Pacman and Peso go to North Korea: God Bless Amerika [Video]
Washington, D.C. – DMV to the DMZ – Pacman and Peso, 2 aspiring MCs from Southeast D.C. and Maryland, are about to make history as the first rappers to shoot a music video in the mysterious land of North Korea.
The pair left for the isolated nation this past Saturday after a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than 10K for their travel and video expenses. The campaign was heavily covered by D.C. media and was even supported by D.C. Councilman Marion “Mayor for Life” Barry. They even received coverage from North Korean media organization, NK News.
We plan on posting the finished product once the video has been shot and edited, but for now we’re hitting you with a new visual for their “God Bless Amerika” single. The video was directed by a friend of HipHopCanada’s – DC native and former Toronto resident – Emiliano Ruprah. Emi has a ton of new videos in the works so check back soon for more.
About Pacman & Peso
Gifted Kids From The Streets (But Not In The Streets)
Pacman, born and raised in the Congress Heights neighborhood in Southeast D.C., and Peso, born and raised in Landover, MD, are two gifted young artists who are fighting to improve their lives and rise above difficult circumstances. They are both extremely talented wordsmiths who are dedicated to pursuing careers in music. Although just 18 and 19-years-old, respectively, both Pacman and Peso have been intimately affected by poverty and violence. They have dodged bullets (literally), gone to sleep hungry, and seen loved ones die. They both got caught up in the juvenile justice system at a young age which interrupted their educations. Pacman attended Ballou High School in Southeast for two years before transferring to Luke Seymour Alternative School in Northeast where he graduated in June 2013. Peso went to Central High School in Capitol Heights, MD but was unable to finish as his education was interrupted by legal issues. Both youths have taken blows that would cause most people to throw in the towel and resign themselves to hopelessness but Pacman and Peso have instead chosen to use their hardships as motivation.
A Fork in the Road
Pacman and Peso have managed to make it this far without giving up their positive attitudes and are still actively pursuing their musical aspirations. No longer in school and with few opportunities for productive employment, however, they are currently at a fork in the road that will probably determine where their lives go from here. They did not pursue college due to financial constraints and family duties (both have younger siblings that need guidance and support from positive male role models). Through a chance encounter earlier this year at the Congress Heights recreation center on Alabama Ave SE, Pacman met Ramsey Aburdene, a founding member of Forest Hills Tenleytown Music Group (FHTMG — an upstart record label formed in 2013). Since then, Pacman and Peso have spent days on end at the FHTMG Recording Studio in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in Northwest D.C. They have blown away everyone who has seen them rap, write, or freestyle. The duo has already recorded over 20 original songs and are excited about the prospect of releasing their first mixtape, Coming Soon, later this year.
The Trip to North Korea
The trip to North Korea has been in the works since before Pacman and Peso linked up with FHTMG. Michael Basset, a good friend of FHTMG co-founder Ramsey Aburdene, is one of the foremost American experts on North Korea and will be leading the trip through a partnership with Young Pioneer Tours. A decorated military veteran, Michael fought in Kosovo, was injured in an IED as a tank commander in Iraq, and was stationed at the DMZ on North Korea-South Korea border for four years. During his time in South Korea, Michael fell in love with Korean culture, history, and politics (he has a 6-year-old daughter who lives in Seoul). He has made it his mission in life to improve North-South relations on the Korean Peninsula through cultural diplomacy. Michael focuses on sports and the arts instead of taking a political approach. He has been on four extended visits to North Korea, most recently a three month trip earlier in 2013. There are few, if any, foreign civilians who have the connections and access that Basset has in North Korea.
Pacman & Peso’s North Korea Trip Itinerary
Itinerary between Nov. 21 and Dec. 2, 2013
11/21 – Arrive Pyongyang, meet your North Korean guides, Check in at Sosan Hotel, Arch of Triumph, Grand Monument Statues, Juche Tower, relax at the hotel’s microbrew bar/recreational facilities
11/22 – People’s Grand Monument Statues, Mausoleum to see Kim Il Sung and Kim Jung Il’s sarcophagi, Children’s Palace Performance, Pyongyang Fun Fair Amusement Park.
11/23 – Boat ride across the Taedong, Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum (guided by war vet), Boat restaurant, USS Pueblo (guided by a naval commander who (seized?) the ship), Duck OR Lamb BBQ, Paradise Brewery Bar
11/24 – Kang Bang Suk Middle School Performance, Pyongyang Metro & Metro Museum, Gun Range (Hen Hunt), Music and Dance Conservatory cultural show -circus/opera, Chicken and Watermelon Dinner (chicken from gun range), Kereoke Party Bus – Pyongyang at Night City Bus Tour.
11/25 – Mansudae Art Studio, Mt. Myohang Korean Friendship Exhibition, Pyongyang Island Fun Fair, and Diplomat’s Club.
11/26 – Kim Il Sung Square walk, Viennese Coffee Shop, Basketball Match OR Korea Central Art Gallery, Outdoor Picnic with locals, drive to Kaesong SEZ, Kaesong SEZ Fun Fair, Kim Il Sung Hill statue and stamp shop, overnight folk hotel, optional dog meet dinner.
11/27 – DMZ tour (Panmunjeom, DPRK), DMZ Observation Wall (no mans land), DPRK Film Studio’s, Sunjuk Bridge, return Pyongyang – check in at Koryo Hotel, Three Revolutions Exhibition, Pizza Restaurant, (“P-ART NK” multimedia event and video?).
11/28 – Charter Flight Chongjin, lunch at Fisherman’s Club, Kim Il Sung Statue, Electronics Library, City Map of Renovation Plan, Steelworks Kindergarten School Performance. Dinner, sauna, bar and pool at Fisherman’s Club.
11/29 – Kyongsong Revolutionary Museum, Hot Spa Medical Treatment, Kyongsong seafood lunch, drive to Mt. Chilbo Home Stay*, tour, Chilbo Beach volleyball, campfire with locals. Note- Due to historical/local cultural reasons, Americans are only allowed to stay at the Outer Chilbo hotel, 20 mi. Drive away, others can stay with a family at the home stay,
11/30 – Chilbo Beach swimming and boating, Hiking Mt Chilbo, return Chongjin via Yombun Revolutionary Site. Overnight Chongjin
12/1 – Drive to Hyeryong city (2 hours) – Population 140,000, This city is famous for White Apricots, Ceramics and beautiful girls! It’s also the birthplace of President Kim Il Sung’s “revolutionary hero” wife, Kim Jong Suk. Visit Kim Jong Suk Statue. Kim Jong Suk birthplace and historical lecture from the expert local guide. Hyeryong Local Library, Hyeryong Middle School.
12/2 – Stop in Onsong County to see the Grand Monument at Mt. Wangjae and the Revolutionary Museum. Depart the DPRK with a stamp in your passport via some friendly but amazingly thorough DPRK customs officials. Walk the bridge into Tuman with a stop the very relaxed but also extremely curious Chinese customs.