Second Spin: “Follow the Flow” of Epik High’s Underrated Tracks
Second Spin puts the spotlight on songs that have remained out of it. It’s the chance to showcase some of the unpromoted tracks that are overshadowed by the signature songs in the featured artists’ discography.
Epik High, consisting of Tablo, Mithra, and DJ Tukutz, is undeniably one of the most popular Korean hip-hop acts, well-loved by both underground hip-hop fans and the mainstream audience.
Starting out in the underground scene way back in the early 2000’s working with CB Mass, the group eventually found their footing in the music scene with Woollim Entertainment, enjoying steady growth in popularity over time. After the rise and fall of their independent label Map the Soul, and now with YG Entertainment, Epik High’s certainly had their Ups and downs. Nonetheless, they are once again returning to their Fans with the release of their eighth album “Shoebox.” With the release of another new Epik High album, let’s look back in time at ten underappreciated gems from Epik High’s diverse discography.
Any opinion expressed in this column is from the writer only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Soompi Editorial Team and its management.
“GO” from “Map of the Human Soul,” 2003
“GO” marked Epik High’s energetic entrance to the hip-hop scene, as it is the track that opens their very first album, “Map of the Human Soul.” Tukutz’s smooth old school beats, Tablo and Mithra’s introductory verses, and the catchy hook make this track a truly timeless Epik High classic.
“November 1 (feat. Kim Jae Suk of Wanted)” from “High Society,” 2004
“November 1” is a tribute track that the group wrote in dedication to musicians Yoo Jae Ha and Kim Hyun Sik who both passed away on November 1.
As the featured artist Kim Jae Suk’s group-mate Seo Jae Ho of Wanted passed away only a month after the release of this song and the album, the song has since been associated with the tragic loss of the talented musician as well.
“Let It Rain (feat. JW of Nell)” from “Swan Songs,” 2005
First of the many collaborations Epik High had with rock band and close friends Nell, “Let It Rain” is a beautiful song where Jongwan‘s voice perfectly complements Tablo and Mithra’s sentimental lyrics. “Let It Rain” is a sad, well-crafted song perfect for a moody rainy day.
“Track List (feat. DJ Zio)” from “Remapping the Human Soul,” 2007
Epik High’s fourth album “Remapping the Human Soul” is considered their finest by many critics and listeners alike, and every single song on the two-disc album is a gem. “Track List” is especially notable in its incorporation of famous song titles by a variety of artists (ranging from Seo Taiji and Boys to Baek Ji Young) in the lyrics. Epik High pulls a similar trick on “Scenario” from “Map the Soul,” where they use movie titles throughout the lyrics.
“Scapegoat (feat. Sweet Sorrow)” from “Remapping the Human Soul,” 2007
One of the many reasons why “Remapping the Human Soul” was so lauded upon its release was because of how Epik High directly tackled social issues in the songs. “Scapegoat” is one example of that, as it criticizes war and religion. Tablo’s English verse is striking in its lyricism, not to be missed.
“Pieces of You (feat. Jisun)” from “Pieces, Part One,” 2008
Truly beautiful, “Pieces of You” is a sincere song about treasuring those who are precious to you. Tablo later published a book of short stories that was also titled “Pieces of You.”
“Eight by Eight (feat. Double K, Dok2, TBNY, Dynamic Duo)” from “Pieces, Part One,” 2008
Before “Born Hater,” there was “Eight by Eight.” Sampling Rakim and Nas, and featuring established rappers Double K, Dok2, Topbob, Yankie, Gaeko, and Choiza, this track is all about swag and that hip-hop attitude. Later, Epik High followed up with “Eight by Eight Part Two” in “Map the Soul,” which featured another eight prominent rappers.
“Habit (feat. Ha Dong Kyun)” from “Lovescream,” 2008
From Epik High’s first EP “Lovescream,” “Habit” is a gorgeous, dark song about deterioration of habitual relationships. It is also one of the fine collaborations between Epik High and singer Ha Dong Kyun, who is a close friend of Tablo.
“Sensitive Thug (Skit)” from “[e],” 2009
If you were getting used to the sad tone of some of the other Epik High songs on this list, this one might take you by surprise. “Sensitive Thug” is a funny skit on Epik High’s two-disc album “[e]” showing that sometimes the trio enjoys having some silly fun with their music. Another similar track is Epik High’s collaboration with comedian Jung Hyung Don called “Electric Gangster,” in which DJ Tukutz even raps.
“Home (feat. Lee Sora)” by Tablo from “Fever’s End,” 2011
Tablo is the only member of Epik High who has released an official solo album. From his critically acclaimed “Fever’s End,” “Home” is undoubtedly one of his most heartfelt works in recent times. Calling sadness his home, Tablo raps of the most difficult time of his life when he was even hesitant to let his loved ones in on his sadness. Accompanied by haunting vocals by Lee Sora, “Home” is a truly unforgettable song.
Epik High has proven their versatility over the years, portraying a myriad of genres and styles in their music. From their humble start in the underground scene over ten years ago to where they are now, these three friends have certainly had a long and dynamic journey so far. Here’s to another ten years for these three talented artists!
Soompiers, what are some of your favorite Epik High songs that deserve a Second Spin?
ddangha is a writer at Soompi who got seriously interested in K-pop after coming across Epik High in 2007. She has a mild obsession with Tukutz’ hands, and she would rather not talk about “99.” When she isn’t writing for Soompi, she can be found on her blog writing some more about Korean music.