Korean hip hop has advanced by leaps and bounds from the early days when it consisted of a handful of experimental rappers struggling to find flow and originality in the Korean language. Several talented artists, many of whom are listed in this previous SeoulSync post, have helped legitimatize the genre and mold it into what it is now. Korean hip hop today has diversified itself—it is a mix of the mainstream and the underground, the soulful lyrical works to the base-heavy party jams. The robust genre has been pushing international boundaries as well; Korean hip hop collaborations with American artists are becoming more prevalent, resulting not only in the blending of cultures, but also in a greater international awareness of the expanding genre of Korean hip hop. So, without further ado…

 

Must-listen Korean hip hop collaborations with notable American artists

“Love’s Gonna Getcha” by Dumbfoundead X Dynamic Duo X Kero One

In this smooth track, Korean-American rappers Dumbfoundead and Kero One team up with the well known Korean hip hop pair Dynamic Duo to express the pitfalls of looking for love. This Korean hip hop collaboration features raps in English by Dumbfoundead and Kero One and a soulful chorus and rap by Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko and Choiza, respectively. There’s also an amusing outro of Dumbfoundead expressing his struggles with women in his imperfect Korean.

 


 

“AEAO” by Dynamic Duo prod. by DJ Premier

Here’s another song with Dynamic Duo. While there’s no actual American rapper featured in “AEAO”, this track is still the perfect collaborative example between American and Korean artists. DJ Premier, the highly distinguished veteran producer in the American hip hop game, supplies the smooth instrumentals, samplings, and beat to Gaeko and Choiza’s rap about the ups and downs in following their dreams.

 


 

“Hood” by Tablo X Joey Bada$$

Korean hip hop artist Tablo and Brooklyn native Joey Bada$$ are considered lyrical masters in their own right. In “Hood”, the two rappers blend their unique styles together to produce a seamless track, a reflection of how two cultures are unified in this song by a distinctively human experience. Tablo introduces the abstract Korean concept of Han, while Joey’s verses detail the injustices in his life, emphasizing the universality of the Han sentiment.

 


 

Niliria” by G-Dragon feat. Missy Elliot

G-Dragon (21 facts!) may be the epitome of K-pop idol, but he’s also known for having some pretty impressive rap chops. “Niliria”, featuring samples of a traditional Korean folk song, was originally a G-dragon solo single. However, he teamed up with the famed Missy Elliot at KCON 2013 to bring this hype song to the masses.

 


 

“It G Ma Remix” feat. A$AP Ferg, Father, Dumbfoundead, and Waka Flocka Flame

You may have heard of the  “잊지마 (It G Ma)” original, the trap-heavy number that featured underground Korean rappers Keith Ape, Okasian, and JayAllDay and Japanese rappers Loota and Kohh wilding out in a hotel, subsequently blowing up on the Internet. The song’s immense popularity and controversy boosted the previously unknown Keith Ape into the spotlight. The 21-year-old Korean artist has a music style unlike anything in the realm of current Korean hip hop; he’s known for his heavy American southern-rap inspired sound. Keith Ape has since gained a greater recognition in the U.S. than in Korea. After blowing up on the Internet, “It G Ma” was remixed by prominent U.S. rappers A$AP Ferg, Father, Dumbfoundead, and Waka Flocka Flame, bringing us the video above. Keith Ape has several other Korean hip hop collaborations with American artists, which can be found on his Soundcloud.

 


 

 “Underwater Rebels” by Ken Rebel feat. Keith Ape, Okasian, and JayAllDay

Keith Ape, Okasian, and JayAllDay have since worked with Brooklyn’s Ken Rebel to create the ultimate hype song “Underwater Rebels”. The untamed track starts with a synth inspired by the traditional Japanese Samisen, and includes rapping and cussing in both English and Korean, tearing down international borders in an unconventional way. The music video features the crew running wild in the streets of New York City amongst a horde of fans.

 


 

“미친놈 (Success Crazed)” by Jay Park feat. Gray, Loco, Simon Dominic, and Trinidad James

Jay Park, one of the biggest names in Korean hip hop today, brings together three other members of his record label AOMG, along with Atlanta rapper Trinidad James to produce this track about the climb to the top.

 


 

“Rainstorm” by RAINSTONE feat. Brian McKnight, San E, and Verbal Jint

Produced by eminent Korean producer RAINSTONE, “Rainstorm” infuses dubstep and synth with Brian McKnight’s soulful crooning and San E’s and Verbal Jint’s rapping to create a blend of unexpected and unique sounds.

 


 

“Flower Café” by JooHeon feat. Sam Ock and I.M

This warm and fuzzy song features two “idol rappers”, JooHeon and I.M (Lim Chang Kyun) from the hip hop group Monsta X, showcasing their talents in a song of a style different than their group’s usual sound. Sam Ock, a Korean-American singer, carries the feel-good melody and chorus.

 


 

“I’m Not Sorry” by DEAN X Eric Bellinger

DEAN is the young Korean R&B vocalist gaining traction in both Korea and the United States for his unique vocal style. His collaboration with the mega-accomplished singer-songwriter Eric Bellinger on this vibrant club track is the follow-up to his American debut “Here & Now” featuring Mila J. Although DEAN’s verses in these songs are solely in English, he does sing in Korean too. Check out the song “풀어(Pour Up)” featuring DEAN and prominent Korean rapper Zico.

 


Can you think of any more Korean hip hop collaborations with American and other international music artists? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Cover photo

About The Author

Kelly Yoon

Kelly is currently a college student majoring in marketing and international business. She loves sneakers, photography, and large cities.