San E and Mad Clown Get Up Close and Personal With Western Fans

San E and Mad Clown Get Up Close and Personal With Western Fans

A rather surprising but welcomed announcement, the U.S. tour of rappers San E and Mad Clown may not have been what anyone could have anticipated, but was well worth the experience nonetheless. San E and Mad Clown haven’t had many collaborations—in fact there have been only two to date—so the two touring together was an interesting decision. That decision seemed to pay off though, as The Kraze attended shows in D.C. and Cleveland to reap the benefits.

 photos by Khanh Tran (D.C.) and Kelly Sipko (Cleveland)

photos by Khanh Tran (D.C.) and Kelly Sipko (Cleveland)

The duo was accompanied by vocalist Sobae and DJ Juice, who both performed one track each before the rappers came out on stage. Sobae is an R&B singer who is fairly new to the scene but has already proven to be incredibly talented. She opened the show with her song “homegirl,” a homage to women that she dedicated to all the female fans in the audience. DJ Juice also did his own quick intro before San E and Mad Clown came out to the tune of their first collab song, “Sour Grapes.” As expected of the unbelievably extra rapper, San E came out of the shadows of backstage with an exclamation of “Oh, sh*t!” followed by an explosion of fake money being thrown out of his hands into the crowd. Mad Clown also had his own stash but was far more subdued than his counterpart in performing the stunt.

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The venues were quite small, allowing for a much closer and more intimate experience with the artists. San E took charge of translation, while Mad Clown spoke in his native Korean. San E began by teasing a fan of Mad Clown, exclaiming that he was a married man that now also had a child. The duo began by asking the fans to decide who performed their respective feature songs better, with Mad Clown gaining the majority of approving shouts and causing San E to exclaim “Mad Clown, what the f*** did you do to D.C.?”

The duo took a lot of breaks to interact with the audience and poke fun at each other, which made the show feel less like a performance of celebrities and more like a private show. Despite the lack of collaborations, the duo performed songs they were each featured on individually, usually taking turns back and forth.

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Fans were even gifted a moment of aegyo from the two rappers, despite San E spitting out a mouthful of water when Mad Clown suggested he perform aegyo as well. Mad Clown ended up the victor of the showdown, as declared by DJ Juice, and performed first before being followed by his counterpart. The duo also brought out Sobae once again to each individually perform a song with her on the vocal part.

One lucky fan got a special gift from San E himself. This special fan happened to be a fanboy of San E and received the hat he had been wearing all through the show, signed, much to everyone’s surprise. That wasn’t all, however, as he dedicated the next song to that same fan as well. It was a cute moment for everyone to witness.

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During San E’s final song, right smack in the middle of his performance he broke out into the signature dance of MOMOLAND’s “Bboom Bboom,” much to the delight of the crowd. To say that stunt was unexpected would be an understatement.

The duo finished off the show with their latest released collaboration track “Butterfly,” and an additional performance with Sobae, but of course came out for an encore. During San E’s verses, Mad Clown was making sure to grab as many fans’ phones as possible and take photos of himself with them, a level of fan engagement many of us aren’t used to seeing, especially on the level that Mad Clown did it. He took at least 10 to 15 phones from the crowd, getting as many as he possibly could in a short time.

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With the next stop of the tour taking them to Cleveland, Ohio, the hype did not let up. Korean acts are very few and far between when it comes to making stops in Cleveland—a fact that both San E and Mad Clown made sure to point out (along with a promise to tell others to visit). The venue was definitely on the smaller side, but the second the show started, the room erupted with fervor. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Mad Clown and San E’s performance was their ability to keep the enthusiasm up: never once was there a lull in the set and the duo’s energy made the small venue feel 10 times bigger than it actually was. There’s something to be said for having good stage presence, and boy, did San E, Mad Clown, Sobae, and DJ Juice deliver.

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Just like in D.C., the fan engagement was off the charts and truly not something seen in most acts, Korean or otherwise. In addition to San E serenading a special fan on stage for her birthday, the rappers also handed out signed copies of “Butterfly.” Much like D.C., the two rappers made sure to show off their aegyo with finger hearts galore. Following their encore performance (a refrain of their opening collab, “Sour Grapes,” though this time with each rapper mockingly dressed up as the other), Mad Clown shook the hands of crowd members one by one with a polite bow and a quick “감사합니다” while San E proceeded to actually lean into the crowd and start a group hug with about 10 fans. Between the high-energy sets, endless banter between the rappers, and nearly constant interaction with the fans, this concert was a truly incredible experience and one that will be hard to forget.  

Overall, the intimate experience with the two foreign rappers was definitely worth the trip. Whether a huge fan or even closer to unfamiliar with San E and Mad Clown, the show was enjoyable for all who attended. If given the opportunity, do not pass up this tour!

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