Uptown (band)

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Origin South Korea
Genres Korean hip hop
Years active 1996–2000, 2006–2010
Members Chris Jung (1996-present)
Carlos Galvan (1996-2006)
Steve Kim (1996-2006)
Tasha Reid (1996-2000)
Jessica H.O (2006)
Maniac (2009-2010)
Snacky Chan (2009-2010)
Swings (2009)

Uptown (Korean: 업타운) is a pioneering South Korean hip hop group that formed in 1996. The group's four original members were Chris Jung, Carlos Galvan, Steve Kim and Tasha Reid.[1][2]

The group underwent several line-up changes during the 90s and disbanded in 2000 following drug charges against Jung, Galvan, and Kim.[3] When Reid left Uptown to pursue a solo career, the group made a comeback without her in 2006 with the album Testimony.[1][4] Teenage rapper Jessica H. O. joined the group for the album.[5] Jung was the only remaining original member on the group's 2009 album, New Era, which featured new members Maniac, Snacky Chan, and Swings.[6] Uptown has been inactive since its 2010 album Surprise! [7]

Original members[edit]

Chris Jung[edit]

Chris Jung (Korean name: Jeong Yeon-joon; born January 5, 1968 in Seoul, South Korea), is the group's leader and only remaining original member. Prior to forming Uptown, he made his solo debut with the single "하루 하루 지나가면 (Go Through Each Day)" in 1993.[1][8]

Carlos Galvan[edit]

Carlos Ricardo Galvan (Korean name: Lee Hyun-soo; born February 5, 1978 in Savannah, Georgia) is a founding member of Uptown. He is Korean and Mexican-American. In 2003, he and Uptown member Steve Kim formed the duo Uptown 3000. After ultimately leaving Uptown, Galvan joined the hip hop crew Jiggy Fellaz and released his first solo album, Still Standin' in 2009. He released the album South Side in 2010.[2][9]

Steve Kim[edit]

Steve Kim (Korean name: Kim Sang-wook; born April 16, 1977) is a founding member of Uptown. In 2003, he and Uptown member Carlos Galvan formed the duo Uptown 3000. Kim was arrested in 2001 on drug charges and deported from South Korea to the United States. In 2004, he was arrested in California for suspected murder, but charges against him were dropped in 2005.[1][10][11]

Tasha Reid[edit]

Main article: Yoon Mi-rae

Tasha Reid (Korean name: Yoon Mi-rae; born May 31, 1981 in Fort Hood, Texas) is a founding member of Uptown. She is Korean and African-American. She left the group in 2000 to pursue a solo career using the name T. She has since released several successful albums and singles, both as a solo artist and as a member of hip hop group MFBTY. She is married to "godfather of Korean hip hop," Tiger JK.[4][12]

Other members[edit]

Jessica H.O.[edit]

Main article: Jessi (musician)

Jessica H.O. (Korean name: Ho Hyun-ju; born December 17, 1988 in New York City, New York) moved to Korea when she was 15 to pursue a singing career. She released her first single, "Get Up" in 2005" and joined Uptown the following year. She appeared on Uptown's 2006 album Testimony before leaving the group. She is now known by the name Jessi, both as a soloist and as a member of the trio Lucky J.[5]


Maniac (real name: Michael Horton; born in Nuremberg, Germany), is a Korean and African-American rapper who grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Gary, Indiana. He was a member of hip hop crew Jiggy Fellaz from 2007 to 2009. He joined Uptown in 2009 after Jessica H.O. introduced him to Chris Jung. He left the group after recording their 2010 album Surprise!. In 2011, he collaborated with fellow former Uptown member Snacky Chan in a duo called New Dynasty.[13]

Snacky Chan[edit]

Snacky Chan (real name: Roy Kim) is a Korean-American rapper who grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started rapping in Boston before he moved to Korea in 2008 and joined Uptown in 2009. He recorded two albums with the group and left in 2010. He collaborated with former Uptown member Maniac as part of the duo New Dynasty. He also created his own label, Dynasty Muzik, in 2011 and continues to release music as a solo artist.[14][15]


Main article: Swings (rapper)

Swings (Korean name: Moon Ji-Hoon; born October 14, 1986) made his solo debut in 2008 before joining Uptown in 2009. He left the group at the end of the same year. He released music under Brand New Music, before leaving in 2014 to work on his own label, Just Music Entertainment.[16][17]


  • 1997: Represent
  • 1997: Represented...Now Believe
  • 1998: Mutual Best
  • 1998: Chapter 3 in History
  • 1998: Absolute Power
  • 1998: Verbal Medication
  • 2000: History
  • 2006: Testimony
  • 2009: New Era
  • 2010: Surprise!

Uptown 3000[edit]

Uptown members Carlos Galvan and Steve Kim formed a duo called Uptown 3000 in 2002. The duo was signed to a label in Atlanta, Georgia and was meant to break into the U.S. hip hop market. However, they released only one album, 2003's Same Book Different Chapter, before disbanding.[2]


Year Award-Giving Body Category Work Result
2006 Mnet Asian Music Awards Best Hip-Hop Performance "Go To Hong Kong"[18] Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d "Uptown (업타운)". KBS World Radio. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  2. ^ a b c "Interview with Carlos Galvan". HalfKorean. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  3. ^ "Hip-Hop Group Arrested on Drug Charges". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition). 2000-04-30. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  4. ^ a b "T(Yoon Mi-rae) (티(윤미래))". KBS World Radio. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  5. ^ a b "The 10 Year Journey from Jessica H.O to Lucky J's Jessi". Koreaboo. 2015-02-07. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Uptown is Back with new faces". All Kpop. 2009-03-12. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  7. ^ "업타운, 7번째 정규 앨범 [Surprise!] 발표" [Uptown's 7th Album, Surprise!]. HipHop Playa (in Korean). 2010-08-25. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  8. ^ "정연준 (업타운)" [Jeong Yeon-yoon (Uptown)]. Melon (in Korean). Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  9. ^ "Interview with Carlos Galvan (2010)". HalfKorean. 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  10. ^ "Ex-Member of Hip-Hop Group Arrested in Slaying". Los Angeles Times. 2004-12-15. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  11. ^ "Murder charges dropped against Kim". The Burbank Leader. 2005-04-16. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  12. ^ "Yoon Mi-rae Returns to Her Roots". The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition). 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  13. ^ "Interview with Michael "Maniac" Horton". HalfKorean. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  14. ^ "Rapper, Dynasty Muzik Founder Snacky Chan On His Career, His Label And Why Psy Is Dope [EXCLUSIVE]". KpopStarz. 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  15. ^ "New Music: Snacky Chan 'The Jazz' EP". Vibe. 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  16. ^ "스윙스의 단독 콘서트, 'FREEDOM CONCERT ' 홍보영상 공개" [Swings release promotional video for solo concert "FREEDOM CONCERT"]. Hiphop Playa (in Korean). 2009-12-15. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  17. ^ "Swings Leaves Brand New Music to Focus on His Own Agency Just Music". Soompi. 2014-08-29. Retrieved 2016-04-10. 
  18. ^ "2006 MKMF Part 1 : I Love Punk - Haerang + Lee SungWoo/ Break Through-SS501/ The Queen Is Back! - Cocoboys and Dodogirls + Um JungHwa". MAMA. Retrieved 2014-10-26.