Kero One

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Kero One
Kero one on fender rhodes.jpg
Kero One Playing Fender Rhodes at a concert in 2009.
Background information
Also known as Kero Uno
Origin San Francisco, California
Genres Hip hop, Rap, R&B, Electro
Occupation(s) Rapper, Composer/Producer, DJ
Instruments Vocals, Keyboard, Bass Guitar, Drums
Years active 2003 - present
Labels Plug Label / P-Vine /
Associated acts DJ King Most, Ohmega Watts, Epik High

Kero One is a Korean-American hip hop MC and producer from San Francisco, California. The origin of the name came from his graffiti tag when he was 15 and was short for Kerosene. In one of his lines from the album, "Windmills of the Soul," he says “When Kero’s on the Sene (scene) I fuel flames to burn emcees with more degrees than a PHD”.[1]

Kero One's style, "has been compared to Common, Q-tip, and Kanye West, but Kero One's music is very positive and upbeat..."[2]


When Kero One was 6, he started listening to old school hiphop on the radio. The first hiphop song he heard was by Boogie Down Productions. Since then, he collected records with genres spanning from hiphop, 70’s soul, funk, jazz, latin, soulful house, electronica and rock.

Later on, Kero One originally worked as a web designer, making 50 copies of his first single with home equipment and personal credit cards. He released his first 12” record “Check the Blueprints” in 2003 on his own imprint, Plug Label. Of the 50 copies that were eventually distributed around the world, one landed in a tiny record store in Tokyo, Japan. A few weeks later, it was found by a Japanese DJ who played it at a club that night and received dozens of inquiries, including a Japanese label executive who immediately contacted Kero One and asked for 3,000 copies of the record.[3] The record, “Check the Blueprints” became an underground hiphop classic in Japan selling almost 15,000 copies, and Kero One was invited to tour the country just a few months after. He performed in cities throughout Japan.

Kero One went on to finish his first album, “Windmills of the Soul,” in 2005, handling everything from playing instruments, rapping, and sound engineering. Without a strong label backing or a street team, Kero One handled almost all the business himself. From promotions and marketing, manufacturing, finances, art direction and web design, Kero One personally handed out promos to tastemakers anywhere he could find them. Eventually the hard work paid off, and “Windmills of the Soul” garnered respect in many circles for Kero One’s thought provoking lyrics and musical soundscapes which fused live instrumentation with dusty analog samples.

It wasn’t long before Kero One quit his job as a web designer in 2006 to pursue music full-time. Since 2006, Kero One has been awarded the title of “Best HipHop Album of 2006” from Remix Magazine Japan, topped iTunes hiphop charts, received praise from artists all over the world like of Black Eyed Peas, the legendary Stevie Wonder, Emmy nominated jazz singer Jaime Cullum, and multi award winning Korean Hiphop groups Epik High and Dynamic Duo.[4] Kero One has also performed all over the world with renowned artists like KRS 1, Blu & Exile, Dougie Fresh, Quantic, Alice Russell, Living Legends, Souls of Mischief, Far East Movement, Epik High, Jay Park, Dynamic Duo & Simon D. Kero One’s Music has been heard in Printemps Mall in Paris, France, Takashimaya Mall in Tokyo, Hyatt hotels, and TV Shows like Anthony Bourdain's The Layover and Fuse TV. Additionally, Kero One has kept busy collaborating with acclaimed artists from all over the globe like Aloe Blacc, Tuomo (Finland), Ben Westbeech (UK), DJ Deckstream (JAPAN), David Choi, Fashawn, Shing02, Dumbfoundead, The Sound Providers, DJ Mitsu (JAPAN), Abstract Rude and many others.

In 2012, Kero one released his fourth solo album, “Color Theory,” which raised over $10k from fans to pay for the mastering and engineering costs through Kickstarter. Once released, Color Theory received praise from fans as his “best album to date”. His lead single “What Am I Supposed to Do” has already charted on Radio Nova (France), J*Wave Japan, and WDR Funkhaus europa radio in Germany. Also, the song received a major endorsement from Stevie Wonder who asked Kero One to perform it at Stevie Wonder’s 17th Annual House Full of Toys Benefit Concert on December 15, 2012 at Nokia Live Theatre with Bruno Mars.[5] Later on, Kero One formed a new collaboration project "Kesna Music" with successful YouTube singer Esna Yoon. They released their single "Is It Love?" on July 16, 2013.[6]


  1. 5th Best Indie hiphop of 2004 on MSN music.[7]
  2. 4th Most Downloaded artist on Cnet's[8]
  3. 2nd Selling underground hiphop album on HMV and Tower Records Japan.[9]
  4. 2nd most downloaded album on iTunes Japan.[10]



Year Title Label
2006 Windmills of the Soul Plug Label
2006 Windmills of the Soul Instrumentals Plug Label
2008 Kero One Presents..Plug Label Plug Label
2009 Early Believers Plug Label
2010 Kinetic World Plug Label
2012 Color Theory Plug Label
2015 Reflection Eternal Plug Label


Year Title Label
2012 "What Am I Supposed to Do?" featuring Suhn Plug Label
2010 "When the Sunshine Comes" featuring Ben Westbeech Plug Label
2008 "Get Down" featuring Aloe Blacc Plug Label
2006 "In All the Wrong Places/ Give Thanks" (Sound Providers Remix) Plug Label
2005 "My Story" Plug Label
2005 "Keep It Alive" Plug Label
2004 "Check The Blueprints" (King Most Remix) Plug Label
2003 "Check the Blueprints" Plug Label

Collaborative Works[edit]

Year Title Label
2013 Kesna Music - Is It Love? Plug Label
2012 Kero One - Love's Gonna Getcha (feat. Dynamic Duo & DFD) Plug Label
2012 Kero One - Love's Gonna Getcha TV Instrumental (feat. Gaeko of Dynamic Duo) Plug Label
2012 Sam Ock - Pieces (feat. Kero One) SAM OCK
2010 Anan Ryoko - Forever We Will Be (feat. Kero One) Blues Interactions, Inc.
2009 Kero One - When the Sunshine Comes (feat. Epik High) Plug Label
2009 Kero One - Let's Just Be Friends (feat. Dynamic Duo) Plug Label
2009 Kero One - Keep Pushin' (feat. Tablo of Epik High) Plug Label
2009 Kero One - Goodbye Forever (Choice 37 Remix) (feat. Ben Westbeech & Choice 37) Plug Label
2009 Epik High - Rocksteady (feat. Kero One, Dumbfoundead, MYK, Rakka) Map The Soul Inc.
2009 Epik High - Map The Soul [Worldwide Version] (feat. MYK, Kero One) Map The Soul Inc.
2008 Talib Kweli - "In the Pocket" (Kero One Remix) Manhattan Records/HMV
2008 Nomak feat. Abstract Rude - "Hi, Mom! - A Prayer For World Peace" (Kero One Remix) Huge Soul
2008 Pe2ny - "Wake Up" (feat. Kero One, Myk) Mnet Korea
2008 Rashaan Ahmad - "Here We Go" (prod. by Kero One) Om hiphop
2008 DJ Motive - "Reach for the Star" (feat. by Kero One) Mohowks Records
2007 Dynamic Duo - 지구본뮤직 (feat. Kero One) CJ Music
2007 Lanu - "It's Time" (feat. Kero One) Tru Thoughts/Ubiquity Records
2007 Choice 37 - "Conversate" (feat. Kero One & El Gambina) Subcontact Records
2007 Himuki - Innervision (feat. Kero One) S.O.U.Records/Milkdipper/Nunki Inc.
2006 Surreal & DJ Balance - Yeah Boy (Beat By Kero One)(feat. Theory Hazit) Hiphop IS Music


  1. ^ Ningin. (2009-06-01) "Interview with Kero One and a shout out to Ningin" 'Ningin. Accessed 2013-03-13.
  2. ^ Garcia, Cathy Rose A. (2009-06-15) "Rapper-DJ Kero One Makes Waves in US" Korea Times. Accessed 2009-11-05.
  3. ^ JpopAsia. "Kero One’s bio" ‘’jpopasia’’. Accessed 2013-03-13.
  4. ^ Ningin. (2009-06-01) "Interview with Kero One and a shout out to Ningin" 'Ningin. Accessed 2013-03-13.
  5. ^ Ethel. (2013-01-24) "Behind The Scenes | Stevie Wonder Concert ft. Kero One" Audrey Magazine. Accessed 2013-03-13.
  6. ^ (2013-04-23) “Kero One & Esna Form Kesna Music” ' Accessed 2013-07-17.
  7. ^ [1], additional text.
  8. ^ [2], additional text.
  9. ^ [3], additional text.
  10. ^ [4], additional text.

External links[edit]