In life, you never know what can push a person over the edge. Beef, a new Netflix comedy series that premieres on April 6, hilariously explores what can go wrong between two people in the heat of the moment.
Created by Lee Sung Jin from his own road rage experience, Beef follows the aftermath of a road rage incident between two strangers — Danny Cho (Steven Yeun), a struggling contractor who thinks that the world is against him, and Amy Lau (Ali Wong), a successful entrepreneur with a seemingly picture perfect life — and explores how their interaction with each other has unforeseen implications.
Rounding out the stellar cast are Joseph Lee, Young Mazino, David Choe, and Patti Yasutake.
HipHopDX caught up with some of the cast members of Beef, who spoke about their respective roles in the series and some of their favorite beefs in Hip Hop.
Yeun shared that although his character is quite outlandish, he was able to connect with and convey the humanity of Danny, who is all about settling beef. He credited the writing of Jin as the catalyst for his performance.
“I think that acting to some degree is the art of bringing a little bit of yourself to these roles,” Yeun said. “But I think that Sonny really excavated this character and he wrote something so true that it felt like who isn’t this person? Who aren’t these people? So it felt very relatable.
“Every character felt relatable to me. Sometimes I feel like Amy, sometimes I feel like Danny, sometimes I feel like George. There are so many many characters that everyone can identify with.”
“I feel the same way,” Wong added. “I think that it was Sonny’s goal for every audience member to walk away with a different favorite character and to not have it be a landslide to me or to Danny but, you know, maybe people are rooting for Team George or Team Naomi. It’s a really colorful cast of extremely beautiful, complicated and flawed characters.”
“I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite, but I grew up mostly at the height of Biggie vs. 2Pac,” she said.
According to Yeun, when it comes to beef in Hip Hop, it has to be a contest of equals before he considers it to be a real battle.
“After making this show, the thing that I really see about beef, especially in the Hip Hop world, is that it’s not real beef or a battle unless the rappers are equals. They have to be evenly matched,” Yeun argued. “Sometimes, I think they secretly probably really love each other and really respect each other. That’s why they beef, you know what I’m saying?”
Joseph Lee, who plays George in the series, spoke about how he saw parts of himself in his character and how it guided his approach to each scene.
“George obviously comes from a completely different background and family circumstances as myself,” Lee explained. “But Sonny really provided enough seeds in there from a human standpoint for me to really connect with George.”
Young Mazino, who plays Paul, recalled being drawn to the script because Yeun and Wong were involved in the series. Initially, he thought he wouldn’t receive a call back.
“I mean it’s A24, Netflix, Steven Yeun, Ali Wong. The series was definitely stacked. I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m getting this.’ Then I sent the tape. I don’t need to hear anything else. Let’s make this happen. I was excited to find out that I would be a part of the cast,” Mazino said.
“The writing in the audition process was very, very solid. It definitely stood out for sure,” Lee added.
In regards to rap beefs, Lee didn’t hesitate to name a classic song as his favorite diss track of all-time.
“To me, I think Nas’ ‘Ether’ is just one of the greatest songs of all time, even if it’s a diss track. It’s just it’s pure magic,” Lee said. “But I would have to go with Nas as my favorite track about beef.”
Mazino took a different approach to the beef question and paid tribute to one of his favorite rappers, the legendary MF DOOM.
“I would say MF DOOM and mortality. I wish mortality went away because I think MF DOOM was the G.O.A.T.,” he said. “God bless his soul.”
Beef is streaming now on Netflix!