Meet #MommyRapper, Heesun Lee!
If you’re unfamiliar with her name, Heesun Lee is a Korean-born, American-raised hip-hop artist hailing from Staten Island. This year, she joined the talented lineup of performances on the KCON stage, and spoke with The Kraze after her performance to help us get to know her a little better.
Q: For our readers who are getting the chance to know you for the first time, can you please give a little introduction about yourself?
A: My name is Heesun Lee. I’m a rapper/spoken word. I’m an artist. I’m from Staten Island, New York. I’m born in South Korea, and adopted. So my whole mission is to break stereotypes, especially in the hip-hop industry. Letting people know that it’s okay to respect yourself. I have a different positive outlook in my music and I’m trying to definitely break the stereotypes.
Q: Who and what are your inspirations for getting into music and hip-hop?
A: So he’s actually not the most positive rappers, but I was a huge Tupac fan growing up and I’m from the suburbs. He was just poetic. He said what he felt and was so passionate about the things that he did. So even though I didn’t agree with a lot of things that he said and did, I was more in love with his character and how he was and stood up for everything he believed in. And he was cute.
Q: What is your creative process when it comes to making your music? Are there any challenges and how do you overcome them?
A: Currently where I am at is being a mother and obviously being a female. So I do Christian music but I do all different types of events. But I think being a Christian female and Asian in hip-hop is like an anomaly and people will look at it like “oh that’s inspiring” but also kind of limits you. People won’t take you seriously, they may think twice and you don’t get booked for as many shows. [And] having kids physically limits you because there is only so much I can do with them. But not saying they’re a problem, but it’s just as harder.
Q: Are there any K-Pop or K-Hip-Hop artists that you would like to collaborate with?
A: After I did Show Me The Money, I talked a lot with with Junoflo. He’s a really cool guy and I would love to do something with him. I really want to do something with Tiger JK. I was hoping to get on his team but I didn’t get that far. There is a couple! I think that If I reached out to them it could probably happen.
Q: Aside from from K-Pop/Korean Hip-Hop artists, are there any other artists that you would like to collaborate with?
A: I’ve always said that I’ve wanted to connect with the female hip-hop artists like Nicki Minaj even Cardi B. But my all time favorite is Lauryn Hill but I don’t know if she still is doing anything now. I would really just love to connect with the female artists just because we are female but our messages are so different [but] I think it would be unique and different to see what we would have to say on the same track. Maybe one day!
Q: This is not your first KCON, but what are you thoughts on KCON and how huge of a phenomenon it has become?
A: I think it’s amazing. I’m new to the Korean scene even though I’m Korean. I never really did this but now recently I have but still coming to KCON and doing Show Me The Money it’s like, I don’t get it. I don’t get how non-Koreans are so involved with it. It’s amazing and I love it but I don’t get it. For me, I’m Korean and I’m starting to like it more because I’m in it now. Never in a million years did I think that it would be this explosive.
Q: What are your thoughts on how K-Pop is becoming more of a mainstream music genre here in the US? With artists like Wonder Girls, Girls’ Generation, and most recently BTS, making their way into the American, marketing, can we see more groups and artists in K-Pop doing the same?
A: I watched BTS on Billboard and the AMAs and I recorded it on my phone. It’s amazing and they were towards the end of the show. The place went nuts! I think that as a Korean, it’s very prideful to see somebody of your race doing it in the American music industry. Even though our music is so different, because they’re K-Pop and I’m hip-hop, I think they are paving the way for Koreans/Korean-Americans to be more accepted.
Q: For the aspiring musicians and producers out there, what is some advice that you can give to those who are wanting to pursue a career in this field?
A: I keep mentioning this but during Show Me The Money, there are these young rappers that are so in love with the spotlight and wanting to make it big off a TV show. I want to instill some of the knowledge that I know, that it’s really not like you get on stage and you become a famous person. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a lot of dedication and grinding. I’ve been doing this for so long and I just hope that they know that they’re doing it for the right reason and it’s not to become a celebrity. You do it because you love it and that you want to make a difference.
Q: Last question, are there any updates, information, or future plans that you would like to tell readers to look forward to in the coming future?
A: I’m coming out with an album soon. In the fall, around October. I don’t have a name or setlist for it [yet] but I’m working on it! There will be a lot of music videos following it. I will also be at KCON LA this year.
Be sure to follow Heesun on her social channels and check out her latest release!