A South Korean purveyor of smooth, R&B-infused hip-hop -- involving himself in performance, songwriting, and production -- Primary is a prolific serial collaborator. In the six years following 2010, he placed no fewer than 34 songs in the Korean Top 100. Alongside countless singles, as part of a productive relationship with the successful indie label Amoeba Culture, he also issued two albums and four EPs of his own material -- and sat behind the production desk for many of that stable's artists -- before his relationship with the company came to an end in 2020. He responded that September with a largely instrumental EP through Paktory Company, entitled Boxtape.
Born Choi Dong-hoon in Seoul in 1983, he is not to be confused with the successful Korean film director of the same name. By the time he reached his early twenties, he was already using the Primary moniker for some his earliest musical exploits, with acts such as Garion and Dynamic Duo. 2006 brought Daily Apartment, a full-length collaboration with Beenzino as P'Skool, and by the end of the decade, Primary was producing the hip-hop duo Supreme Team's debut album. In 2011, Supreme Team joined Yankie and Mellow on Primary's debut single, "Magic Glass." Late 2012 saw the release of his debut full-length, Primary & the Messengers, which included the number three single and mysteriously titled "?," a collaboration with Zion.T and Dynamic Duo's Choiza.
In the next couple of years, Primary took a step away from recording his own material, and among other projects, he produced boy band MBLAQ's 2013 Top 30 single "Smoky Girl." In the same year, he staged a jointly billed, sold-out hometown concert with the aforementioned Zion.T. Primary's solo studio return came in the form of March 2015's Lucky You! EP, which included vocals from Oh Hyuk, frontman of the indie rock act Hyukoh. That summer, his appropriately titled second album, 2, was issued and featured the Top Ten singles "See You" and "Don't Be Shy." Three further Amoeba Culture EPs followed, culminating in a 2018 collaboration with K-pop singer Anda, the Do Worry Be Happy EP. 2019 proved to be one of the rare years in which a Primary-related track didn't trouble the charts. Clocking in at over an hour -- lengthy for an EP -- the following year's Boxtape was led by the Park Choa collaboration "Cloud," but mainly comprised instrumental mixes of previously issued Primary material. ~ James Wilkinson