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Very dope Chicago release. Insightful lyrics over nice production. Haiku continues in the tradition initially set by Typical Cats, Offwhyte, & Somewhere Outside Consciousness. High caliber Hip Hop that comes out of nowhere to surprise the listener, and reinforces the strong foundation of Chicago Hip Hop.
- Molemen Records

"Blew review"

When you first see Haiku’s album, Blew, it’s hard to avoid the fact that it just looks cheesy, as the artwork features blue swirls and stars. The phrase “:::Blew Album:::,” written on the CD itself, screams an odd combination of Weezer and J-pop.

But maybe you shouldn’t judge a CD by its cover, because the second it flows through your speakers, Blew booms chilled beats and poetic flows, courtesy of the Chicago emcee.

With a smooth change of gears, the beats get faster and sharper, and Haiku’s intelligent delivery follows the pace. And somehow, all of this madness takes place within the first two tracks on the album, “Blue” and “Widow’s Peak.”

Haiku keeps his flows clean and tight, and upbeat drum samples, which are way more cymbal-happy than the average rap song, are rampant in the album, alluding to Haiku’s faint indie influence. And even though most of his beats are synthesized, there’s a certain soul that can be found in—well, most of them.

Though the album contains some stellar tracks, other songs fall flat. The album feebly feigns a cohesion due to the fact that too many of the songs’ beats sound the same, meshing together. “Betty Blue,” one of the album’s designated girl songs, is unique in its message about the ideal woman, but boring in its mundanely executed beats and lyrics. Unfortunately, the same can be said about several other songs on this hit-and-miss album.

A hip hop project worthy of a honorable mention but no full blown Grammy, Blew has some amazing songs, but doesn’t stand strongly as a unified piece. Despite the shortcomings of Blew, Haiku himself proves to be a skilled rapper, and with that, an artist to keep a watchful eye on.

— - Sarah Kamshoshy

"Haiku "Blew" Album Review"

A nice set of tracks from Chicago MC Haiku -- largely produced by Midas Wells, with scratches by DJ L-Train, plus additional production from Meaty Ogre of Galapagos 4, PNS of the Molemen, Phys Ed and Emynd! Haiku shares with the Galapagos 4 roster an ability to craft a great full length listen as opposed to a simple collection of tracks, and he's a sharp lyricist and storyteller. We fell in love with the CD as soon as we opened the sleeve and saw a little piece of prose by the great William Gass, and thankfully the record rewarded our little fit of pre-listen love! - DustyGroove.com

"Haiku gets below the surface to make hip-hop."

He grew up in Des Plaines, which is not, he admits, exactly a hotbed for hip-hop.

"There's a real good punk and skater scene there," he explains. "Hip-hop wasn't that big, so [my friends and I] were like freaks of nature."

But rap music attracted Haiku (Tony Kim). It was, he says, its grittiness, its honestly, its offering of self-expression that transcended race and geographic location.

"I was introduced to rap and hip-hop through the commercial mediums, so I started out listening to the gangster stuff," he says. "But the Wu Tang Clan really did it for me. I started checking for all of those East Coast cats and I was like, 'Whoa, it's not all about gangster rhythms.' You don't have to be gangster to have that street grit, and I like that."

As he prepares for the independent release of his second CD, "Blew," the thick-voiced Haiku is embracing the idea that raw music can just as easily examine topics like relationships gone sour and being a misfit as it can in describing violence.

It's what he says should come from an artist named Haiku.

"In a haiku, you explain your environment and your surroundings in a few syllables, and basically, that's what I'm doing with rap music."

On his song "Dunce Cap Blues," he explores the conflicts between the expectations we have ourselves with those society places on us. On "Pendulum Head," he launches an attack on poseurs who nod their heads to music, driven by fashion rather than the beat.

Musically, producers Midas Wells, Meaty Ogre, Emynd and Phys Ed have given Haiku a collection of mid- and down-tempo beats laced with distorted horns and keystrokes reminiscent of De La Soul's "Buhloone Mindstate."

The less-than-typical sound of "Blew" should not come as a surprise.

"I was influenced by a lot of rock bands when I was making this," Haiku says. "I was experimenting with voices. Like, I really like Lou Reed's vocals, how it's real chill and calm and how he's able to project everything he's feeling. So if you listen, I've toned myself down a lot and I tried to go with a deeper vibe."

Other influences, he says, range from New York Rockers the Strokes to Chicago's American Draft, which is not to say that he mimics the volume of either of these bands.

Rather, he offers, exploring music allows an artist to create what he calls "a musical environment," something that is critical for an MC because, it "makes you think more about music, rather than just the lyrics themselves. Rather than just talking over beats, I was more experimental with the sounds and listening to the sounds of the words."

But "Blew" was not originally going to be Haiku's sophomore effort.

"I had an album that was supposed to come out called 'Dawn of Mystique.' It had Qwel on it and Mestizo and Offwhyte and all of these Chicago artists," he says. "But I scrapped that at the last minute. I didn't want people to buy my album because of those people. On your second album, you have to prove yourself. I wanted this to be all me."

Haiku quickly adds, however, that he's been blessed by other Chicago artists, including those on the Galapagos4 roster, the Molemen, who most recently included him in the Chicago Rocks weekend, and the artists with Novem Studios who collaborate with him in an event held the last Wednesday of each month at Danny's Tavern (1951 W. Dickens).

"It's good to have these heavy hitters on my side," he says.

In addition to his record release party at the Abbey Pub on Saturday night, Haiku will DJ at Danny's Tavern on Wednesday night.

David Jakubiak is a local free-lance writer.

- Chicago Sun-Times

"Haiku "Blew" Album Review 2"

Haiku considers music his language. Speaking philosophically about experience and life at large, his rhymes are undeniably potent. Only the largest of personalities can pull it off, and Haiku brongs a rock star swagger to the hip hop stage.

Haiku returns with his anticipated sophomore release. Blew, a multi-layered concept album based on mood.
- Molemen.com

"Haiku "Blew" Album Review 3"

Haiku is a Chicago MC who, despite his relatively young career, has carved out a strong niche all his own. Grounded in the tru-school aesthetics of Native Tongues pioneer De La Soul and its modern-day torch-bearers Little Brother as well as the literate and unapologetically intellectual tongue-twisting of the Def Jux and Anticon camps, Haiku's Blew is a packed-to-the-brim, but never overlong, opus of soul-fueled beats (with Galapagos4's Meaty Ogre lending a hand) that seamlessly compliment Haiku's wordy, but rarely pretentious, style of rhyme. Rather than focusing on the usual m.o. of battle raps, Haiku's deep discussions about ills in relationships and elsewhere are composed with a stunning maturity and confidence. Whether your hip-hop tastes lie in the more straightforward or challenging vein, Haiku is the perfect combination of both sides of the sphere. - Fanatic Promotion


Brainstorms LP 2004
Pendulum Mix Tape 2006
Blew 2006
Dawn Of Mystique 2007



A lyricist searching for boundless conversation. That skateboard kid pushing a punk rock soundtrack. A hip hop loyalist who discovered Tupac and Wu-Tang before Tribe and De La. Bold rhymes coupled with keen perspective. An MC with rock star swagger; Haiku is his own brand.

Haiku’s foray into hip hop began as a DJ who created mixtapes for friends to freestyle over. When it became obvious he could outrhyme them, he traded turntables for a microphone. House party battles and basement ciphers allowed the MC to test his skill, but he desired something permanent. Punchlines matured into songs that explored everything from literature and immigration to women and prescriptions.

What began as a project with no budget or release plan quickly gained momentum in 2004. Brainstorms introduced the Chicago MC to a receptive audience. “Five Hellish Minutes” explored the degrees of insomnia while “1981” recited the trials of discrimination from a first-generation Korean-American perspective. Haiku’s honesty prompted both fans and industry insiders to take notice, and he would eventually be featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Southern Illinoisian and the Daily Egyptian, along with spins at college and independent radio.

Countless shows, an appearance at Chicago Rocks and performances alongside artists from the Rhymesayers, Def Jux and Day by Day Camps cemented his presence as a steadfast musician. His sophomore album, Blew, was released in 2006 to critical acclaim for songs like the hypnotic “Blue” and the challenging “Widow’s Peak.”

Dues paid, Haiku is now on the rise. He’s determined to create an album where every track is a classic. To rock shows at prominent venues across the world. And to become a face for Asians whose influence transcends the boundaries of nationality and ethnicity. Haiku is taking off – get your tickets now.

For Booking: myspace.com/bonafyderecordings
Attn: John