Crystal Kay and Yoon Mi Rae Make It To America with A Little Help From The Far East Movement

2.6.12 ShaSha LaPerf 12 Comments



Image from Jpop Asia

So a little while ago I mentioned that Crystal Kay would be collaborating with The Far East Movement. The collaboration would mark yet another mainstream album release for FEM while being an international debut for Crystal Kay.



But the news gets even more interesting. Apparently FEM will also team up Korean rapper/R&B artist Yoon Mi Rae as well. I've briefly mentioned that Yoon Mi Rae is blasian (like Crystal Kay she is Korean and black) and also went under the names Tasha Reid, T, and baby t. She's also married to Tiger JK, a member of the long-time Korean hip-hop group Drunken Tiger. In fact it was Tiger JK that made the announcement about Yoon Mi Rae and FEM working together. This will potentially mark her own US debut.

Image from Kpopstarz
The details about the work between Yoon Mi Rae and FEM are still vague right now, so I'll focus mostly on CK and FEM here.

So y'all know that I'm not really a fan of FEM's music. Honestly I'm also not feeling the song they did with Crystal Kay. That being said, FEM is a fascinating group to me. They've done very well for themselves on the mainstream market teaming up with big names like Snoop Doog and Justin Beiber. And I now commend them for bringing along CK and YMR, two artsists who may be popular in their home countries but not in the US. These collaborations could give them both the boost they need into the mainstream American market.

So there are some other cool things happening with these collaborations. Both Japan and Korea have artists that are itching to get into the US market. Damn near everyday I'm hearing about some K-Pop group trying to find a name for themselves in the American market. Okay, Japan isn't as interested in hitting big into the states,but many have tried, including Utada Hikaru, and of course Kubota Toshi. And collaboration with an already popular artists is a good way to go. It's worked for many people like Bruno Mars and Jay Sean. So of course it would make sense for an artist from Asia to do the same thing.

However FEM isn't just collaborating with a Japanese artist and a Korean one...they are collaborating with the only well-known blasian artists in both countries. Yes I'm aware of other blsian artists as I have written about them before, but these two are the ones planning to make a US debut. I haven't seen too many details about why CK and YMR were chosen over say 2NE1, who is also supposed to make an entrances into the US market (though apparently they will be working with will.i.am.). Perhaps it's just easier to work with a solo artists than another group? But it's still an interesting coincidence. To some extent, it really just reinforces the fact that FEM are pretty comfortable with black women (well in this case blasian women). FEM seems to do a good job with their depictions of black women--women of color period for that matter--from showing us as a love interest to fun-loving partying goers. And like the prominent appearance of Rye Rye in their song/video for "Jello" we're going to see women of color as artists.

So far the video for "Where The Wild Things Are," has not been completed, but FEM has posted a short video preview. Let's take a look:




It looks like Crystal Kay is only singing the chorus yet seems to get a fair amount of screen time in the video here. She's with the guys being cute and flirty in some scenes and breaking out dance moves in other scenes. Either way she tends to be front and center, just in this short clip. I'll posted the full video once it's out.

There's another cool thing happening here. This isn't the first time FEM has collaborated with artists from Asian. They also worked with Koda Kumi for the song "Make It Bump" in 2011:




Despite the fact that Koda Kumi is one of the most popular female Japanese artists, on this song, she's relegated to a few lines, no video, and the song itself being listed only on the Japanese release of the album. However with "Where The Wild Things Are," we get CK doing a bit more with the chorus, she's plastered all over the video and the song itself is not just for a Japanese release; it's actually the third song on the track listing. This for sure will get her voice to some ears outside of Japan.

Now this doesn't mean that just working with FEM will really help CK and YMR. Although I want to see it happen, they have a lot of challenges on their own. CK's music is generally pop/R&B lite and there are many other artists other their like her on the charts from Kelly Rowland to Beyonce to Rihanna. There have been other blasian female artists before her like Amerie, though not many who were actually born and raised in an Asian country. The record company would have to push hard to get her out their, hopefully getting her some other great collaboration work. It's probably a similar situation for YMR, but people may see her as too "old" for a debut. Plus YMR is a good rapper, but the American market isn't so kind to female rappers the way it was about 10-15 years ago. Though I would die if she (or Crystal Kay) got to work with Missy Elliot.

But this is just speculation. Hell we still don't even know what the YMR/FEM collaboration will sound like! 

Update: Thanks for Myra and Meanie mentioning this! It seems that YMR was featured on a remix of FEM's "Live My Life" with Justin Bieber. Take a listen:



I'm still excited to here about the collaboration between these artists and hope that with the help of FEM, both CK and YMR can ease into the mainstream American market. Only time will tell.

12 comments:

  1. First of all, I'm sorry to hear about your uncle's passing. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

    Far as Tasha, this girl should have been discovered a long while back.

    Really, she has a great voice. I looked at her clip singing " Black Happiness" in person. Geez! I thought that was Queen Latifah doing( She's also an awesome singer/rapper and jazz artist). She's quality.

    I can picture Crystal Kay in something also. Though I wouldn't want to compare her to Beyonce, if she were to be discovered I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to put her into the pop category alongside with her.

    I'm concerned for Tasha. She's 31. In the natural, this isn't old,but in the entertainment, it may be. most singers/rapper I see coming up are teenagers and maybe at the latest 28. They may put Tasha in that light.Another thing about Tasha is that she does clean rap. Music industries tend to give what the people want. Unfortunately, what they want are pop artists who can barely sing, or nasty music.

    Crystal up in age,but she has a greater chance of breaking through. I thought about Drake. Though he's been rapping/acting for a while, he's broke to stardom kind of late 26..the same age as Crystal. Right now, she is the right track far as the kind of music the people may want. Far as Crystal,it's a matter of her finding the right recent producers to bring out the best in her. It would also be helpful if she wrote her own music.

    Like you, I'm not a deep fan of FEM,but if they want to help put Tasha and Crystal on the international map, that's alright. FEM is famous,but I would love for them to become more famous so that these women will be better represented. If they don't make it in the music industry, it would be nice if a Jennifer Hudson moment come to them.not weight loss commercials,but maybe in acting. That would be nice.

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    1. Thanks for the condolences. :)

      When I heard about Tasha finally trying to make it in the US I immediately thought about her age as well. It always seem to me that she was ripe for the US market and not just because of her mixed background. Compared to many of other K-pop artists, I think her style was a good blend of American and Korean music. Vocally she's strong her rap is on point. But as you mentioned 31 is late to get into the game. Tasha reminded me A LOT of the Japanese singer/rapper AI as I also though she would be a perfect choice for releasing in the US--though she doesn't seem to have plans to do so. And now I'm thinking if AI were to hit American she was also be seen as "old." Earlier I mentioned Tasha or CK working with Missy Elliot, but I think for Tasha getting together with someone like Monica or Mary J Blige would be awesome, probably fit into her style and give her a good boost into the market.

      I think CK would have a better chance because she has more pop appeal and is a bit on the younger side. I think she's probably more versatile than T. Funny you mentioned Drake because I could see the two of them working together even though I'm not a big Drake fan either.

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    2. There's not much love out there for female MC's period. Whether an artists is singing clean lyrics or dirty.I agree with M. I think CK has better chance at breaking through.

      For Hip-Hop 31 is ancient. For a man? That's another story.I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

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  2. FM are under labels, Instrerscope (US) and Delicious Deli (Universal music Japan), same Japanese label as Crystal Kay. This is probably why she got this chance to do this featuring and video.
    Don't forget Cassie's feat on the album Dirty Bass too, she's half Asian, though not blasian. She's under Interscope as well.

    I heard the news about YMR on her twitter, that's awesome. I've also read that she did had offers from American artists in the past but turned them down, perhaps she didn't want to harm her family (husband and son) at the time, maybe a time when Tiger was sick (he really was) or her wanting a baby? Anyway, she seems ready now and I'm wishing her the best.

    I agree with M on age in entertainment, CK is kinda late, and she debuted at 13 in Japan! It's a pity, since she's not that popular nor has regular big sales in Japan. All I can say is that the girl WANTS to perform overseas, she's been saying that for years, she just doesn't have interesting opportunities. I hope her new label will help her now. Hopefully some rappers like Snoop will notice her.

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    1. Thanks for the label info, it makes sense. LOL totally forgot about Cassie, you're right she is listed on the album. Yet another point for FEM!

      I know Crystal Kay released an English album of her songs, but I can't remember if it was an international release or not. I also wonder if Utada and BoA's recent failed attempts at breaking into the market made other companies nervous about trying again?

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    2. No, it wasn't an international release, it was only released in Japan. Source here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural:_World_Premiere_Album

      I think so, the label companies are not eager to invest a lot of money on US debuts when their artists can make more money instantly in Japan as they're already well-known in their own country. Moreover, Japanese labels are not much into debuting in the US as South Koreans. And when they do, they pick one of their best seller singer...which is not really the case for CK sadly, though I think her sales are steady, just not often big nor very big. As for YMR, I don't know, I highly doubt her label has enough money to support her US debut by themselves. She'd have to rely on a collaboration. By the way, it has been revealed on a TV interview (Singapour) that she will sing on a remix of Live my Life (the one with Bieber) on the next FM's album. Just one song, yeah, she said. And not a new one, hopefully they'll change their minds meanwhile... Source here:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jgrVT-o3zwM

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    3. Well, I've just checked her album sales now, my bad lol I always thought that her only big sales were like 3 albums but her albums have solid sales as a whole, with a couple of flops. She's no Namie though, yeah.

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    4. I think CK's new album is generating some buzz but her singles are still only doing okay in sales, not the greatest. I think her ballads tend to do better than her upbeat music, and she hasn't released a lot of ballads lately. Hopefully she'll do well wit the new album.

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  3. Oh this is good stuff! FEM really puts their money where their mouth is. I can't wait to take a listen.

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  4. Hey ShaSha

    The remix came out (Far East Movement - Live My Life remix feat. Justin Bieber, Tasha & TigerJK)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=WPmOicnzw1M

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  5. Meanie and Myra, thanks for the info about the remix, I added it to the blog post!

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  6. I've heard about Crystal Kay, but I haven't listened to her music nor do I know much about her, so my opinion may be a bit biased. This part however is not - I liked the collab with Tasha better. I just don't dig the song that they did with CK, but maybe I might like it more when the full music video comes out?! Hard to say, but as of now I enjoy Live My Life.
    I really hope that Tasha does come out with a full album in the states. Although, as you said, there are not many female rappers out (and the ones who are, don't really catch my eye), I believe Tasha will be a breath of fresh air. She's not only a rapper, but a singer as well. I really pray that this year will we will get to hear a new (hopefully English) album from her!

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