Music Of The People

Kim Jong-il in Team America

RetroJim and I got into a minor tangent the other day regarding the lack of modern “The True Tale of —” songs. The last one Jim could recall was The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, which sounded about right to me as it came at the tail end of the ’60s folk revival.

That got me thinking about rap, however, as it strikes me as the only current venue that is supposedly telling true tales of the downtrodden – so, obviously, rap is the new folk music.

That’s when I encountered this CNN article:

“Mok Nah No Sah”

That’s a Korean acronym for “people who put up their lives to sing.” And that’s a new underground rap group in South Korea that’s blasting North Korea and the regime of Kim Jong-Il.

The group’s lyrics include cursing and abusive language against the North Korean leader and his youngest son, who’s been tapped to take over the reins of leadership from his reclusive father.

(Apparently acronym means something different in Korean.)

These folks are literally risking their lives to take up a worthy political cause in the form of art, and that takes gumption. Sure, they’re in South, and not North, Korea, but Kim Jong-il has always been happy to reach out across international lines as he pleases.

A reminder from the wikipedia:

In 1978, on Kim’s orders, South Korean film director Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife Choi Eun-hee were kidnapped in order to build a North Korean film industry.

The group have taken precautions though, and not in the usual “tucking a pistol in their pants” method that we might see here in North America.

“We haven’t received any threats, but it’s true that we’re scared,” the rap group’s leader, who goes by the pseudonym Michelangelo, told Yonhap. “If our faces are known, I think North Korea could attack us.”

This is where, for me at least, the questions began.


For now, all members of the group have taken on names from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, but their message remains serious.

Ruh-roh, I’ve seen how this rapping & ninja turtle game ends, and it doesn’t involve anyone having a continuing career.