of depression. My mom was like, “well look. If you can survive this you will have a great amount of good fortune after.” I was like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. What fortune can come of this?” So in my awards speech I was like, “I broke my jaw about a year ago and my mom said if I don’t die from something major you will have a great amount of fortune, and I finally know what she meant!” Moms was in the crowd like, “Yeeeaaah!”

SG : Yeah maybe your on your way to the Kanye levels of success. Whether that’s good or bad…
I’ve achieved a lot more than I’ve thought you know. I remember when there were 3 people in the crowd. So to have your own concert, and to see an entire venue packed, it touches you. It makes you feel grateful for being even able to do that. Its cool.

SG : Personal style. Can you describe it for us?
Fashion-wise? I like to co-ordinate. That’s something I’ve been doing since high school.

MISSKO_SG5

SG : Colors or…?
Colors. If I’m rocking red shoes, I’ll need another red something. Its like a balance, finding a balance. Basically, I have an idea of what I’m wearing in my head. If it meets that idea I will go out with it. If I see that its not what I need it to be…but its rarely like that. I don’t really spend too much time on what I wear…

SG : Are you sure?
Not really…

SG : I’m just saying. Its not a sexist thing but its one of the great mysteries of life to fellas. The length of time it takes a woman to dress…Give us some Taiwanese Hip Hop slang.
‘Chiang’, which means, ‘you on something.’ ‘Jung’, ‘Schia’ or ‘Diao’. ‘Schwai’ is you like it. ‘Jung’ is, ‘Oh my God, that’s embarassing.’ The character is actually a person with his face lying down in the ground. That’s how I remember Chinese. The actual characters look like images.

SG : Do you support the legalization of marijuana?
I mean…I do. Not that I use it.

SG : I didn’t ask if you use it. I asked if you supported it. Haha.
I didn’t want that to be misrepresented. Just because I support it doesn’t mean I use it. No. I think its kinda like a cigarette. If your going to allow cigarettes…Although it does kinda alter your state of mind…but that’s alcohol too. If your going to make alcohol legal why not marijuana too.

SG : Word up. Give us 5 people/things that are on the come up in Taiwan.
I think Hip Hop is one of them. Fitted’s and snapbacks, all types of hats are on the come up. Sneaker culture…

SG : That’s not big already there?
Not like New York.

SG : How about 3 people?
I really like Ariana Grande. She sounds like Maria Carey.

SG : Who produces your beats?
Soft Lipa. His Chinese name has nothing to do with his English name. Oh my friend John Bellion, he just wrote that track, ‘The Monster’, for Eminem and Rihanna.

SG : How about Korean artists?
I really liked, Drunken Tiger. They’re a crew. They’re from the YG family. I like Rain. He’s sweet. I think I like Big Bang, like together.

SG : You don’t like G-Dragon?
He’s got a bit over-swag.

SG : Hahahh. What’s the Taiwanese word for swag?
They don’t even know what swag is! You know what. I used swag in a song and they substituted it for a different word! I told them that was something else! That’s not the word! Its SWAG. They say ‘Schwai’ or ‘Schwai Chi’

SG : So you working on your new album now? What’s coming up for you?
I’ve been doing a lot of writing. I’m back in work mode. Recently I’ve just been working on this track with Khalil (Khalil Fong)…The track is in its beginning stages. Just to be able to work with him is an honor. He’s one of the first artists I listened to when I came to Taiwan and I listened to his songs everywhere I went. So he kind of became like a part of me. Peace Hong Kong!

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