Dennis Rodman is not the only one aware of the potential danger of being on a cultural exchange mission with North Korea. Up-and-coming rappers Pacman and Peso, from the Washington, D.C., area, made the first U.S. hip hop video to be shot in the Asian nation, "Escape to North Korea."
According to the Washington Post, the duo were looking to "broaden their horizons" and figured that visiting the land of nuclear threats (they landed in the capital city of Pyongyang to be exact), where restrictions to U.S. tourists were only recently lifted (in 2010), would be no more dangerous than Southeast D.C. and Landover, Md., the stomping grounds where they were raised.
"I'm at the top of the world and feeling strong," Peso raps in the video.
"It was different, but it wasn’t scary or what I thought it would be. I expected to not be accepted," Pacman, 24, told the Post afterward. "We saw monuments, we saw [Kim Jong Il’s] embalmed body, we saw people working in rice fields."
The music video features them riding on public transportation and sightseeing. He and Peso, 20, used a Kickstarter campaign to fund the travel and shooting budget, picking up international news coverage of their goal, and ultimately raising $10,000. (They were hoping to raise $6,000.) A good $5,000 came from a single anonymous donor, a hedge fund manager.
"Rapping is already my full-time job, I got so many interviews," Pacman told the Post, excited about the support they've gotten from the video, including a forthcoming spot for Fuse TV. He sees music as the only way out of his own danger zone.
As for Peso, he's also banking on a standardized education. "I'm reading my GED book right now," he said. "Got to get my GED."
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(Photo: FHTMG Presents)