Authenticity Essay #4: Gatekeepers and Idol Rappers

Back when BTS was a baby group, they were subject to what seems (to me, as a fan coming later on to the group) like a really disproportionate amount of criticism. One theme that got the group loads of criticism?

Their relationship with and attempts at embodying hip-hop culture.

When you watch their m net -hosted series American Hustle Life, the first episode has a selection of headlines revolving around BTS’ debut as a group under BigHit Entertainment (around the 1:05 mark). These headlines, when translated, say things like “BTS challenging real gangster”, “BTS debut, opening up with 90’s gangster”, and “BTS, strengthening the industry with gangster rap”.

As an act, BTs was marketed and developed as a hip-hop idol group.

In the time period that they trained and debuted, a ton of idol groups were also debuting.  Exo (2012), Block B (2011), B.A.P (2012), Winner (2014) and Got7 (2014) are just a handful of male idol groups that debuted roughly within the same era as BTS. But as far as I can tell through research, while all idol rappers are met with the same sort of disdain and suspicion from “mainstream” and underground rappers alike –

Some of the documented nonsense that BTS – and more specifically, their rapline – has been hit with by some of these dudes and, most likely, their fans has been… wild.

Case in point?

Rapper B-free’s on-again, off-again beef with BTS following a 2013 KBH Hiphop Radio interview that swiftly went sour.

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