San E + Mad Clown Union Night Club Hip-Hop Battle

Paul Andrew Yapcengco

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On April 20th at Union Nightclub, Mad Clown and San E brought the house down at half capacity. On the second stop of their “We Want You” tour on the west coast, the Korean rappers treated fans to all their hits and most notable features.

This was their first full-fledged tour around the country despite having held shows with other artists in L.A before. Throughout the night, Mad Clown (Dong-rim Jo) and San E (San Jung) expressed genuine bliss by interacting with fans who would rap all their songs, not being afraid to get silly at times, and giving away signed items.

The rappers choose a competition concept throughout the show to take turns at performing. They opened up with their 2015 collaboration “Sour Grapes” and throwing commemorative fake dollars to a hyped up crowd who exploded with glee at the sight of them. Afterward, the rappers dived into a “Who are you here to see?” cheering battle. Bantering back and forth about who’s more popular, San E announced that the audience would decide after a few songs.

On a specific portion of the show, the stark contrast between the rappers arose. San E’s style veers towards what’s fun and trendy, while Mad Clown focuses more on the message and his enunciation of it, showcasing an overall well-rounded setlist.

This time relying on the classic game of rock, paper, scissors, which the rappers played to decide who would perform their set first. With the help of a fan and Sobae, the Korean R&B singer who opened the show with her single “Homegirls,” Mad Clown came out as the winner. Subsequently, San E said, “It’s gonna be boring for 20 minutes” as he exited the stage.

Mad Clown went from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde at the drop of a beat, changing from being a bit shy and awkward on stage to a forceful lyrical monster.

San E, on the other hand, acted bright and fun as his song are. Mad Clown got everyone in their feelings, but San E turned it up with jams like “Body Language” and even included an interlude of the popular K-pop song “Bboom Bboom” by Momoland

Being established, chart-topping rappers in Korea, the rappers’ singles, for the most part, come off as commercial bops and yet, they were both able to reach said status individually thanks to their talent. Continuing with the competition theme after their solo sets, Mad Clown and San E battled it out acapella and took turns mocking each other one more time.

To close out the show, San E and Mad Clown performed their latest track “Butterfly,” getting the crowd to dance along with them at the chorus.

The score was never officially settled their battle results but by the end, it was clear that the crowd were the real winners. The rappers’ music and personalities might be different, but the entire show flowed well and there wasn’t a dull moment.  Fans in the barricades had ear to ear smiles, mirroring the rappers’ own. With a group picture including Sobae and DJ Juice, who DJ-ed the entire show, the night came to a close. Before bowing out, San E shared that he would never forget that night in LA, a sentiment that more than one fan could surely relate to.

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