Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Korean Rap Would Be Successful in the U.S.

Recently this year, I have further gotten into Korean rap music. I started with only listening to Tasha, who is a bit underrated right now, but mixed R&B and rap together and on top of that comes from a mixed background. She is deep, truthful, and beautiful like Lauryn Hill. I also enjoyed another disappeared talent Lexy. She is unafraid and crosses the borders of strong women taking over the typical male role in the rap/hip-hop scene like Da Brat or Trina. Untouchable is a talented duo that had diversity to their sound. They could allure women with smooth R&B sound and equally smooth rap lyrics to something that goes hard with attitude and delivery. Lastly, speed rappers e.via and Outsider that blew me away with their topics, speed, accuracy, and entertainment value.

From there, I have wandered off to amazing performers MC Sniper, Epik High, NassuN, Leessang, and a few others. Their sound was refreshing and reminded me of what I used to love about rap and hip-hop.

I grew up with the genre and fell out of it somewhere in the beginning of the 2000's when talentless rappers reigned supreme. No one cared about lyrical content, everyone had the same sound and image, and a lot of the songs had some sort of stupid dance attached to it. It was driving me crazy, so I became more and more drawn to other genres I grew up with (i.e. rock and pop). I steadily clung onto my old school rap ranging from the 80's to the 90's and joined the crowd of people who believed that rap/hip-hop died with Tupac and Biggie.

In college, a music history teacher pointed out to everyone that Asia was behind with music trends and I knew that when I was introduced to jrock. Getting into k-rap further proves this theory and I'm not complaining. A lot of it is reminiscent of the sounds of rap/hip-hop of the 90's here. Sure, I believe some Korean rappers are trying too hard and putting on a fake facade, but we're guilty of that here as well.

The old sound is one reason I think it would be successful. I know I'm not the only one who thinks the genre has gone down the toilet. I honestly don't even know what it sounds like now aside from the sell out dance club sound. For those longing the sounds of the 90's, Korea is the way to go!

Although, making k-rap successful takes a great deal of openness. From years of observation, I believe that rap/hip-hop listeners are the hardest to crack. One factor may be due to race and trying to keep the genre a "black thing". I think we've been overprotective since Vanilla Ice came out, overshadowing actual good non-black talent in that era. But I think Eminem has broken a little piece of the racial barrier. I don't understand how we're willing to let others try their hand at R&B, but not rap/hip-hop.

We have Robin Thicke and Joss Stone who are both non-black artists who have been successful talents in the R&B genre. As you can see Eminem and Beastie Boys are hanging in there representing for the white boys. We've accepted reggaeton which is a mixture of hip-hop and reggae elements like Daddy Yankee and Sean Paul. We've even had Jamaicans and Latins make it in the hip-hop industry in some point in time, so why can't we let the Asians give it a try.

We need to crack our hard shells and open our ears to the greatness that is flowing from Korea. Ignore the fact that they're a different race and their English isn't perfect. Simply recognize the talent and passion they present their fans. I know a lot of them are trying their best to improve their English skills and when that happens, I think they should gain some ambition and venture to America where the rap/hip-hop industry is strong and more profitable.

Are you ready to open your mind yet? Well, let me give you a little taste of what Korea has to offer so you can take the first step in creating this great vision.

Previously, I mentioned Tasha, Answer, and Leessang in my suggestions on who would be successful. Unfortunately, Nicki Minaj has been a raising talent and has been collaborating with great talents like Usher and, so why can't Korean rapper Rimi do the same and possibly better. They share a somewhat similar flow, but I think Rimi is more creative lyrically than Nicki and could boot her out the spotlight.

Duos like Supreme Team and 2winS would probably do well here. Supreme Team carries an attitude (or swagger) that can be hard hitting, but fun. They have a wide range to their style and reach audiences most rappers would have a hard time receiving. On the other hand, 2winS puts rap and R&B together in a powerful package. They can woo the ladies and provoke deep thoughts that listeners can relate to easily, like their debut song "Bleeding". Not only do they have the perfect sound, but one of their members BumKey can speak English. One Way also shares a similar style to 2winS, but they have two smooth R&B voices and one rapper. They are also fluent in English as I believe one of them is from California and the other two are from Australia.

Some rappers take their style in a more artistic way by using classic elements into their music and painting a vivid picture with their deep lyrics such as Outsider, Epik High, and MC Sniper. Like the 80's and 90's, rappers used the situations that were happening around such as current events, politics, and life's struggles. These rappers test censors and push the limits of freedom of speech without being vulgar.

Of course, these are not all the rappers from Korea. There are so much more just waiting to be discovered and I'm sure they would fit well in this lovely established rap community we have here in America.


Samantha Her said...

OMG, I don't know if this is an old post or not but I LOVE YOU and you're analysis on the hip hop industry in the US. I'm also a proud listen of korean music so it was great to see you list all of the wonderful and talented artists in the korean underground/hiphop scene. ^^v

Samantha Her said...