tiger sniper

My Top 10 Korean Hip Hop Albums

My top 10 (or 11 or 12 or… fuck it I put everything on there) Korean hip hop albums:

These go in no particular order.

Also, not too many bangers in this list… don’t get me wrong, I love bangers, but they simply don’t get much rotation on my list.

I will post both a personal and objective score. I don’t do the 1-10 in the 10% by 10% steps… I group the scores together in a scaled %.

-         1-3 is horrendous. This is a small % of albums, ~15%

-         4-6 is average. This is the majority of albums, ~70%

-         7-8 is excellent. Very few albums are in this league, ~10%

-         9 is top of the line. Extremely few albums can get this score, ~5%

-         9.5 is the 1%. It is the best of the best.

-         10 is my personal favorite. This doesn’t below in the %’s. Objectively, the score could be anything from 1-9, but it just tickles your fancy, floats your boat, whatever other cliché you want… To others, it could be just meh, it could be great, nothing special, whatever… but for you, it’s perfect, there’s nothing else in the world that compares to it. It’s YOUR special little star (kind of like how parents view their children. Hey, to you it’s a fucking runt, but to me, it’s my special angel).


1.      The Quiett – Vol.4 Quiett Storm: A Night Record

To date, this is the album that immediately comes to mind as a good album. This was from the Soul Company days (Ah the good old days haha). Masterfully crafted, it features The Quiett at his best – mumbling rhymes, beautiful beats, heavy hitter features, and perfect mixing and mastering, i.e. sound quality. It also gave birth to a beast of a track that remains a standout song and perennial favorite to remix – Airplane Music. Was it an influential album? Probably not. What it did was prove that the Korean hip hop scene was capable of putting out music that could hang with the best in terms of pure sound quality.

Recommended tracks:

-         Airplane Music (Feat. Basick, Rimi, Beenzino, Fana, San-E)

-         Be My Luv Remix (Feat. B-Free, 넋엽샨 ‘NUCK’, Paloalto, Junggigo)

-         Never Q.U.I.T.T.

Personal score: 9.5/10

Objective score: 9.5/10

2.      Jerry.K – 현실,

This is a sleeper great. What I mean by that is that whenever I sit down with a cup of coffee and think about a beautiful album to listen to while working, writing, or reading, this one is always included in that list. The title means “Realistic” if the comma isn’t there, but with the comma, reads as “Reality, [the] enemy”. Jerry.K is a wonderful soul – lyrics, themes, depth, heart, etc etc… it is one of the few albums that I give a true 10/10 to. If somebody tells you their favorite album is this… hug them. They’re a fellow soul.

Recommended tracks:

-         먼지 쌓인 기타 (Feat. 정차식) [Trans: dust laden guitar]

-         Stay Strong (Feat. Mayson the Soul

-         묵념 (Feat. Sleeq)

-         둘만 아는 말투 (Feat. RaD, Paloalto)

Personal score: 10/10

Objective score: 9/10

3.      B-Free:

a.       희망  [Trans: Hope]

b.       Korean Dream

c.       Love Last Forever

B-Free is in that weird gap between the old school guys and the new school kids. I put three up from his discography – two albums and a single. First, let me go into why I like B-Free so much – when he decides to write a heartfelt song, it hits hard. That’s why I put Love Last Forever, a single, up there. It’s a beautiful song that shows B-Free at his very best. Yes, he is rather brash and seems to be rather short-sighted more often than not, but I honestly don’t really care because of his great music. He’s been going in this weird direction (I blame the Cohort kids), but I’m hoping he gets back to his roots. Korean Dream is arguably better than Hope, but I put the latter up there too because of the impact on the scene at the time (not that it was groundbreaking, but it was at that time where the underground’s old guard were fading away and there didn’t seem to be a new guard coming up to replace it besides a select few individuals).

Recommended tracks:

-         희망  [Trans: Hope]

o   Loco 2 (Feat. Paloalto, Huckleberry P)

o   Coffee Break (Feat. Bizzy)

o   Anything (Feat. Kimparkchella)

-         Korean Dream

o   Hot Summer (Feat. Loco)

o   불타 (On Fire) (Feat. Cokejazz)

o   느껴 (Feat. Kid Ash) [Trans: Feel It]

o   뻔한 사랑 노래 [Trans: same old love song]

o   Song for My Mama

Scores in this order: 희망, Korean Dream, Love Last Forever

Personal score: 8/10, 9/10, 10/10

Objective score: 7/10, 9/10, 9.5/10


4.      불한당 (Bulhandang) - 절충 3 : 불한당들의 진입과 전투 Part.1 & Part.2

The group comprised of A.Jay, Artisan Beats, Chaeyoung, Daepahl, DJ Skip, DJ Pandol, Fascinating, Jay Kay, Kebee, Keeproots, MC Meta, Minos, Naachal, NUCK, Optical Eyez XL, P-Type, Rhyme-A-, Sean2slow, Snowman, The Z, and Wimpy (as far as I know… there could be more or less, such is the nature of crewdom). It’s just pure hip hop in all the tracks by the pioneers. Zero pop sensibilities on this track, and that’s just the way I’d have it. Think of it as a compilation of beast tracks, instead of a coherent album (meaning, you don’t need to play this thing from beginning to the end, just play the tracks).

Recommended track:

-         불한당가 [Bulhandanga] (Personal score: 10/10. Songs just don’t get better than this)

-         진입과 전투

-         불한당’s Oblige

Personal score: 9.5/10

Objective score: Depends on what you like. Probably 8/10 for most, 9.5/10 if you’re a head.

5.      Rhyme-A- – NBA

Is it an influential album? Hell no. But it’s an example of an album that does everything right. Lyrics? Check. Theme/Depth? Check. Features? Check. Beats and flow? Check and check. Add a sex anthem into the mix and you have a banger. It’s one of those albums that has a clear storyline from the beginning to the end, with Rhyme-A-‘s retelling of his youth and the confidence and bravado that comes with it, and ending with his realization through his experiences and maturation that he is not, as he had once thought, a “natural born artist”. Maturation of artist? Check. Overarching narrative? Check, check, check, check, and check.

I highly highly recommend his first album, “Hommage”, but I’ve lost my copy and can’t seem to find another one.

Recommended tracks:

-         NBA

-         Real Recognize Real (Feat. Suda, Huckleberry P, Minos)

-         Background Music [oooh he like it nastay]

-         Realize/Epilogue

Personal score: 9.5/10

Objective score: 9.5/10

6.      Drunken Tiger: in order of release

a.       Year of the Tiger

b.       The Great Rebirth

c.       The Legend Of…

I’m going to be honest – I haven’t liked any of Drunken Tiger’s albums since Shine left. Not that I don’t like Bizzy, but I think he’s wasted in MFBTY. He’s got so much potential and I’d like to see him release his own album without having to do bullshit collaborations… anyways… (sigh, this is a post for another time, but MFBTY’s Tiger JK just seems like a completely different person from the Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger…I guess they need to make money, but I miss pre-mainstream Tiger JK. I hated all of their recent songs. Hey, call it hip hop snobbishness.) Anyways, I think the first two albums Year of the Tiger and The Great Rebirth are the most influential albums from their discography, but I personally love The Legend Of… the most.

Recommended tracks:

-         Year of the Tiger

o   너희가 힙합을 아느냐? [Trans: Do you know hip hop?]

-         The Legend Of…

o   Good Life

Personal score: 9/10’s across the board. I listen to it because they were ground breaking at the time. I’ll occasionally press the skip button.

Objective score: mm…. maybe 8/10, 7/10, and 9/10, in the order of the releases.

7.      MC Sniper:

a.       So Sniper…


c.       How Bad Do U Want It?

d.       Museum

e.       B-Kite 1

I love MC Sniper. To be super cheesy, his music plays with my soul (throws up from the cheese). His brand of hip hop mixes classical, traditional Korean, and poetry. He’s also never afraid to talk about societal issues. Are his rhymes the most complex? No. But I would argue that he writes the most beautiful, deeply poetic lyrics, and his lyrics would not sound out of place at a spoken word bar. If I had to choose just one album from those listed above, it would be “BE IN DEEP GRIEF” or “Museum”. But in reality, I can’t choose because of how much MC Sniper has influenced me.


Recommended tracks: (Bolded are my personal favorites)

-         So Sniper…

o   힙합에 이한몸 바치리 [Rough Trans: devote my body to hip hop]

o   BK Love (Feat. BK)

o   기생일기 [Trans: Diary of a prostitute]

o   솔아솔아 푸르른 솔아

-         BE IN DEEP GRIEF

o   Gloomy Sunday

o   신의 시 (Feat. BK)

o   Puregal (Feat. AG)

o   네 자루의 M.I.C. (Feat. Room9, 飛刀승우, Illinit)

o   달빛의 노래(Feat. 유리) 

-         How Bad Do U Want It?

o   봄이여 오라 (Feat. 유리)

This is THE song by MC Sniper that I listen to more than anything else. Is it pop-ish? Kind of. But when my grandaunt passed away this summer, I listened to this track to help ease the pain.

o   우리집

o   떠나는 너와 남은 나 (feat. MC BK)

-         Museum

o   마법의 성 

o   이별의 숲 

o   나인코드(Feat.샛별) 

o   사람의 마음이 이리도 쉽게 변할줄은 몰랐어 

o   Wind

o   I Wander(헤매다…) 

-         B-Kite 1

o   Rinpoche

o   자러가자 (Feat. BK)

Personal score: 10/10.

Objective score: Can’t be objective for him.

8.      Deepflow – 양화 [Trans: Yanghwa]

Deepflow is scary at first, but the more you see him on social media, the more lovable he gets. He’s OG, leader of the new school, a cute maknae (youngest), a big dependable hyung (older brother), etc etc… he occupies nearly every position in the hip hop scene. Anyways, 양화 is his magnum opus, an amazing album laced with his usual Golden Era East Coast gritty flow and layered personality. It’s had a huge impact on the Korean scene, establishing Vismajor as THE label for hip hop keeping shit real, and solidifying Deepflow’s position as a legend-in-the-making for Korean hip hop. It also spawned “작두”, arguably the track of the year, and “Bucket List”, an ode to his father, which makes me tear up every time. Do I see Deepflow topping this album? Probably not. This was Deep at his most vulnerable and sincere. In all likelihood, he’ll go back to the braggadocio and bangers for VMC’s sake. But here’s to the possibility that he’ll his sentimental side out on occasion.

Recommended tracks:

-         작두 (Feat. 넉살[Nucksal], Huckleberry P) [Trans: grasscutter]

-         Bucket List (Feat. 우해미)

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfZrIT9RZ7M

Personal score: 10/10

Objective score: 9/10

9.      Defconn – Macho Museum

You know why NOBODY shat on Defconn since he’s gone mainstream with variety appearances? Because their career would be over, that’s why. Defconn was one of the original “gangster rap” musicians, having been in the scene since ~2000. He’s also known for his collaborations with Verbal Jint and was really the first in the Korean hip hop scene to master storytelling. He’s got incredible versatility, too, as evidenced by his more heartfelt and gentle songs. No matter what he does nowadays, he’s left us with a treasure trove of wonderful songs. In any case, he has to be the only one on this list who’s representative song is a live performance of a featuring, “소멸”, which was a song on Analozik’s album. It’s a live that’s left its mark as the ultimate story telling song of Korean hip hop (and leaves you with goosebumps and sends chills down the spine). If you can get a translation, do try to read it.

Recommended tracks:

-         독고다이 [Trans: all by myself]

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBGvekeweow

-         그녀는 낙태중 (Feat. Yankie, Akira, Beenzino) [Trans: she’s getting an abortion]

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGh2yKSvKxE

-         Father [non-album]

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ssfpb7J1UlA

-         소멸 [Trans: extinction]

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1TU3db12Eo

Personal score: 10/10

Objective score: 7/10


10.    P-Type:

a.       Heavy Bass

b.       The Vintage

If you’re a lyrics nut, listen to these two albums by P-Type. Not much else to explain about how influential P-Type has been in the industry.

Recommended tracks:

-         Heavy Bass

o   Don Quixote

o   Musiq Noir

-         The Vintage

o   비를 위한 발라드 [Trans: ballad for the rain]

o   수컷 [Trans: male]

o   소나기 [Trans: rain shower]

Personal score: 9/10

Objective score: 8/10

11.    Paloalto – Daily Routine

Mr. P himself, the man behind Hi-Lite, ½ of P&Q, He’s a little mellow and he’s a little like Coke Zero – all the flavor, none of the baggage. Daily Routine is Paloalto at his introspective best. Perhaps not influential, but it was well received at the time, and paved the way for his creation of Hi-Lite Records. [He’s strongly associated with Jungle (and moreso with Tiger JK and his crew).] It’s also an album that, for some reason, constantly finds its way to the most played list. If anything, I’d compare this album to comfort food– you know what it’s going to taste like, but you know when you want good food, you can always depend on it.

Recommended tracks:

-         가뭄 (Feat. Beenzino)

-         City Lights (Feat. 넋엽샨 (NUCK), Jinbo)

-         Enough (Feat. Kimparkchella)

Personal score: I want to give it a 7/10, but it has GOT to be the most played 7/10 ever… so maybe it’s an undercover 10/10.

Objective score: … I don’t fucking know.

12.    Huckleberry P

a.       PINOcchio (as part of PINOdyne)

b.       gOld

He used to be more known for his freestyles, but I don’t think he does much of that anymore. He’s your rapper’s favorite rapper. He’s also got a pretty big fan base in Korea. He’s vowed to never go on TV (except EBS Space, because that’s an actual music program). We love Huck P (that’s a rule, btw. If you like Korean hip hop, you must love Huck P). In all seriousness, he’s a great artist whose songs often reflect the more introspective side of people. I disagree with many people about gOld. Many think it’s blergh, I personally love it. And PINOcchio is just… ah… it’s that bar that you go to when you’re sad, when you’re feeling flirty, etc… it ranges the entire the emotional spectrum. I love 쓰다 [bitter] in particular (it’s about a particularly difficult break up, and man… it just reminds you of “that one person”.

Recommended tracks:

-         PINOcchio

o   손만 잡고 잘께 (Feat. Kuan, 샛별)

o   쓰다 (Feat. 김사랑) [Trans: bitter]

o   RE:허풍쟁이 (Feat. Crucial Star)

o   pAin (Feat. junggigo)

o   고마워서 (Feat. Soulman)

-         gOld

o   Rap Badr Hari

§  Yo… he doesn’t even perform this at shows… he just turns on the beat and the audience raps it for him.

o   불효막심 (Feat. 화지, JJK, Jerry.K)

o   무언가無言歌 (Feat. Ignito, MC Meta)

o   Page. 64

Scores in order of PINOcchio then gOld

Personal score: 10/10 and 9.5/10

Objective score: 9.5/10 and 9/10

13.    Femcee shoutout: Rimi – Vol.2 Awesom Bitchhhh!!!

Rimi was part of Overclass, with VJ, Swings, and San-E. She was an awesome bitch who ran shit. In this era of many femcees… none have yet matched Tasha or Rimi. Sleeq is pretty close though… probably the best femcee out there in the scene, in my opinion. Not a fan of Cheetah, the longer I listen to her shit.

14.    E-Sens & Nucksal

Yea, I reserved a spot just for these two. With E-Sens’ Anecdote FINALLY coming out… and Nucksal ripping up every single song that he’s been featured on… yeah. I’m putting my money on them to drop the next great albums. (I am of the opinion that E-Sens is one of the best to ever grace the mic in the Korean hip hop scene).

Anticipation level: infinite.

Albums/artists that were influential, but didn’t make the cut:

-         Kinetic Flow – Challenge 4 da change

-         Dynamic duo/CB Mass – albums #2-5

o   DD is one of those groups that’s legendary and puts out amazing songs, but they’ve yet to make an entire album great. Their legacy is solidified for sure though.

-         TBNY

-         Epik High – I just don’t like their music. Never was a fan. No clue why.

-         Infinite Flow (Bizniz & NUCK)

Artists that are extremely influential, and it pains me to say this, but I just don’t listen to or enjoy as much as I should, so stop staring dammit!:


-         Keebee

-         Minos (unless as part of Noise MOB)

[note: oh my god, it actually hurts to put those three on there… what’s WRONG with me?]

Good albums/artist that don’t make the cut, despite how much I love them, due to how influential (or rather, how un-influential) they were:

-         Ignito – Demolish

-         Vasco – Guerrilla Muzik’ Vol.1 Prologue

o   Features for DAAAAYYYYYYYS son.

-         J’Kyun – RE:Birthday

-         WuTan – ZOORECA

o   Tracks: Ballad Rap, No Role Model

o   I don’t know why, just not… top N material. His best is yet to come and I am very excited about that.

-         Crucial Star – Midnight

o   Pop sensibility for miles.

-         Fana

-         Born Kim

-         Together Brothers – Radio Station

-         M-Zero

-         Sleeq

Artists that people like (and may be influential), but I don’t:

-         Baechigi

-         JJK

-         Dok2

-         Beenzino

-         JTong

-         Outsider

-         Dead’P

-         Verbal Jint

-         San-E

-         Double K

-         Simon D

-         Primary

-         Soul Dive (I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW…)

Producer special! (I kept these separate)

-         Loptimist – Mind Expander

I believe this was released during Soul Company days. Huge back in the day.


-         Pe2ny – Alive Soul Cuts

Pe2ny’s pretty well known overseas in the Jazz-hop scene because he participated in Cult Classic Records’ Friends & Family 3 album. Alive Soul Cuts was also a heavy hitter. Pretty legendary, actually, and people are waiting their butts off for a sequel.


-         Code Kunst – Crumple

Just a solid album.

-         Insane Deegie – Bleu Film: 2 jazzy 4 hiphop series, Deegie’s in True Mental series

Never was a fan, never was not a fan, but man… this is one of the guys who’s left a mark as both an MC and a producer, and he really caught my attention with the Bleu Film: 2 jazzy 4 hiphop series. If anybody says that hip hop isn’t music, have them listen to these.

Albums/Mixtapes that you should listen to if you can find them (most are 9.5-10/10 for me)

-         Rhyme-A- – Hommage

-         Ichiban – Maestro Vol. 1

-         Diego – Yokohama Love

o   Lovely and unique. Get your hands on this one if possible.

-         7人 St-ego – 7人 St-ego [pronounced chill-in-stego]

o   B-SHOP, KyFish, Huckleberry P, Swings, XL, YOYOGOON, RAMA

o   Thought they’d all get huge… but only Huck P and Swings did. Good songs though

-         Double Trouble – Trouble Makers

o   Duo of Basick and Innovator (both of SMTM4 fame, though they’ve been moving since mid 00’s)

-         Maslo – Young MAStory

o   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgF_SOidc98

-         E-Sens mixtapes

There you have it folks.

it’s kinda sad how some people who claim to be huge fans of k-hiphop have never even heard of artists like drunken tiger, mc sniper, outsider, leessang or primary (and of so many other influential and important artists but it would take too much time to list them all here). also it makes me cringe when those some people say they listen to many underground hiphop artists when in reality they just fangirl over some show me the money contestants and idol rappers.

House arrest - the prince of hell

Jim groaned and dragged a hand down his face.
He was currently under house arrest hand had been for the past 2 years… Not long really but annoying…

His dad - Hades and nod mom Persephone (mostly his mother but his dad didn’t care for the extra work either) had gotten fed up of him killing humans left right and centre for money and it crossed the line when he went and shot himself to make the detective jump.

So here he was forced to take over his dad’s job, a young God, sitting on his throne, looking over the underworld, giving judgement over the newly dead…

He groaned just wanting to be on earth with his sniper… His tiger… How he missed him.

He saw the fates cut another string… Only for him to jolt and grip his chest.

“WHO DID YOU CUT!” He screamed in panic, standing up from his throne, being heard throughout the whole of the underground.