When this song was released in 2010, what was going on that would allow Americans to relate to the hardships described in this song?
What metaphors for hope does the song use?
One metaphor for hope is the image of parting clouds letting the sun shine through. What happens in the music right after these lyrics are rapped? How is light breaking through clouds represented in the music?
Jonathan Park is an Asian American from Argentina who grew up in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, California. How do you think his experience of the Great Recession differed from experiences by other Americans?
"Clouds" performed by Dumbfoundead, released 2010. Available on YouTube.
Jonathan Park, also known as Dumbfoundead, was born in Argentina in 1986 to South Korean parents. He came to the United States when he was three years old and grew up with his family in the Koreatown section of Los Angeles, California. The area became known as Koreatown when many Korean immigrants settled there in the 1970s after the National Immigration Act removed national origin quotas. While the largest nationality in the area is Korean, the biggest ethnic population is Latino. Korean, Spanish, and English can be heard throughout the neighborhood, and Park's influences include Latino musics, freestyle and rap, and punk rock.
At age fifteen, Park was performing at open mics at the Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance and at the South Central Los Angeles hip-hop collective Project Blowed, where rappers freestyled. He began to participate in rap battles—competitions in which two rappers alternate improvising clever rhymes, rhythms, and put-downs to show dominance over the other. He had his breakout in 2007 when one of his rap battles became an internet sensation. He says that a good rapper is socially aware and has an understanding of all cultures. Park is also a storyteller and does stand-up comedy, often addressing stereotyping in his routine.
Digital single cover for "Clouds."
In 2010 he released "Clouds" as a digital single featuring Clara C. and K-pop star Jay Park. The video begins with Park saying, "For all the people going through tough times, this one's for you." Dumbfounded raps the first verse, which deals with life's difficulties, such as professional dreams that do not come to fruition and economic struggles. The hook, sung by Clara C., encourages the listener to know that better times will come. In the second verse Jay Park raps that accepting "the cards that are dealt" and maintaining a positive outlook help him get through difficult times.