A Facebook friend back in Atlanta where I'm from posted the video above of Korean rappers Dok 2 (Doki), Bobby, The Quiett, YGGR, and Master Wu, and said "I don't know what they saying, but they going hard". Subsequently, others commented and were shocked to see Koreans rapping with that Atlanta "trill" beat or sound. This sound has become popular in the last 6 months here in the ROK. They play it in coffee shops, grocery stores, and the dentist's office. My students, sometimes at the most random moments, come up to me saying "Teacher, Turn Up!" or "I'm a born Hater" from rap group Epik High's hit song. Since before coming to Korea about 18 months ago, I've been more or less obsessed with a particular Korean rapper Beenzino. His laid back, fun, yet incredibly rhythmic lyricism keeps me wanting more. I have been trying to get to a Beenzino concert since I got here, but never had the time. Well, I decided not to let another Beenzino concert go by this year without me being there, so I bought myself a nice Christmas present and traveled to Seoul for the concert.
Korean Hip-Hop has gone from a minuscule underground concept to a major force in bridging Korea with pretty much everyone else. Popular programs like Show Me the Money (rap battle show), showcase Korea's up and coming rap artists with "rap" dreams. Even some black folks have tried out and made pretty far in the competition, spitting rhymes not only in English, but in Korean as well. Hip-Hop in Korea takes a backseat to K-Pop. Let's put it this way, Korean Hip-Hop is still climbing out of the trunk. *Sidenote*: I was watching TV one day and I saw that Coolio was hosting a HipHop show that taught Korean rappers how to be "hard" and whatnot...yeah I changed the channel real quick. Anyway, Korean rappers make pennies compared to American Hip-Hop and Rap stars and they know it. However, their shows are continually selling out and their international following is growing everyday. KHip-Hop's biggest artists include Amoeba Records' Dynamic Duo and Primary, Epik High, Swings, YDG, SanE and the Illionaire camp Beenzino, Dok 2 Doki), and The Quiett, and most recently from Show Me the Money Bobby. In fact in March there will be an Amoeba Culture Tour in Atlanta and New York. Don't sleep on Korean Hip Hop.