2016 was a big year for Club Eskimo, the freshly-debuted hip-hop crew that blew the scene through their stylish music. In the center of their rise in popularity was DEAN, a young singer/producer who made his debut first in America. DEAN first garnered attention through the release of his first single, “Put My Hands On You”, featuring the Grammy Awardee Eric Bellinger, followed by a few more collaborative singles. His popularity saw an exponential growth through numerous media exposure after the release of his first album. The title song “D” steadily maintained its position in the music charts for more than half a year; many were drawn by the uniqueness of his creations. Club Eskimo stands around him as good friends, colleagues and inspiration.
Club Eskimo consists of DEAN and DJ Millic, the founding members, as well as the wildly popular R&B singer Crush, rapper PunchNello, producer-singer duo offonoff, 2xxx!, Jusen, Chekparren, and MISO. Their name comes from the definition of eskimos as those who eat raw meat; they hoped to represent their common desire for raw music. The crew made their debut at the Itaewon club Cakeshop in early 2016. With Crush and DEAN leading on with active music production, three members from the crew — offonoff, DJ Millic, and Punchnello — have signed on with HIGHGRND, a hip-hop label led by Tablo of EPIK HIGH.
Club Eskimo’s most recent appearance was at the Hyundai Card Understage Concert held near Christmas last year, when they showcased the very fruits of their hard work over the years. The party-like concert was designed to show off the crew’s futuristic and tasteful works of music and art both acoustically and visually. This was evident from the way they randomly selected the order of the performing team by spinning a wheel; they were confident that anyone selected would put up a great show. First up was the artist Rad Museum, followed by DJ Millic who played a distinctive DJ set. Next up was a prominent rookie offonoff, who screened their video production along with their dreamy songs. The concert then featured Crush and DEAN consecutively, along with all of their hit songs. Naturally, the concert also emphasized their common vision for “visual” music, music that can be drawn in one’s head, by accompanying the music with an array of tasteful videos at the backdrop. The audience was given a chance to explore how the different colors of each team in the crew affected the others. The concert, which ran for three hours, was just about enough for them to boast their synergy created through unity as well as strong teamwork.
The attention on R&B and Hip-Hop has seen a rapid increase in the recent years, through the popularity of mainstream TV shows such as Show Me the Money and Unpretty Rapstar. This has provided a large impetus for young music listeners to support solo R&B artists who have the ability to produce original work without depending on other parties for their music; the unification of the singers’ personal identity with the music they produce is surely a pull factor for many. The presence of a crew is certainly a contributor to the fame as it provides a great system that allows artists to collaborate and influence each other as well as one that introduces listeners of a member of the crew to similar music that share a congruent vision. With many members yet to make a full debut, Club Eskimo’s young and healthy music is bound to be a trendsetter for the years to come.