Clash of Rookies and Titans: A Review of Mnet’s Hip-Hop Survival Audition Program ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’

Hello readers! So as I’m sure you all aware, I love talking about the Korean survival audition programs that are so popular these days. Finally, I now have the chance to talk about one that has been getting a lot of attention this season, and it’s one of my favourite shows. What show am I talking about? None other than Mnet’s hip-hop battle audition program ‘SHOW ME THE MONEY’.

Making its debut in 2012, SHOW ME THE MONEY was designed to cater to the hip-hop fans in Korea and globally by finding talented underground rappers, pitting them against some more well known rappers, getting mentored by hip-hop veterans and competing to win the show. Currently in its third season, many names have become more well known as a result of this show. Let’s take a better look at the show thus far.




The inaugural season of this program brought many rookies and veterans together – many for the first time ever. Judging and mentoring the competitors were eight seasoned rappers/hip-hop artists: Miryo (Browd Eyed Girls), Verbal Jint, Hoony Hoon, 45RPM, Joosuc, Double K, MC Sniper, and Garion. Among all the competitors that auditioned this season, four stood out for various reasons, but are considered the mainstays of the first season:

– Loco

– TakeOne

– Iltong

– Jindoggae

Through some gruelling group and solo challenges, the pairing of Double K and Loco took the final win at the end of the show, which also led to increased attention on the young rapper who is now signed to Jay Park’s AOMG label. While some of the veteran mentors fell short with their rookie partners during key performances, it was this particular pairing that drew even more attention to this new show.




A lot of hype surrounded the second season of SMTM, particularly for the change in the judging/mentor system – two mentors split as two teams: D.O Crew, led by DEUX member and producer Lee Hyun Do; and Meta Crew, led by OG rapper and Garion member MC Meta. The competition was much fiercer this time around, from rookie acts, to complete unknowns; from legendary names to idol group rappers, many come from far and wide to compete for the top prize. Among the contestants were:

– Swings

– Soul Dive

– Heo In Chang of X-teen

– Kanto of Troy

– Jucy of EvoL

– LE of EXID

– Mad Clown

– Fana

– J’Kyun of Lucky J

– King Kong

– Wutan

– Dindin

– Zizo

– Ceejay of Freshboys

– Qwala

At the end of the season, Meta Crew contestants Soul Dive took the win. With the variety of rappers that appeared in this season, the stakes were elevated even further to make the show more interesting, despite feedback from both contestants and the mentors about the judging system in place as well as the editing of the show.




With the current season well under way, I won’t spoil too much of what’s happened but I will say that it has been full of twists. The first was the reveal of the teams for this season – four mentor teams, each representing a different label:

– Team Illionaire (Dok2 & The Quiett)

– Team YDG (Yang Dong Geun)

– Team YG (Tablo & Masta Wu)

– Team Brand New Music (Swings & San E)

One of the biggest surprises was the reappearance of season 2 competitor Swings as a mentor this season. But this was one of many surprises in store for viewers. Another batch of rookies, name stays and veterans have come and gone through the show thus far, including:

– Odee

– Unsung

– New Champ

– Jolly V

– Tymee (e.via)

– Nada of Wassup

– J.Slow

– Born Kim

– Bobby of Team B

– B.I of Team B

– Toy Brown

– Vasco

– C.Jamm

– Olltii

– Snacky Chan

– Giriboy

– Iron

– Tarae

As mentioned before, this season is still under way – make sure to catch it and find out who will win this season! Four teams, any number of possibilities, but only one will come out on top.



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