Toy-Anna Brown, better known as Toy, is an American rapper who has been active in South Korea for the past five years. She is best known for her appearances on Show Me the Money 1 and 3 (SMTM), a South Korean rap survival show where rappers compete against one another for a $100,000 prize reward.
In SMTM1, Toy made it to the Top 21, and in SMTM3, she was in the Top 12 and on the verge of joining the Top 8. Toy didn’t receive much airtime in either season, and while it’s not so surprising that she didn’t get much airtime in season 1, it is weird that she was barely shown on season 3 considering how far she got in the competition. Curious about Toy, I looked into her and what I found was her Youtube channel.
Toy has both original work and covers on her channel, and it is clear, through what she has posted, that she’s a good rapper. This, of course, makes her lack of airtime and sudden elimination on SMTM3 even stranger. More curious than ever about Toy, as both a contestant and as an artist, I reached out to her and via email we talked about her experience on SMTM3, about what she thinks about the Korean hip-hop scene and about her work as a hip-hop artist.
Noelle Connell: You’ve been on both SMTM1 and SMTM3, but you’re most well-known for your appearance on SMTM3 where you made it into the Top 12 and you were on the verge of joining the Top 8. What was your overall experience like on SMTM3?
Toy: It definitely wasn't easy. I am not yet fluent in Korean, so having to prepare Korean raps in the same amount of time as the Korean rappers was quite difficult. Also, I couldn’t understand everything that was said during the filming, but there were people who helped translate for me. Despite all of that, it was a good experience overall. I made new friends and I was able to make a name for myself here in Korea.
You didn’t get much airtime on SMTM3 and you were eliminated in favor of Chamane. I personally thought your performance was better than Chamane’s, and I’ve listened to your mixtape toy’s’tory, and in terms of overall rap skill, you’re definitely superior to Chamane. Do you think that at least part of the reason why you got so little airtime on SMTM3 and Chamane was chosen over you is because you’re a Black American woman?
First of all, thank you for taking the time to listen to my mixtape! Secondly, what I was told was that part of the reason I was eliminated was because Chamane is Korean, and SMTM is a Korean rap competition. I'm happy for Chamane, and while I do feel that our rap skill levels differ a bit, when it comes to Korean rap...