This year has definitely showcased the culture that is Korean Hiphop. There have been numerous people, songs and events that left an impression. So before the year ends, let’s look back at some of 2016’s bests.
Duo made up of rapper Kim Ximya and DJ-producer FRNK. The two immediately made a name for themselves after their debut as XXX alongside their EP “Kyomi”. With FRNK’s producing chops added with Kim Ximya’s lyricism and flow, the two has quickly won not just fans’ attention but also of music critics. Their debut song “Flight Attendant” was also given much attention especially with the music video that has caught the eye of people internationally. They’re unique style has paved way for their appearances on various shows including the Seoul Fashion Festival and being regular acts in clubs around Seoul. XXX is scheduled to perform at the SXSW 2017 alongside their labelmates, Glen Check. We can never predict what may happen next year but looking at how professional XXX is with their craft, we can only wait for more amazing music.
This 19 year old only has a year of experience in the music scene and only a handful of Soundcloud tracks in his discography. However, that didn’t stop Punchnello in showing what he’s made of. Starting off as a member of the crew Club Eskimo, he later on signed with HIGHGRND along with his crew members Millic and OFFONOFF. He was then featured in various tracks afterwards including LIVE’s “God Bless” and Penomeco’s “For You” before dropping his first official single album, “LIME”, showcasing his fresh rap style. This kid was highly accepted and supported by both his fellow artists and fans. And just to show that he made this year one not to forget, he just dropped a single featuring Hoody called “Worth It”. Hoping for more exposure and songs, 2017 may be another packed year for Punchnello, and we just can’t wait!
It is very rare to have an underground artist remain in the minds of people without anyone else backing them up. But who needs that when you have a mean rap style and music as showed by B-Jyun? You might not have heard of him but at TKL, you ask us which rookie we like? He’ll definitely be part of the list. With a mixtape and numerous singles to boast, BJyun showed his chops perfectly with the track “King’s Man” which just really went so hard, we had the song on repeat for two days when it dropped. He hasn’t been on Show Me The Money and he is an independent artist but being able to do his craft and be recognized for it is definitely a factor about him one must not overlook. We’re hoping 2017 will be even bigger for him and his crew Jaycobees.
1. Bermuda Triangle
Admit it or not, we know you liked this. The mere fact that three big names were on one song had everyone clutching their seats. And when that first beat dropped, we know you stayed to listen. This single dropped just last November which serves as an introduction to the crew FANXYCHILD, with each member showing off his best appeal, Zico’s fire raps, Dean’s fluid voice and Crush’s powerful voice.
2. EUNG Freestyle
At first, we just had to let this track by. Judging from the title, it must not have been well prepared. But when we saw Flowsik in it, we just had to give it a try. And yes. We were not disappointed. Actually… This was just THAT GOOD it was featured in a Youtube commercial and talked about various artists including Tyra Banks who tagged the song as “bananas”. More significantly, with the likes of LIVE, Sik-K and Punchnello, this song shows just how rookies can actually be really good. Not to mention that the beat was produced by Groovyroom, a fairly new, up and coming producer unit.
Each and every year, SMTM becomes the much awaited event of the year in the KHOP scene, when it comes to mainstream exposure. Even though you don’t win or get toa the finals, just having the show as part of your resume is already a plus factor if you want to become big. But more than the rappers, people are also interested in the songs produced for the contest. You can never deny that the songs released every year have become chart toppers. SMTM 5 showcased some of the best producers in the Korean hiphop scene and it was actually really hard to choose a favorite. But without much doubt, adding up all the factors a good song can have, music, lyrics, audience appeal, performance, style; we believe the best song goes to Boi B’s Horangnabi. Don’t tell us you don’t sing along to it. And don’t even tell us that you have never, not even once, tried to dance along to the chorus. Most surprisingly, while other SMTM5 songs appealed to the youth, Horangnabi reached out to all ages, even our grandpas and grandmas would shake their hips to this.
Fairly just starting a career in the middle of 2015 overseas, Dean’s name has gotten even bigger as time went by. The anticipation of him and his music was clearly set when his debut album “130Mood:TRBL” dropped in March with a track list that you cannot deny is actual perfection from start to finish. Although not a KPOP star and not having a big fanbase, the singer has been able to hop from country to country performing for his fans. Even among his fellow artists, he is often praised and applauded. More than just being the crooner that he is, Dean is also celebrated as one rising producer, making him land a spot as one in Unpretty Rapstar 3.
Hoody has been actively performing in the underground scene since 2013 but it wasn’t until she signed with AOMG that she saw more opportunities to perform to larger audiences and for her voice to be heard. Dropping her single “Like YOu” in the early half of the year, she then moved on to prepare for her first album. Despite having to wait for more than a year, the singer has recently just dropped “On And On” full of amazing songs and collaborations, with two of the tracks produced by herself.
We’ve heard TK before, producing songs for his crew members in Vismajor and other artists. This year, behold! He dropped his first album “Tourist” which showcased both his talent as a producer and surprisingly, his vocal skills. And for us, that’s a big point in getting our heart. We wouldn’t have known he had that kind of voice.