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,
4-6 is average. This is the majority of albums,
7-8 is excellent. Very few albums are in this
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).
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.
Airplane Music (Feat. Basick, Rimi, Beenzino,
Be My Luv Remix (Feat. B-Free, 넋엽샨 ‘NUCK’,
Personal score: 9.5/10
Objective score: 9.5/10
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.
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
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).
희망 [Trans: Hope]
Loco 2 (Feat. Paloalto, Huckleberry P)
Coffee Break (Feat. Bizzy)
Anything (Feat. Kimparkchella)
Hot Summer (Feat. Loco)
(On Fire) (Feat. Cokejazz)
느껴 (Feat. Kid Ash) [Trans: Feel It]
뻔한 사랑 노래 [Trans: same old love song]
Song for My Mama
Scores in this order: 희망,
Korean Dream, Love Last Forever
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).
불한당가 [Bulhandanga] (Personal score: 10/10. Songs just don’t get
better than this)
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.
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.
Real Recognize Real (Feat. Suda, Huckleberry P,
Background Music [oooh he like it nastay]
Personal score: 9.5/10
Objective score: 9.5/10
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.
너희가 힙합을 아느냐? [Trans:
Do you know hip hop?]
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
Objective score: mm…. maybe 8/10, 7/10, and 9/10, in the
order of the releases.
a. So Sniper…
b. BE IN DEEP GRIEF
c. How Bad Do U Want It?
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)
힙합에 이한몸 바치리
[Rough Trans: devote my body to hip hop]
[Trans: Diary of a prostitute]
솔아솔아 푸르른 솔아
BE IN DEEP
신의 시 (Feat.
Puregal (Feat. AG)
네 자루의 M.I.C. (Feat. Room9, 飛刀승우,
How Bad Do
U Want It?
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.
떠나는 너와 남은 나
(feat. MC BK)
사람의 마음이 이리도 쉽게 변할줄은 몰랐어
Personal score: 10/10.
Objective score: Can’t be objective for him.
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.
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.
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.
비를 위한 발라드
[Trans: ballad for the rain]
[Trans: rain shower]
Personal score: 9/10
Objective score: 8/10
Paloalto – Daily
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
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.
(as part of PINOdyne)
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”.
손만 잡고 잘께
(Feat. Kuan, 샛별)
(Feat. 김사랑) [Trans: bitter]
(Feat. Crucial Star)
pAin (Feat. junggigo)
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.
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.
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
Kinetic Flow – Challenge 4 da change
Dynamic duo/CB Mass – albums #2-5
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.
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
Garion (GAHHHHH KILL ME THIS IS SACRILEGE)
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
Features for DAAAAYYYYYYYS son.
J’Kyun – RE:Birthday
WuTan – ZOORECA
Tracks: Ballad Rap, No Role Model
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
Pop sensibility for miles.
Together Brothers – Radio Station
Artists that people like (and may be influential), but I don’t:
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’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
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
Lovely and unique. Get your hands on this one if
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.
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.