Korean-American rapper Jay Park has another notch on his belt, just days after it was revealed that he landed a recording contract with Roc Nation. The 30-year-old is the new judge on the upcoming new season of Asia’s Got Talent, a spin-off of the international televised talent hunt franchise.

Given his history of speaking his mind – he exited the South Korean boy band 2PM in 2010 for comments he had made about the country years earlier – one would not expect him to mince his words on the show. And indeed he himself has no intention of doing so.

Jay, 30, says: “I’m definitely going to be well-mannered and respecting. But I’m not the type to say whatever just to be nice. You have to be real with these people in order to really help them. Sugarcoating things is not going to help them.”

He was speaking at a press event on Thursday (July 27) at the ArtScience Museum, alongside two returning judges, Grammy-winning Canadian musician David Foster, 67, and Indonesian rocker Anggun, 42. The first season’s other two judges, Ex-Spice Girl Melanie C and Taiwanese pop star Van Ness Wu, are not taking part in the second season. The new season is slated to premiere in October on AXN.

Jay has had plenty of experience sussing out talent in South Korea. He was a judge on dance survival programme Dancing 9 and televised rap contest Show Me The Money.

He is also a boss and mentor to hip-hop and R&B talents under his music label AOMG (Above Ordinary Music Group).

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Last week, he became labelmates with superstar Rihanna after signing on with Roc Nation. He is the first Asian-American to be signed with the management agency founded by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.

“It is a dream come true. I love Jay-Z’s music, how he built his brand, and moved on to the business side. It just kind of came out of nowhere. Of course I said yes,” he says.

“For them to come and pick me, an Asian guy, for the urban community to acknowledge me as an urban hip-hop artist, it’s ground-breaking.”

Text: Gwendolyn Ng / The Straits Times / July 2017
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