So what’s on my Kpop music list? Here are my loves and my guilty pleasures.
This time are my R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap all stars. My forays into Korean Hip-Hop have been limited and I mostly listen to Korean-American artist, but damn are they good. Hip-Hop and Rap are genres that are most fully appreciated and enjoyed when you know the language you’re listening to, so I tend to listen to music that has some English in it. You can follow the hooks and flow, and the intricacies of language that make good hip-hop and rap so satisfying and engaging. Here in the US, Asian American artist in Hip-Hop and other genres of music are making their mark in the underground scene, many in California, but there are a few on the national radar like Far East Movement, or the ubiquitous Black Eyed Peas.
Supreme Team is Simon Dominic and E-Sens. They have mad skillz! Their songs and raps have such an easy and slick flow it makes me stop and just listen when their songs come on my ipod. They seem to rap without effort, but they only make it sound easy because they are so good.
What can I say? I love every time they come up on my ipod. Led by Tiger JK, they’ve been active since the 90’s. They’re prolific with a long discography with at least nine albums.
Yoon Mi Rae / Tasha
She is someone I want to know. That’s the feeling I get when listening to her songs. She seems so cool and down-to-earth. From her music I get the impression that she is a happy and soulful person who gives off a positive energy. Yoon Mi Rae (Tasha Reid) also has a beautifully layered and soulful voice. She’s able to integrate elements of R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop and Rap in her music and it doesn’t feel forced, but instead very natural. 검은 행복 Black Happiness and Black Diamond are my favorite songs of hers, especially Black Happiness which has an inspiring and positive message that always makes me feel good when I hear it.
A crack combination(!)- an extremely talented artist, but also a pure guilty pleasure all wrapped up in one. Those are the best. He sings beautifully, he dances and raps, and he has personality and style by the barrels. He was meant to be a solo artist so I’m glad he’s left his 2pm days behind.
Jay Park has a beautiful voice made for Pop and R&B.
Possibly my favorite South Korean artist. If you only check out one South Korean artist, they are it, especially if you are a fan of Hip-Hop. They have a wonderful discography reaching back almost a decade which means there are tons of songs to rifle through as you learn about the group. When I first learned about them, I spent days trying to figure out what music to buy from their albums since I couldn’t afford to just buy everything they’ve ever made. And yes, I wanted to buy it all!
I find it fascinating that they bridge the Korean and English language in their songs and love that interplay. Their lyrics are so visual and poetic. They have mad flow and memorable beats and their music has depth. Listening to them made me want to learn Korean just so I could know what they were saying. My favorite albums are Map of the Human Soul; 魂 Map the Soul; Remapping the Human Soul: The Brain; (e)nergy, and (e)motion. My favorite songs are Orchestras. Spotlights. Turntables. (feat. MYK); Over; Butterfly Effect from the album Lovescream; and 피해망상 Paranoia Pt. 1 (feat. Junggigo), possibly my favorite song of theirs, I’ve listened to it 438 times (and counting) on my ipod. ♥
Epik High is Tablo, Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz. Tablo recently released solo work, Fever’s End Part I and Part II. Fever’s End is a contemplative and deeply emotive album. I can listen to the album from beginning to end easily. I tried to pick out my favorite tracks, but I found I was listing every song.
There’s an entire (troubling) story told in this song.
Airbag from Tablo may be equally troubling