Hip-hop is a cultural movement created in the late ’70s in New York City. This cultural genre involved: MCing/Rapping, DJing, B-boying, and Graffiti art. Hip-hop is mainly inspired by some stylistic genres such as funk, disco, electronic, jazz and rhythm&blues.
Throughout the last decade, Korean Hip-hop took a major part of the mainstream scene in Korea and abroad.
South Korea was first introduced to the Hip-hop culture between the late ‘80 – the early ‘00. The most popular and respected artists were Seo Taiji&Boys, Drunken Tiger, Jinusean or Epik High. These rappers were the pioneers of the Hip-hop culture in Korea, they analyzed the American writing methods, followed the fashion trends and incorporated some Korean and Western influences in their beats.
Due to the language difference with their Americans peers, rhyming was difficult for the Korean scene considering the grammatical structure. Verbal Jint was one of the first rappers to innovate the rhyming of the Korean Hip-hop scene. His technique was widely followed by the other underground rappers afterward.
As I mentioned earlier, hip hop is a culture. In Korea, the rhymes may not be about racial discrimination or life in the ghetto but there are some serious matters as mental health, education system or social pressure.
In 2012, the TV show Show me the money introduced Korean Hip-hop to the mainstream public. This rap competition is a mixture of both rookies, underground and famous rappers. The constants are judged by experienced rappers from renowned Hip-hop labels like Aomg, Hi-lite, Just Music or Illionaire. The show has also gained popularity with the participation of the Kpop idols Song Mino and Bobby. The appearance of top celebrities on the show had led the wider audience to the Korean Hip-hop scene. There are several hip-hop related shows aired on the major TV channels such as High School rapper, My major is Hip-hop or Sign Here.
The increasing popularity of hip-hop in South Korea has also seduced the general public by its raw lyrics and sometimes the unfiltered communication with their community.
Even though Korean Hip Hop is influenced by its Western counterpart, the cultural context has shown a different approach to the hip hop movement. Korean hip hop is not only focusing on the writing skills but on the fashion and the scene performances.