Is Psy the beginning and the end of your K-Music knowledge? Well, listen closea s Korean music of all genres now has a huge worldwide following. Due to the rise of the internet, Korean music is more readily available worldwide than ever before, causing a huge surge in popularity for Far-Eastern music and culture. Dubbed the ‘Hallyu Wave’, this huge growth has benefited the entirety of Korea’s music industry – including the hip-hop scene, which is exploding with skilled rappers.
Put any doubts about language barriers aside, and wrap your ears around some of my favourite Korean hip-hop Artists!
One of the top rappers in my music library, Swings, is one of the most well known Korean-American rap artists in South Korea. He first made his mark in 2008 with his début album Upgrade, and has only gained more popularity from there. His verses are littered with witty puns and disses, and he is the (self proclaimed) “Punchline King”. ‘Bulldozer’ is one of his fiercest tracks, and he doesn’t hold back on the dissing (watch it with subtitles on YouTube for the full effect!)
Dok2 (pronounced Dok-ee, due to the Korean pronunciation of the number two) has been writing, rapping and producing since he was signed to Future Flow Entertainment aged just 13. Since then, he’s released numerous albums and EPs and collaborated with many others. He has also recently become the co-CEO of 1llionaire Records, one of the most respected indie record labels for K-hip-hop. I love his raspy vocals and distinct delivery.
Tablo is probably most famous in Korea as on third of the hugely successful hip-hop group Epik High. However, it is his solo music that really sucks me in; dark and subdued rap lyrics are layered over beautiful melodies to create Tablo’s signature sound. The song is taken from part 2 of his album Fever’s End, and the entire collection is truly haunting. One of my most frequently played albums from beginning to end!
LOCO is the most recent rapper on this list to make his breakthrough – since he won the Korean rap reality show “Show Me The Money” in 2012, he’s signed to AOMG and released one of the most hyped albums of last year. He’s already featured on my Top Tracks Of 2014, so I’m excited for the things that are to come from him – he has huge potential.