To say that legendary Korean rappers Bizzy, Tiger JK and Yoonmirae have been around for a long time is an understatement. From the early 2010’s, the trio officially dubbed themselves MFBTY, which stands for ‘My Fans (are) Better Than Yours.’ What started as a joke has become a legacy for the de-facto family of three and their ever-expanding label, Feel Ghood Music (FGM).
Big Top Sydney Luna Park is usually home to Korean-Pop concerts of a younger age group. Hordes of fans between 12 and 20 years old have previously flocked for groups like GOT7, Seventeen and iKon.
However, on a Sunday evening, an older and more mature crowd of Korean 30-somethings casually and gracefully strolled into the venue. These were experienced fans, veterans of music that were here for one reason only: MFBTY. On second thought… Make that three reasons.
Pre-show, Feel Ghood Music’s accompanying DJ hyped the crowd with sneak previews of songs to come including ‘Buckubucku’ (부끄부끄) and a sneaky mashup of Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ with Drake.
MFBTY’s core line-up arrived to the stage like a list of students being called out during graduation. First came out Bizzy with a classic track to warm up the crowd, subsequently followed by Tiger JK and Yoonmirae.
To kick off, the trio greeted Sydney and Tiger JK introduced himself as Drunken Tiger, Tiger JK and most importantly, Yoonmirae’s “manager.” For those of you that don’t know, Tiger and Yoonmirae have been an iconic power couple for years.
As for the set list, MFBTY wasted no time jumping in between songs and short ad-lib periods, hyping the crowd up to jump and clap. They even coached non-Korean speakers on ways to chant during each upcoming song, attempting to accommodate both leagues of fans.
One of MFBTY’s 2015 classics was ‘Angel,’ where the crowd moved and swayed to the trio’s waving hands.
“We wanted to come down here for fifteen years, Sydney,” the trio screamed out.
However, MFBTY’s first time in Sydney was not without its problems due to technical errors and occasional nervousness. It seemed that the set list was forgotten or misread as the song that came out was not what a member expected sometimes. Moreover, Tiger JK would improvise to the sudden bewilderment of the people around him as Yoonmirae nervously laughed in the background of his antics.
Nevertheless, for any mistake or nervousness, the trio paid us back 10-fold with undeniable skills that truly cement them as masters of their craft. Seeing how far Korean hip-hop has come in the last five or ten years, it’s easy to forget how influential these three rappers were in bringing hip-hop to Korea.
Unexpectedly and much to the confusion of Yoonmirae’s Korean fans, she performed a cover of Lauryn Hill’s ‘Doo Wop (That Thing). The nostalgia erupted from my body but it seemed that everyone else was just a little bit confused about Yoonmirae covering the classic American hip-hop track.
Yoonmirae took the time to address something very important to her: racism. “As a half-black, half-Korean woman I believe that music is universal so even if you don’t understand the words of the song, feel the music and we can connect together.”
Bizzy then encouraged the audience to dance together, even if we were strangers because we would “never see them again anyway.”
The trio then started to introduce the latest part of their family, Junoflo, a young rapper fresh off Show Me The Money.
He launched onto stage with ‘You And Me’, a duo with Yoonmirae, locking arms and hugging each of his members as he made his way through the stage.
Junoflo saw MFBTY as his mentors, a real “family” and thanked Sydney for giving him a warm welcome. Among his songs, he performed crowd favourites like ‘Revenue’, ‘Undercover’ and ‘Real Ones.’
The biggest track of the night was undeniably ‘Life Is Gamble’, a song featuring Junoflo that he released while on Show Me The Money. As soon as the song began, the crowd erupted and people jumped wildly for the first (and only) time, bringing true hype to Luna Park that I hadn’t seen before. Junoflo humbly laughed at the end of the song and told us he hadn’t seen a response like that before for that song.
Junoflo couldn’t help speaking casually to his mentors, saying “Do you know what MFBTY really stands for? It ain’t my fans better than yours. It means motherf***ing Bizzy, Tiger and Yoonmirae!”
In between tracks, Tiger JK talked about how honoured he was to be in sydney.
“I’m lucky. I’m real lucky mother***ers,” Tiger JK said.
The biggest difference between younger fans and older fans is the kind of love older fans have for MFBTY. These are fans that have been listening to these legends as soloists and as a group for over 10 years. One fan couldn’t stop saying how pretty Yoonmirae is in Korean and Bizzy responding in Korean “Damn right, she is.”
As a climax the trio performed Bang Diggy Bang Bang and encouraged everyone to get down on the floor before exploding into the chorus.
Although MFBTY is officially a trio, Junoflo truly seemed like one of them. Everybody supported each other through each song. It didn’t matter if Junoflo wasn’t in that particular song or if MFBTY wasn’t in Show Me The Money, because as skilled rappers they free-styled their way into an experience that felt truly immersive. Before that night, I had never seen collaboration on such a scale. I truly wish they actually had collaborated on all of those songs!
Finally, Tiger JK wrapped up by giving the audience a few leaked songs off of his upcoming tenth album. With the uproar response to his first track, he couldn’t help himself but beg the DJ to show us some more.
Ultimately, MFBTY and Junoflo’s first time in Sydney felt like their tenth time. They were comfortable on stage and spat our words like peace, love, connectedness and truly meant every word of it. Their skills speak for themselves and I can easily say that I discovered a few new songs to listen to on the way home. The fans knew that since it had taken fifteen years for the trio to come for the first time, who knows how long they would have to wait again. And so they cheered and chanted and danced to show just how much this meant to them.
MFBTY Wondaland feat. Junoflo was brought to you by JK Entertainment and Feel Ghood Music at Big Top Luna Park. The event was held in Sydney, Australia.