MC Mong’s comeback sparks controversy

After five years of avoiding publicity, rapper Dong-hyun Shin,  also known as MC Mong, made a comeback on Nov. 5 with his sixth album “Miss Me or Diss Me,” which he wrote to express his thoughts on his life away from the music industry.

In 2010, MC Mong was suspected of intentionally pulling out healthy teeth to dodge his military obligations as a Korean citizen. After a series of trials, MC Mong was declared guilty of delaying his service, but innocent of pulling out his teeth in attempts to avoid conscription. Because of this scandal, he was forced to drop out of all entertainment programs and led a reclusive life hidden from the public.

“I’m pretty sure MC Mong had personal reasons for his actions, but I believe that as a Korean citizen, what he did was very irresponsible,” Jung Yup Kim (11) said. “He took out teeth that he didn’t have to and rejected treatment. He also stated he was going to reflect on his actions during his years of inactivity, but he continued to work as a musician. I don’t think he has shown signs of being truly remorseful.”

Despite his scandal, his new album was warmly received by many fans, with all 13 songs topping the nine major music charts in Korea within hours after release. Furthermore, MC Mong’s supporters welcomed the singer’s return to the music industry by praising his album on social networking sites. Collaboration with well-known singers such as Ailee, Ji-young Baek and SISTAR’s Hyorin made his album a bigger success.

“I have always been a fan of MC Mong because of his unique rapping style,” said Alex Minki Kim (9). “I was drawn to this album because I think that it really highlights his distinct singing techniques and because his songs feature great artists. Because of this, I found it much more interesting to see different genres such as rap and ballad come together. I am glad to see him return.”

However, some viewed this as his attempt to overlook his past crimes. Netizens, users of social networking sites such as Naver, denounced him for “using” famous singers to ensure the album’s popularity. Celebrities who publicly congratulated MC Mong for his new album, such as Baek, comedian HaHa and Rainbow’s Hyunyoung, were also criticized. Though Baek and Hyunyoung erased their messages, HaHa kept his message, drawing further criticism from netizens. 

“I personally think netizens jumping to conclusions without knowing the full story is problematic.” said Joshua Kim (10). “I understand their motives for criticizing MC Mong, but I don’t think that they should attack his supporters and automatically label them as being just as guilty as MC Mong.”