By: Annie Guo, Asian Avenue magazine
“If I make it, I feel like everyone made it.”
Michael Kim, aka Bishop, shouts out to his friends, family and fans that have supported him thus far in his rapping career. Born in Tennessee, Bishop made his way to Aurora, Colo. after growing up in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. With the influence of his older brother and playing piano in his youth, he has always loved music. But taking that next step, well, it all began with a girl.
At the age of 11, Bishop wrote his first rap with the intentions of asking a girl out. “I got too nervous, so never even rapped it to her,” he said. “My brother wanted to hear it and I wasn’t going to spit no lovey dove stuff, so I went home and rewrote a gangster one.”
Although he instantly loved rapping, he felt that being Asian would hinder him as a rapper, so he started out with creating beats.
“I bought a program to make beats. But then I was like man, no one’s going to buy beats from a 12-year-old kid, so I rapped over it myself, just for fun.”
Not long after, at the age of 14, Bishop found himself back in L.A. recording in a studio with his friend, DJ K-Town. “He played some beats and said go into the booth and try something. I just started spitting, bar after bar.”
“I’ve been recording ever since.”
Bishop was originally inspired by Chinese-American rapper Jin who was one of the only Asian Americans rapping at the time. “I thought, holy crap, Asian dude on BET battle rapping. I felt if I had a chance to get on the screen and do it, I could do it too.”
Now 23, Bishop embraces being Korean American in an industry where he stands out. “Its actually a benefit being an Asian rapping. I used to not think of it that way, I just wanted to be a rapper.”
“But now Asians come up to me and say ‘hey thanks, you’re doing it for me’.”
From Aurora to Boulder, his fan base grew at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience.
With campus performances and a show at Boulder’s Fox Theatre last year, Bishop launched music videos while battle rapping in Colorado with Body Bags Entertainment and across the nation.
“Nothing is better than performing in front of a crowd, he said. “I battle to be the best and will battle whoever to be the best.”
With a promising career ahead, he shares that his secret has been to never get discouraged.
“Some people give up when they work hours on a track that a friend says is whack or if they get booed on stage. Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. But you gotta go for it. Whatever it is. Just do it.”