“Yo, it’s King Kwong and Hwangalongchong. We’re so cool we made an awesome song,” were the first lines in our video that launched a (very-semi) professional rapping career consisting of three ingredients: creativity, fun and swag.
Back in October my friend and I were the announcers for my church’s youth group and I thought it would be hilarious to rap the announcements. So we started writing bits of lyrics and rapping them in front of our youth group, using the stage names of King Kwong for my buddy and Hwangalongchong for me. People were interested because it was fresh and new and it appealed to those who listen to rap. In our church’s history, no one had ever tried rapping the news. However, we didn’t get our inspiration to rap from professional rappers. In fact, my friend and I do not even listen to rap. The real motivation to match rhymes with beats came from my sister and her friend because they too did all sorts of silly things to bring up the group’s energy during announcements, although they never tried rapping. During our little performance, I couldn’t help laughing. At one moment I was laughing so much I ended up falling to my knees, gasping for breath for about thirty seconds.
That same fateful day we made a video of us rapping for our friend’s upcoming birthday. When we posted it on our youth group’s Facebook wall, we got a lot of comments. And thus began our tradition of birthday rap videos.
We create our lyrics based on cool traits the person has and our birthday wishes for them such as “I’m a boy scout you better watch out! I make wallets out of duct tape into any cool shape. I’m the president and you know what I meant. I like the Domo backpack and the Totoro keychain. I’m so smart, I’m on top of the charts!” Occasionally we add in a couple of teasing remarks and messages to mess around with them.
When we performed at our youth group’s talent show in December, we decided to call ourselves Hot Sauce. We entered because we wanted to lighten the competitive mood and bring more laughter to the audience (and of course, ourselves). We did not beat box but invented the infamous ‘Radance,’ a fusion of rap and dance. Radance is a fun, easy-going way to enhance lyrics: as we state in one line of our witty poem, we add a small motion to act out the idea. From then on, we just go with the flow. Surprisingly we won third place in the talent show because as the Hot Sauce slogan states, “We’re hawt and spicay!”
Usually we do not radance but rather accompany ourselves with self-taught beat boxing. Whenever we’re filming or performing our raps, I end up cracking up, my laughter provoked by my friend’s hilarious imitation of beat boxing. This is why my friend and I switch off our roles of beat boxing and rapping. Although I giggle at my creative lyrics, I thoroughly enjoy rhyming poetically: “We’re leavin’ the hood to go to Jamba Juice. We’re havin’ a blast so give us a boost. Look at this pine tree, it’s lookin’ so free, now, that’s just happy King Kwong and me,” I am clumsy with my rhythm so whenever I try to “make the beat” I spit out the phrase “boots-in-cats” to channel the sound of beat-boxing. However, nothing can compete with my friend’s sense of a beat.
I enjoy making these videos although I sometimes find myself thinking how peculiar it is for me, a studious girl who seems quiet. But then I remind myself how it doesn’t matter what others think — I’ve found a hobby I like. Although I have no intention of becoming the new Mickey Cho (despite the fact that I have no doubt that I have the skills for it), I know getting down with my buddy is a memory I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
Through this wacky way of having fun, I “de-stress” myself from the weekly overload of schoolwork. My friend and I like it because it’s so much fun to see others laughing at our lame lyrics and loud performances as we rock back and forth on the stage. It takes a lot of chin rubbing, head-scratching and paper to think of ingenious lines every month, but we manage to pull out a couple of humorous lyrics with the help of our friend combining our ideas to create: “With hearts of Jesus CHRIST on a dark starry NIGHT, we walk by faith and not by sight!” Our circle of friends is an inspiration to Hot Sauce because of each one’s random remarks and funny ways of expressing their own creativity — weirdness I mean! Because of their support, my friend and I don’t really mind humiliating ourselves as we pull the light purple camera from its black case to start filming another hilarious rap.
Like Hwangalongchong and King Kwong say whenever they walk off the stage with “spicayness” lingering in the air, I sign off with “Palabra and Adios!”
A version of this article first appeared in the Feb. 24, 2012 print edition of The Lowell.