Koreans rap? The rest of the world was mostly oblivious to the fact until the dancing horse of the Far East came and crushed the International airwaves with the stupidly infectious pop tune that’s “Gangnam Style.” But let’s hold off on the gimmicky party steps and satirical lyrics for a moment. By rapping, XXL means spitting bars, punchlines, and vivid stories like Jadakiss (gasp), Big L (double gasp), or even Nas (triple gasp). You probably thought Koreans only made syrupy K-Pop records, Samsung cell phones (they’re not Japanese), and nuclear weapons (that’s North Korea). But there’s been an established rap scene for nearly 15 years. While it’s not quite yet an industry, whether as a contender in the pop market, or a successful indie genre, in Korea, hip-hop and rap are prevalent and well with artists, stars, and heroes of their very own.
With Psy continuously caking off his viral hit, and a Korean-American R&B/hip-hop trio named Aziatix announcing their recent deal with YMCMB, the time is better than ever to introduce the best rap acts from the Land of the Morning Calm.