Dynamicduo Discuss ‘2 Kids on the Block’ Album Finale & Collaborating With BTS’ J-Hope & RM

Two decades in any industry is worth celebrating, but Dynamicduo has not only persisted through the early, nascent days of Korea’s hip-hop scene but has also hit new creative and mainstream peaks ahead of reaching the 20-year milestone.


See latest videos, charts and news

See latest videos, charts and news

Since childhood friends Choiza and Gaeko officially paired up in 2004 with debut album Taxi Driver, the pair have trailblazed their legacy after setting records for hip-hop sales in Korea, taking top honors at mainstream awards shows in music and videos, establishing their Amoeba Culture label, and collaborating with a range of stars through the decades like DJ PremierJ.Y. ParkTiger JKBoARainWonder Girls and members of K-pop groups like BTSEXO and Monsta X.

Dyanmicduo’s three-part album, 2 Kids on the Block, officially wrapped its 10-month rollout with the release of Part.3 on March 28, with the new tracks documenting two decades of inner dialogues and growth to ultimately decide to set their sights even higher by the LP’s conclusion. Parallel to the record’s past-meets-present concept, Dynamicduo experienced balancing an old and new track, both taking over on social media for a minute in 2023. Their 2014 single “AEAO” featuring DJ Premier” went unexpectedly viral on TikTok (landing itself as one of TikTok’s Top 10 Song of Summer from South Korea), while their collaboration cut “Smoke” with rising rapper Lee Young Ji for a popular TV dance competition also took off via dance challenges, earning the guys their first-ever entry on the Billboard Global 200 chart. Helping fuel DD’s 2023 hits were infectious dance and lip-sync covers from K-pop heavyweights like V and Jung Kook of BTS, Minho, EXO, SEVENTEEN, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, ITZY, ATEEZ and IVE, as well as stars across the J-pop and Korean hip-hop scenes.

Trending on Billboard

A day after the release of 2 Kids on the Block — Dynamicduo’s milestone 10th album together — was the unveiling of J-Hope from BTS’ latest solo project, Hope on the Street Vol. 1, featuring Gaeko on the lead single “NEURON.” Alongside this J-Hope collaboration, the slew of rising and established names in Korean pop, R&B, rap and even acting on 2 Kids all point to Dynamicduo’s continued influence and expert ability to navigate different musical realms for decades.

Speaking exclusively with Billboard, Dynamicduo reflect on their journey thus far, share their ambitious vision for the next decade, discuss differences between their BTS collaborations and more.

Congratulations on the release of 2 Kids on the Block – Part.3. How does it feel now that the series is complete? With five full tracks, Part.3 is the longest chapter in the 2 Kids on the Block series. Was there a reason for breaking out the parts like you did?

Gaeko: We feel so happy to be able to release the album on our 20th anniversary. The timing was perfect.

Choiza: Our CEO, who had been with us since the establishment of our company, suddenly passed away as her condition worsened, and while she was here, she really liked the songs that we were working on from the tenth album. So we wanted to gift the release to her while she was still here with us. And the current state of the music market makes it impossible for people to listen to all the songs in an album. Even if we released all the songs at once, only one to two songs would have stood out, so we thought dividing it into parts would have people listen through all the songs. Lastly, this album expresses stories and the history of Dynamicduo, so we released it in several parts to sequentially tell different stages of our lives from past to present.

You also released a remix package for “AEAO” with DJ Premier and “Smoke” for Street Woman Fighter 2, both viral hits, in between parts. Was there a balance you had to find with these singles and returning to the album?

Gaeko: Apart from the hits of the two singles, we tried to refocus on maintaining the album’s concept and improving its level of completion. We took a short break, about two weeks, at the beginning of the year to refresh our minds and then got back to the grind.

Choiza: Actually, 2 Kids On The Block – Part.3 was originally going to be released as three songs last year, but “Smoke” became such a huge hit, so we couldn’t complete the album at that time. But, thanks to that, we were able to prepare five songs instead of three with the extra time we were given, and we are satisfied with how it turned out. The additional two songs that we added fit right in with the concept of the album.

Your new single, “PITAPA” featuring pH-1 and Junny, is really impressive. What inspired the theme of “pizza, tacos and pasta” and what do you hope listeners will take away?

Choiza: “PITAPA” is a song that resembles the aspiration of wanting our music to be appealing to people all over the world and to be known in such a way as pizza, taco, and pasta are as global foods familiar to everyone around the world. pH-1 and JUNNY are well-received in both Korea and overseas, so having them on the track added extra flavor and we think overseas listeners who like Korean hip-hop will have fun listening to it.

Gaeko: We felt that the words “pizza, taco, pasta” connected well and the line just stuck to our mouth. We felt the groove and loved the sound of it, so we were able to make the hook right away. “PITAPA” was the last song we worked on on the album, and it was completed quickly with the inspiration we got from our U.S. performance that we had just gotten back from.

Personally, I hear some DJ Premier influence on the production of “PITAPA.” Did his work inspire you or parts of this album after the resurgence of “AEAO”?

Choiza: “AEAO” is a song that gave us the courage to pursue overseas activities. We worked with an amazing artist, DJ Premier, and when the song resurged on TikTok, it helped bring in a wider audience, giving them exposure to who we are and our songs. The resurgence encouraged us to think that we have the potential to do something overseas and that the idea of rapping and singing in Korean would still appeal to the foreign market. “AEAO” gave us tremendous inspiration.

BewhY gives props to Dynamicduo as inspiration for his career on the album track “Love Myself.” This LP has many rising rap and R&B stars. Do you have humbling moments like this where you realize your influence?

Choiza: We are very grateful that young artists are inspired by us and how long we’ve been doing this. We think one of the reasons we’ve been able to make music for so long is that we get a lot of help and learn a lot from working with new artists. We want to continue working hard and creating good music together.

Actor Jung Man Sik does the intro on “Dramatic,” which was very clever. How did he end up on the album?

Gaeko: When we got Man Sik’s part added to the song, it felt like we found the missing piece to the puzzle. We contacted him last minute, like two days before our scheduled mix session. We had nobody else in mind other than Man Sik and, luckily, it was his day off that day, and he understood exactly what we wanted and acted so quickly on it. He completed our puzzle and we want to thank him again.

Gaeko, you collaborated with J-Hope of BTS on “NEURON” from Hope on the Street Vol. 1 album. Since J-Hope is enlisted and cannot share much about the song, can you tell us about how the track came together?

Gaeko: J-Hope came to my studio last year and we not only talked about music, but also talked about many different things in life — it was such a fun time and I felt his deep passion for music and dance. I think his energy transferred over to me because I was able to write the lyrics quickly. We recorded our verses separately, and I went over to HYBE and we recorded the hook together. It was a fun project.

All three verses on “NEURON” express a strong sense of positivity and gratitude. Can you share how you approached your verse? Did you hear J-Hope and Yoon Mirae’s verses, or was it all a surprise when the album came out?

Gaeko: It wasn’t until after 20 years of making music that I began to understand that good things come out only when you relax and empty yourself. I wanted to capture those emotions in the verse, and I also tried to make the overall structure of the verse simple and plain. J-Hope’s verse was already completed before I did my part, and I listened to Tasha (yoonmirae)’s verse after it was mixed. Their parts were so good so I had second thoughts on recording my part again, but I decided not to. If I did it again, I wouldn’t have been able to capture the same emotions from the initial recording, so I left it as is.

RM featured on Gaeko’s single, “Gajah” from 2017. How do the collaboration experiences and recording processes differ between RM and J-Hope?

Gaeko: I felt that the musical direction they were both pursuing was similar yet different. I felt that RM had a deep affection, understanding, and love not only for hip-hop but also for music itself. And J-Hope had a massive passion for hip-hop and dance and wanted to pour all his energy into them before enlisting into the army. I also received a lot of energy from those two.

As Dynamicduo celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2024, how do you look back on the 20 yeras? Do you have anything special planned to celebrate this year?

Gaeko: Looking back now, we think that we were meant to do music. There were times when we experienced challenges, joy, and frustration, but the fact that the two of us were together in all those moments is probably the biggest accomplishment of our career.

Choiza: [The] 20th anniversary isn’t any special to us because we want to work just as hard as we’ve been and treat it like all our previous years. However, we will be holding a concert at the end of the year for our 20th anniversary and we want to make it big — we will be working hard and preparing a show for all to enjoy.

Collaboration has been a significant aspect of your career and we see it in 2 Kids. Whether it’s with fellow artists or producers, how do you approach collaborations to make them successful? Is there anyone still on your bucket list?

Choiza: We enjoy working together, but there are also a lot of new things that we discover when working with other artists. It’s fun to work with famous artists, but we also want to collaborate with rising, up-and-coming artists because we have a lot to learn from each other as well.

We think it would also be fun to mix various languages into one song. We are currently working with Thai rapper F.HERO, and we hope to work with artists from the U.S., Japan, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the world.

While K-pop impacts globally, Korean hip-hop and R&B are also rising. Do you have any thoughts—or hopes—of what it will take for these genres and artists to be more noticed internationally looking forward?

Gaeko: It’s important to make an effort to create the best work in whichever area we work in and to respect each other. We try not to set any high expectations for the results and just do our best in our field.

Choiza: Our goal is to be good at making music and to do it for a long time, so we’ll do our best to keep this going. We ask for your continued interest, and I believe that our overseas listeners will find songs that suit their tastes when they listen to all our songs that have been released so far. Please check out our 10th album as well as all our previous ones. We feel so grateful and honored to take part in this interview. Thank you for having us!