From Richmond, Virginia, born and raised (bet you read that with to the opening lines of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air), Bobby Kim has always been told that he is a force to be reckoned with. Most of his formative years were spent being inexplicably regular - from helping out at his parents’ laundromat, to being distinctly average at his elementary school in the States. He once entertained the thought of being a Taekwondo pugilist
, but later gave that up in favor of being a professional gamer
. Alas, neither dream was destined to come to fruition, but on the bright side, he can now kick ass with the best of ‘em and his high score on Left 4 Dead is phenomenal
, thank you very much, putting paid to the adage that the proverbial silver lining behind every cloud truly does exist, even in the wake of dreams that fall by the wayside.
Bobby first set foot on the land of his ancestors at age 11, when his parents put him on a direct flight to Seoul to live with his unmarried Aunt Ahyoung (on his mother’s side) and her seven cats. Getting up every morning at dawn to prepare breakfast for seven hungry felines is no mean feat for a tween, but being Chief Cat Feeder meant that he had to work his routine around those cats, taking it upon himself to care for his aunt at the same time while juggling school and extra-curricular basketball. He had to repeat a year at the very start, since the school deemed his American education rather lacking in the core disciplines of Korean language, Korean social studies and arithmetic (obviously). This speedbump was swiftly surmounted when Bobby realized that counting in Korean really was
easier, leaving him more time for his personal pursuits. He also had the highest honor of meeting his best friend for life, Hanbin (when he lent his prized Mickey Mouse pencil to Hanbin one day at school, the rest, as they say, was doggone history).
It was in high school that Bobby found his true calling – hip hop. The underground sub-culture and accessibility to impromptu rap battles held in open lots and dusty clubs in Hongdae and Itaewon made it easy for an underaged kid to get caught in the undertow. During this time, Bobby’s days were spent at lessons, while his nights – at least half of them – were spent filling school-issue jotter books with page after page of rap lyrics. Some of those lyrics would land him on sticky, beer-stained carpets in low-ceilinged rooms filled with cigarette smoke, eyes shut tight as he spat surprisingly clean rhymes about family, religion and longing in direct contrast to his less-than-clean surrounds. If Bobby were a lesser young man, he wouldn't even have come close to graduating high school, but thankfully, he had his partner-in-crime Hanbin, unshakeable faith and a bunch of street smarts that somehow saw him through. Eventually, he got that diploma and sat the Yonsei entrance exam, gaining entry to read Anthropology in the new academic year.
Getting accepted at Yonsei is only the beginning. The freshman experience will be a whole new chapter in the Book of Kim, and for Bobby, the excitement is real
. The one thing he wants to do is make the basketball team (aka his first love), while still running the underground hip-hop circuit. Oh yeah, and world cultures – go Anthro!
Bobby is a gentle soul whose personality is as distinctive as his appearance. Friendly and approachable, he tries his hardest not to let the bastards get him down, especially when it seems like they are. He works hard for his keep and maintains strong ties with his family and friends, both locally and abroad (as best as he can, anyway, no matter how nice it would be to be in two or three places at once).
It was his mother who put the fear of God in him, and as a result, Bobby lives his life by several very defined moral goalposts, which include, but are not limited to, living victoriously and going to church on Sundays. His mother also taught him to hold doors, pull out chairs, and never be afraid to be himself – the last of which Bobby has never, and will never compromise on. Nevertheless, his faith doesn't prevent him from delivering the occasional fuck you to the establishment when necessary, although he would argue that he is most definitely more of a lover than a hater.