10 Korean Hip Hop Tracks That Are Iconic
If you’re a rap fan and haven’t got the chance to discover Korean hip hop yet, then you are missing out. Rappers from all different categories (underground, indie, idol, and label) have brought to the table a handful of tracks that are simply iconic. Some of them are even part of the aforementioned categories interchangeably. A killer flow, flawless diction, and a takeaway message equal a recipe for excellence.
Ready to navigate this epic genre? Here is a selection of Korean hip hop tracks that are epic.
3RACHA – “Matryoshka”
Stray Kids’ fierce sub-unit consists of Bang Chan (CB97), Changbin (SPEARB), and Han (J.ONE) and lets their lyrics do the talk for them. The trio raps about burying all their struggles while putting their growing success in the front for all the haters and the doubters to see. In reference to the Russian doll, they address that they carry an abundance of challenges within to keep improving themselves.
(G)I-DLE’s Jeon Soyeon feat. BIBI & Lee Young Ji – “Is this bad b****** number”
Talk about a triple threat: Jeon Soyeon, BIBI, and Lee Young Ji channel their intimidating skills to deliver this badass rap. Each rapper puts her envious opponents back in their place with a flawless flow to set the record straight about them being everlasting in the game.
Zico – “Extreme”
Zico goes real and raw in this marvelous depiction of what makes up the pieces of himself as an artist and a person. In a well-thought-out lyrical delivery, he fully acknowledges himself and the parts that may seem extreme to prying eyes.
PSY feat. Jessi – “GANJI”
“GANJI” (or swag) is what happens when two rappers dripping with swagger join forces. On one hand, PSY flaunts his idol/rapper/performer attitude with arrogant gratitude and teases Jessi about her lyrical game. Jumping in, the fierce unnie claps back and fends for herself as she confidently spits bars in Korean and English interchangeably.
WINNER’s Mino feat. BIGBANG’s Taeyang – “Fear”
Who doesn’t recognize this epic live performance? Mino shattered both the stage and the audience with this sincere and heart-wrenching take on how fear affects our lives. As he beautifully put it, the only way to conquer our fears is by going through them.
CL – “HELLO BITCHES”
C to the L all the way! The best way to give homage to the one and only CL is by featuring this very track because it simply encapsulates her essence as an artist. From her lyrical style to her stage presence, and add to that her performative touch, the rapper knows how to mark her territory and serve us ultimate bops.
BTS – “DDAENG”
I don’t know about you, but this jam always has me going “DDAENG!” with every listen. BTS’s rap line has a distinct style separately, but together they serve us harmony on a plate with a dash of wordplay. Such is the case for “DDAENG,” which humbles anyone who ever second-guesses BTS’s talent or success.
Dynamic Duo feat. EXO’s Chen – “nosedive”
There’s nothing like a woke artist, and Dynamic Duo definitely makes the list! Joined by Chen, Choiza and Gaeko address people struggling with depression and offer comfort and support via their heartwarming and consoling lyrics.
WIN Team B – “Climax”
How far are you willing to go to make your dreams come true? Yesterday’s WIN Team B is today’s iKON, and they embraced hardships like champs. The track tackles failure, motivation, and perseverance as catalysts that will guide you to achieve your goals in life.
Epik High – “Bleed”
If you’ve been reading on Soompi for a while, you may have noticed that Epik High is featured in all of my rap articles. The reason is simple: their music speaks to me at every turn. Out of their entire discography, “Bleed” fits the bill here because Tablo and Mithra Jin narrate their musical journey between past and present to DJ Tukutz’s soulful instrumentals. That narration carries the core of Epik High’s career, their relationship with their fans, and their dedication to lasting in the hip hop scene as long as it takes. This, right here, is the definition of timeless.
A special nod to:
BewhY – “Scar”
Jay Park – “All The Way Up”
Loco feat. Gray & DJ Pumkin – “RESPECT”
Simon Dominic – “Simon Dominic”
MFBTY Feat. EE, BTS’s RM, Dino-J – “Buckubucku”
Which iconic Korean hip hop track is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!
Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast. She recently published her debut poetry collection “Scribbles of an INFJ: A Journey into Healing” on Amazon. Say hi to her on Instagram!