Monsta X is the very first KPop group I saw live. I had the pleasure of seeing them at iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball in 2018. They essentially popped my KPop cherry, LMAO. I was already a fan and didn’t even know they were going to perform. From that one 5 minute performance of Shoot Out I became a Monbebe. From that point that stared my quest to go to as many KPop concerts as I could afford. So Monsta X holds a very special place in my heart. That’s why what has occurred this last past week make me a little upset and here’s why!
Who Is Monsta X
First off, for those that don’t know, Monsta X is a 7 member KPop group that debuted in 2015 and has slowly climbed the ladder to pop stardom. They have had such hits as Shoot Out, Jealousy, Alligator and Dramarama climb the charts in Korea and throughout Asia. They started to really come onto the scene in North America in 2018 when they were the first KPop group to perform on iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball tour of concerts. Soon after that, they announced their first North American tour to start in the summer of 2019. Most recently they signed with American label Epic Records for their English and worldwide releases. Plus they have been nominated in the very controversial (i’ll explain in another post) first ever KPop category at the 2019 MTV VMA awards.
We Are Here Tour
I finally got the chance to see them in full concert during their We Are Here tour stop in NYC. Boy let me tell you, they did not disappoint! Shownu, Wonho, Kihyun, Joonheon, Minhyuk, Hyungwon and I.M. sang, danced and thirst trapped (Yes, you Wonho) from beginning to end. Wonho and Shownu graced us with a dance duet that almost set the stage on fire with a very sexy and sensual number. Joonheon and I.M. did what they do best and came on stage strong with a rap number that included a solo drum brake by Joonheon. Then Hyungwon transformed as DJ H.One and turned the Hulu Theater at MSG into a full on EDM rave when he came out and DJ’ed a 5 minute set that had everyone jumping. Of course they also performed their latest hit Who Do You Love minus French Montana’s rap portion, which to be honest, was not missed.
At the very end each member spoke about what the night meant to them. They spoke about first performing in NYC at Jungle Ball in 2018, but that this time it was all them and how proud they were of themselves but so thankful to Monbebe’s for getting them this far. The most emotional and poignant moment came from I.M. In perfect English, he spoke on the rise of KPop in the west and how many criticize English speaking audiences about supporting Korean entertainers when they can’t even speak or understand the language. I.M. so passionately said that music was the common language we all speak and through that is how we all connect. That they would continue to do their best for Monbebes because of our support and they would not let us down as fans. Until one day we can make the doubters SHUT UP! I’m not sure if he even planned to say all that he did. I.M.’s speech even caught his members off guard. Needless to say the theater erupted in screams and cheers. This Monbebe had an absolute awesome night that I will never forget. (Here’s a clip of their end-ments posted by Angie Reacts https://youtu.be/fLJAjp9sOCc)
Monbebe is Monsta X fandom name ( MONBEBE is a combination of two words; “mon” & “bebe“.The word “mon” means ‘my’ & “bebe” means ‘baby‘). Fandoms are important in the world of KPop. They recognize that the relationship with their fans can make or break their careers, increase concert sales, and drive album support. Monsta X, like most all groups give the upmost respect to their fans and always strive to give them 110% at all times. They strive to make every song, album, music video and stage performance perfect as appreciation for the support. This would include giving English speaking Monbebe’s an all English song only released in North America called Who Do You Love ft. French Montana. They always give us their best and we expect anyone working with them to do the same.
Ughhhh…… French Montana
Collaborations with Western artist is nothing new in KPop and becoming increasingly popular. Artist such as BlackPink, BTS, NCT 127, G-Dragon, 2NE1 have collaborated with Nicki Minaj, Dua Lipa and Steve Aoki. So when it was announced that Monsta X would collab with French Montana on an all English song, Monbebe and KPop fans alike were thrilled and waited in anticipation. Who Do You Love is a really nice Pop/R&B song that is right up Monsta X alley of the songs they have done in the past. The 27 second rap verse provided by French Montana is a nice touch, however many feel he doesn’t give a lot to the song and that either Joonheon or I.M. could have done the verse with their already established rap skills.
With their North American tour, they had a number of opportunities to perform for mainstream media outlets like Good Morning America. During their stop in L.A. for the end of their tour they performed for Jimmy Kimmel’s Mercedes-Benz concert series. They performed their hits Dramarama and Shoot Out. Of course Monsta X also performed their latest single and had French Montana there to be apart of the show. Turned out to be the biggest cluster fuck of Monsta X career thus far. As usual the boys performed impeccably up until French came on to do his 27 seconds.
French came on stage looking lost, as if he wasn’t even sure about his placement on the stage. He skipped over some of his lyrics or just plain ole forgot them. His timing was off when he did remember the lyrics, almost like he was just hearing the song for the first time. He appeared to be a bit intoxicated or “out of it” in some way. The guys were visibly aware of the issues with French Montana’s performance and tried their best to cover it up and play along with the craziness. After French shuffle two-stepped his ass off the the stage Monsta X carried on with a flawless performance.
If you want to see the Jimmy Kimmel performance click on the link https://youtu.be/umvIZMI6hSA
Why Monbebes Are Upset
Performances like Jimmy Kimmel and Good Morning America are an important and crucial way to not only promote Monsta X to non-KPop fans in the United States but to showcase the hard work and talent that goes into their performances. A Korean Idol group can train anywhere from 2-5 years before they even debut. Even then, they are not guaranteed to be able to perform on some of the top rated entertainment program showcases. When they are invited on a showcase it is a sense of pride and accomplishment and not taken for granted.
So for Monsta X to be able to perform in the U.S. on national television holds a lot of weight. It’s also a sense of pride for U.S. fans (Monbebe) to be able to see their favorite group perform nationally televised show and not via YouTube. It’s especially important for fans who may not have been able to purchase a ticket or go to one of their shows. Now your excitement and pride gets tainted by a half ass and luke warm performance not by your idol but by the American artist that they have to perform with. Possibly putting a negative shadow on the careers of artist that are still trying to earn mainstream respected in North America.
What Did I Learn
I learned that the years of hard work that Korean artist put in is for a reason. There is an enormous amount of pride that goes into each performance, whether that’s an album recording, a music video, a showcase performance or a concert. They spend hours, days and weeks on one performance and it shows. This amount of preparation is not only for performances but also for interviews and fan meets. It’s very much reminiscent of what Motown did in the 60’s and 70’s with their artist. Hours of practice and rehearsal, not just for performances but for being interviewed and how to carry yourself in public. Especially with the media and on camera.
Some of the artist in North American could learn a few things from the “Idol” system. Although not perfect and has it’s share of controversies, it shows that the opportunity is not taken for granted. That just as fast as you came on the scene you can be gone. That each and every performance could be your last, so make it count.
Until next time….