Wiz Khalifa not saying sorry for 'racist' lyrics

American rapper Wiz Khalifa, performing in Switzerland (above) earlier this month, has refused to apologise for the controversial “eyes looking Korean” lyrics in his song Hot Now.
American rapper Wiz Khalifa, performing in Switzerland (above) earlier this month, has refused to apologise for the controversial “eyes looking Korean” lyrics in his song Hot Now. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL • American rapper Wiz Khalifa has refused to apologise for the controversial "eyes looking Korean" lyrics in his song Hot Now and defended himself by saying he has Korean friends.

The rapper was asked about the controversy over the lyrics while on the New York-based radio show The Breakfast Club and said: "I have Korean friends that are not offended, so I don't know these people who are saying that. My art is up for interpretation."

He told the critics to "chill out" and added he is "not racist" and loves Koreans.

His new song Hot Now from his new album Rolling Papers 2 was embroiled in a controversy after some Korean fans took offence at the lyrics, "Smoke got my eyes lookin' Korean", implying his eyes look similar to the eyes of Korean people when he smokes.

It is not the first time the singer has used such controversial words. His 2010 song Real Estate has the line "Eyes Chinese, smoke like I'm Jamaican".

The rapper held his first South Korea concert, Seoul Sessions Live Music Event, in May last year with Korean rappers Zico and BewhY performing as opening acts, drawing nearly 20,000 fans.

His 2015 song See You Again, featuring singer Charlie Puth, dethroned South Korea's Gangnam Style on YouTube as the most-watched video in July last year.

See You Again, which was featured in the 2015 action movie Furious 7, intersperses scenes from the film with Khalifa rapping and Puth singing as they overlook a sandy coast.

The song was a tribute to Paul Walker, an actor in the Fast And Furious franchise who died in a car wreck in 2013.

The song was surpassed by Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi's Despacito about a month later.

THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2018, with the headline 'Wiz Khalifa not saying sorry for 'racist' lyrics'. Print Edition | Subscribe