It’s well-known that South Korea has super-strict marijuana laws. Artists like G-Dragon and T.O.P faced the possibility of jail time for not much more than looking at a funny-smelling cigarette the wrong way from across a room, whereas other Korean artists like E Sens and DMTN’s Daniel who didn’t have powerful agencies to fight for them found themselves punished heavily for fairly minor drug-related activity. With all this harsh action against drug-takers, as well as the huge social stigma against marijuana users created by Korea’s old dumb-ass dictatorship that people oddly still subscribe to the ideals of, how is Skull even a thing in South Korea? Does he smoke weed, and if so, how is he getting away with it so openly when nobody else in South Korea does? Welcome to another edition of Kpopalypse’s Mysteries of K-pop!
This question comes in two parts. Firstly, does Skull actually smoke weed?
Well, he certainly claims to smoke it in his songs. He advises that he “still loves kush” at 0:52 in “Killa Dreads” with a corresponding smoking gesture so you know exactly what he means.
In “Get Rich” with Sizzla, at 1:50 he recommends that you “wine it up” and “light it up”, but the chorus also says “live clean, get rich”, so who knows what the fuck he’s actually talking about. I’m not even sure that he knows himself – he’s carrying a wine bottle all the way throughout the video so I guess he wasn’t too sober when he wrote it and the overall message that getting bent is fun is fairly clear.
In “Ooh Baby” at 1:02 he even suggests branching out into magic mushrooms. There seems to be a pro-drug reference in almost every song from Skull that isn’t a ballad or a softer song. However just like most rappers don’t actually rob people, there’s got to be some reggae dudes out there that don’t do drugs, right?
At 0:48 during “Deh Pon Top” Skull says “pass the blunt”, and at 1:57 he ups the ante and lights up a cigarette that is censored. It’s implied via video editing that this is a roll-up marijuana cigarette just like the one seen being created a few seconds earlier in the video, but it’s blurred just enough that we can’t tell for sure if he’s actually sparking up a joint or refilling the detergent in his My Little Pony bubble-blower. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that given that the video appears to be shot in Jamaica in this instance (and thus he has little to worry about from Korea law enforcement by taping this), he probably is smoking weed here.
So that settles that – the dude is most likely getting high as shit. So why aren’t the Korean police breaking down his door daily to stop him having so much fun in life? How has Skull completely remained out of all marijuana scandals, while everyone else except him gets a rap on the knuckles?
My first stop was the repository of trufax, Wikipedia.
All Wikipedia had to say was that Skull was in a group called “Stony Skunk”, and also did a lot of songs with HaHa. I definitely didn’t get my $3 per month worth out of that article.
I already knew about Skull and HaHa writing every Korean reggae song ever together, but I had never heard of “Stony Skunk” before so I thought I’d look them up.
The musical material wasn’t that surprising, but what was more surprising was what was at the bottom of each video:
Skull’s old group “Stony Skunk” was put out by none other than that current den of k-pop marijuana scandals, YG Entertainment! That certainly explains where Skull might be getting his supply from, but it doesn’t explain how Skull has managed to avoid the same fate as T.O.P who is on the same label that he was on, in fact his evasion of attention now made even less sense than before. However something else struck me as even more odd than this – why were comments disabled on all the Stony Skunk videos? YG Entertainment doesn’t usually disable comments on any of their content at all. Are they afraid of something? I wondered if maybe there was a clue here. GenerAsia wiki had more:
Ah, the other member of Stony Skunk was Kush, the YG rapper who not only named himself after drugs but got busted for cocaine recently. That might explain the locked-off comments, especially given that the obvious drug reference in the group name may have allowed people to easily hold them up to ridicule. But it still didn’t answer the question. If even Skull’s ex-groupmate isn’t immune to being busted for evil naughty drugs, surely Skull himself should have also fallen under the radar of
anti-fun law enforcement?
During my research travels filled with more dead ends than Skull’s dreadlocks, I observed that Skull certainly caught the ire of those other anti-fun police, the po-faced PC Nazis at Seoulbeats. Their written-while-taking-a-shit article about Skull is so incredibly bad that Seoulbeats themselves seem embarrassed by it, crediting the writing to a “guest” presumably because nobody at that website dared to even put their name to this trash (or perhaps the author was booted from the Seoulbeats roster after writing this for sucking too much at writing – a terrifying thought). The top comments on their article about Skull’s “appropriation” are definitely worth a read however, being from actual Jamaicans all saying that they’re not bothered by the supposed “appropriation” at all, and also correcting several factual errors in the Seoulbeats article. These Jamaicans obviously knew their shit when it came to Skull, but how did they even know that this article existed? Why would they even know or care about him enough to stan for him when they have their own reggae artists?
The answer might be in this travelogue-style music video (where Skull interestingly shouts out to both YG and Kush). Skull seems to go to Jamaica a whole lot, and he seems to have quite a bit of media traction there. The Jamaican Gleaner (a website established in 1834!) writes about Skull on a regular basis even if they sometimes get the picture captions wrong, and many of Skull’s music videos are obviously Jamaican shot and featuring Jamaican reggae artists.
Then it occurred to me what Korean Indie sort of didn’t-really-say-but-kinda-did in a roundabout-ass way in my interview with him – Koreans don’t tend to get stoned much, not just because it’s difficult to get weed in Korea and the penalties are so stupidly harsh, but because the quality of weed in Korea is utter dogshit. Where I live (Adelaide, Australia) is known for harm-minimisation style drug laws as well as the best weed in the country and drug-fucked touring musicians (i.e all of them) who come here are often asking around for it, so I can only imagine how much more a Korean artist is keenly trying to score weed when he gets into Jamaica. Jamaican weed is probably so good that Skull is likely to be completely ruined for the crappy Korean weed, just like after you eat Haighs chocolate it’s hard to go back to Nestle and Cadbury. I think Skull isn’t getting caught for drugs because he doesn’t smoke much at all – in Korea. Dude is jumping on a plane to do regular marijuana tours of the Carribean, then he comes back home, dries off and makes reggae music which sounds all the more earnest and authentic because he has to remember back a few months ago to what it felt like when he was halfway across the world getting fucked up on the really good shit.
So there you go. Skull is getting as royally bent as everybody else who is/was staggering around in a drug haze over at the YG building, he’s just smart enough to do it away from home. For now. Be careful Skull – don’t fuck up and get busted by leaving a spliff thoughtlessly in your jacket pocket and then wearing it in the airport, or no more cheesy voiceovers on Oh My Girl songs for you! This is your reminder to be diligent – Kpopalypse is supporting you!
That’s all for this post – Kpopalypse shall return!