‘Unpretty Rapstars 2’ Producers Say That This Season will remain PG-13

kpopluv, Sept. 8, 2015, 8:06 a.m.

Unpretty Rapstar 2" producers said Tuesday there will be less explicit content in the upcoming female rap competition program after the first season got cancelled for airing swear words and obscene lyrics. The pilot episode will air Friday night on the cable channel Mnet. The cast has been expanded to 11 contestants from nine in the previous season, which concluded its two-month run in March after the Korea Communications Standards Commission flagged it as inappropriate.

Season 2 contenders also come from various backgrounds, with three of them -- Hyolyn, Yubin and Yezi -- part of girl groups Sistar, Wonder Girls and Fiestar, respectively. The rest include mid-tier and underground artists as well as a rookie rapper with no stage experience. The series is an all-female spin-off of audition show "Show Me the Money," which ended its fourth season last month.

"The cast knows of the controversy and I don't think any of them are trying too hard like the season 1 contestants did," producer Ko Ik-jo told reporters at a press conference. "When we first created 'Show Me the Money,' we found the explicit lyrics refreshing, but now we're trying to tone it down so that anyone can watch without being offended." "Unpretty Rapstar" and "Show Me the Money" have regularly drawn flak for broadcasting scandalous content.

Last month, Mino of the existing boy band Winner issued an apology to gynecologists after they found the lyrics of the rap he showcased on "Show Me the Money 4" insulting. The verse in question goes: "Mino targets all the daughters, spread (your legs) like you're at the gynecologist." Producers also denied giving preferential treatment to girl group members in casting.

"The purpose of our program isn't to discover raw talent but to show the audience that there are many genres even within the female rap community," Han Dong-cheol, director of Mnet, said. "On the contrary, I actually think excluding idol group members because they're already famous is discriminatory." Hyolyn of Sistar said she decided to participate because of her hidden passion for rap.

"It's something I've always wanted to try and loved," she said. "So I decided to take on this challenge even if I have more to lose than gain." This isn't Hyolyn's first reality show appearance. She has previously competed in another music survival show, "I Am a Singer" on the terrestrial network MBC. But Hyolyn called the atmosphere of the "Unpretty Rapstar 2" set "uncannier."

"The format and atmosphere is definitely uncannier (than "I Am a Singer")," she said. "I'm trying to get used to it quickly. It allows me to be more genuine and tell my story as is." Yubin of Wonder Girls had a simpler motivation: she's the only member who hasn't appeared on shows by herself. "Yenny and Sunmi told me I've spent too much time being 'Yubin of Wonder Girls,' instead of myself," she said. "They encouraged me to build my own career so that's why I'm here."

Other cast member highlights include Kasper, an Amherst College graduate and former contestant on "Show Me the Money 4." When the question of whether rap battles should be considered a legitimate part of hip-hop or just a cult phenomenon, Kasper questioned the debate itself.

"I consider myself a huge fan of hip-hop and I think hip-hop inherently has a belligerent character," she said. "It's like a sport. Many hip-hop fans acknowledge it. I don't understand why people look down on rap battles." Much of the press conference discussed whether lewd acts and vulgar lyrics on stage should be accepted, with producers cautioning viewers against taking the show too seriously.

"I think giving a disproportionate amount of attention to controversial lyrics is the problem," Han said. "Just like we express our thoughts in speech and writing, hip-hop artists do so with their characteristic wit and authenticity. Of course, if things get too real, they turn aggressive, but I think viewers shouldn't take the lyrics too seriously."

Producer Ko echoed the view, saying that above all, the show aims to document the progress each contestant makes toward achieving her respective goal. "Our goal is to record the passion with which they compete," Ko said. "We hope to successfully convey what we felt on the set to the viewers."

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