January 1, 2015

TOP 8: Asian Hip-Hop Videos

   Yellowmenace counts down the 8 greatest Asian Hip Hop Songs of all time.
Thaitanium (ไทยเทเนี่ยม) - Bong Tong
   With Asian Hip Hop it's really difficult to find decent artists. The problem w/ most Asian Hip Hop is that it's not legit, meaning it's lots of upper class Beiver-esque pretty boys who identify w/ 'bling rap' or have 'gangsta' fantasies. You also get lots managers & producers packaging up some dopey sucka as an MC because their market research indicates hip-hop is trendy.   
Epik High (에픽하이) - Born Hater
Keep reading to see the
Top 8 Asian Hip-Hop Artists of All Time.
   It's easy to hear a true flow when an MC is rhymin' in a language I don't understand. I also believe that certain languages' allow for a smoother rhyme flow, eg. Korean & Thai.
Illslick - Get Loy
   So what the hell do I know? 
   I am by no means a hip hop expert, but I know what I like. I'm also old as dirt & been down with rap since 1983, so my tastes remain mostly with the old school. There are very few new flows that impress me. 

8) EPIK HIGH - Born Hater
       YouTube  -  Facebook  -  Store

   Epik High started off as a hip hop group but quickly shifted to cater more & more to middle school girls w/ lots of soft slo-mo romantic rap or K-popped up electro dance beats w/ catchy choruses.
Epik High (에픽하이) - Born Hater
   Epik High (에픽하이) is a South Korean alternative hip-hop group from Seoul, composed of Tablo, Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz. The group is known for combining different styles of hip hop, along with different musical genres and collaborations on each album.

7) KISH - Crates to Concrete

   He was in the game only briefly & that was, so long ago, but I just had to included fellow Japanese-Candaian Kish. I couldn't find the video for this song, however I think the song still stands up on its own.

   Andrew Kishino (born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a Japanese-Canadian voice actor in video games, animation and voice-over narration
Kishino was formerly known as Kish, a rapper who is considered as a one-hit wonder for his 1991 hip-house joint "I Rhymed the World in 80 Days", which was accompanied by a music video that received airplay on MuchMusic
   via: Wikipedia

6) THAITANIUM - Bong Tong
       YouTube  -  Facebook  -  Store

   I've been down w/ Thaitay since '06. They have produced many great tunes. I chose 'Bong Tong' because it's newer, but marks a return to their roots. In the past few years w/ age & popular acceptance their music has become more toned down & palatable for the masses. 
Thaitanium (ไทยเทเนี่ยม) - Bong Tong
   Thaitanium (ไทยเทเนี่ยม) is a Thai-American hip hop music group. Among the first Thai rap artists, the group was formed in 2000 by Khanngoen "Khan" Nuanual, Prinya "Way" Intachai, Nay Myo "Day" Thant. The group has released five albums, has performed for the MTV Asia Awards and was an opening act for 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

  South-Side, Phuket-born Khan attended university in the United States in the late 1990s and became part of the hip hop house party scene in San Francisco. At around the same time, a New York City-born Thai rapper, Way had moved to Thailand and was trying to start a rap scene in Thailand. When Khan and Day returned to Thailand, they met Way and Thaitanium was formed.
   via: Wikipedia

5) CHO PD - My Style

   Cho PD's style has always been very mainstream w/ oriental sounding melodic electro beat yellow-eyed soul. I've never been a huge fan, but w/ My Style he hit it out of the park & said everything he had to say. The beats, the flow, the video, everything about this single is just perfect.

   Cho Joong-hoon (조중훈; born January 21, 1976), better known by his stage name Cho PD, is a South Korean hip hop record producer and rapper.
   via: Wikipedia

4) DRUNKEN TIGER - The Cure
       YouTube  -  Facebook  -  Official
   Drunken Tiger started off w/ what I call middle school style, paying respect to the old school & 4 elements, with an intellectual, personal & nostalgic tone. They went on to focus on more social & political issues, while collaborating w/ lots of musicians outside of hip hop. Of all their music, I chose The Cure because of the acoustic rhythm & mature, soulful rhymes. It's the culmination of years of writing, living & performing music. 
Drunken Tiger (드렁큰 타이거) - The Cure
   Drunken Tiger (드렁큰 타이거) is a critically acclaimed Korean/American hip hop group which debuted in 1999 and has since released nine albums. They are best known to be the arguable founders of the Korean hip-hop genre.

   Drunken Tiger's central figure has been Korean American Tiger JK. Other members affiliated with Drunken Tiger are DJ Shine (left in 2005), Micki Eyes (Mike Amiri), DJ Jhig, and Roscoe Umali. In 2013, Drunken Tiger reformed to include Yoon MiRae and Bizzy.

   Tiger JK was born in Seoul, South Korea on July 29, 1974. At the age of 12, JK moved to Miami and then Los Angeles with his family. While living in LA, Tiger JK witnessed the tension between Korean Americans and African Americans during the L.A. riots. JK, already an avid follower of hip-hop, was inspired to bridge the gap between the two ethnic cultures using his rhymes.
   At only 16 years old, he collaborated with Micki Eyes and a friend, Sucram, to compete at a local hip-hop festival in 1992. As a result, JK released his first solo album, "Call Me Tiger". The album had some brief buzz, however, due to censorship put on his title song "Hide and Seek," the album received limited publicity.
   He teamed up with partner, DJ Shine, in 1998 and the two debuted under the name Drunken Tiger. Their first album, "Year of the Tiger," was seen as widely controversial given that the lyrics touched upon taboo topics such as sex and anti-establishment. Unlike their mainstream hip-hop counterparts, Drunken Tiger wrote their own lyrics, had creative freedom and did not resort to choreographed dancing. This caused much controversy in a conservative, predominantly pop driven music industry. However, their defiance of the norms was considered a major breakthrough in the Korean hip-hop movement.

   In March 2000, Drunken Tiger released their 2nd album, "The Great Rebirth," and introduced The Movement, a crew of Korean hip-hop artists whose goal was to bring real hip-hop into the mainstream. At the time, the Movement Crew consisted of CB Mass, Yoon Mi Rae, Uptown, and Kim Jin Pyo and has now expanded into a large collaborative of pivotal Korean artists, including Epik High, Eun Ji Won, Bobby Kim, Leessang, Dynamic Duo, Yang Dong Gun, and Sean2Slow.

   Their single, "Great Rebirth," climbed the music charts quickly, but was suddenly halted from progressing due to criminal investigation of Tiger JK for possession and dealing of narcotics in Korea during 1999. This led to the banning of Drunken Tiger from performing on public media for 2 years.
   via: Wikipedia

3) MC JIN - Learn Chinese
       YouTube  -  Facebook  -  Official
   Learn Chinese is like an anthem for Chinese hip hop fans. It's brimming with Asian pride & prophetic now that China has risen to be the dominant world power with the US heavily indebted to them & dependent on their manufacturing; better learn Chinese.
"Original Chinky-eyed MC"
   Jin Au-Yeung (歐陽靖) rapper, songwriter, and actor, performs under the stage name MC Jin. Born in Miami, Florida and later living in New York City, he decided to reside permanently in Hong Kong before returning to New York in 2012. He speaks both Cantonese and English fluently, although he is not literate in Chinese. In the United States, he was the first Asian-American solo rapper to be signed to a major hip hop record label.
   via: Wikipedia

   MC Jin gained his fame from freestyle battlin' culminating with several appearances on BET's program 106 & ParkFreestyle Friday. This got him signed to the Ruff Ryders label, but he was never able to bring the same kind of energy & clever phrasing he showed in battles to his studio albums.

   Jin has gone all born again christian, which is fine, but I can't relate at all to his rhymes anymore. 

2) CB MASS - Around my Block (동네 한 바퀴)
       YouTube  -  Facebook  -  Official
   When I first saw a CB Mass video on Korean TV back in 2003, I was sure they were going to blow up & popularize hip hop in Korea. I was sooo wrong. The problem was that they were too authentic, even though they were rhymin' in Korean their style & beats were in line with American hip hop, which was too raw & aggressive for most Korean kids.

   CB Mass signatures are smooth R&B hooks from the 60s & 70s, a toned down version of the Run DMC/ Beastie Boys 'pass the mic' style & honest lyrics about their actual experiences.

   CB Mass (Critical Brain Mass) was a Korean hip hop group featuring members Choiza, (최자 - Choi Jae-ho 최재호), Gaeko (개코 - Kim Yoon-sung 김윤성) and Curbin. Choiza and Gaeko originally met in the sixth grade. In 1998, they met a fellow rapper Curbin and created CB Mass.
   The group debuted in 2000 under Drunken Tiger's wing and released: MassMediah in 2000, Massmatics in 2001, and Massappeal in 2003. They disbanded later in '03 after a heated public dispute where Curbin was accused of stealing money from the group.
   After CB Mass broke up, Gaeko and Choiza formed Dynamic Duo
   via: Wikipedia

1) ILLSLICK - Get Loy
       YouTube  -  Facebook
   I chose Illslick 'Get Loy' as my favorite because of the bluntified reggae beat & smooth lyrics by a variety of underground Thai artists. You can groove to this tune no matter what language you speak, because, after all cheeba is the universal smoke signal.

   Illslick, aka Thikhumporn Whetthaisong rose to the top of Thailand’s underground hip-hop scene with his unique fusion of 80s R&B, hip hop and Thai influences, he quickly rose to the top of Youtube and viral charts with standout hits such as 'M-leg' & 'I Need a Girl'.
Illslick - Get Loy
   From humble beginnings in Chiang Mai, Thailand, he first created a name for himself in 2006 as an Audio Battle standout. It wasn’t long before he released his own mixtape, “ILLSLICK Fixtape Vol. 1“, with immediate buzz across Thailand. 2011′s “ILLSLICK Fixtape Vol. 2Livin’ Legend” only further cemented his name, with his official music video releases gathering over a million Youtube plays each. The undeniable success of his third “Fixtape” release, “ILLSLICK Fixtape Vol. 3" has proved to the doubters his staying power in the underground.

   All these videos + many more Asian hip-hoppers who didn't make the list on my:
YouTube Playlist

   So that's my list, I know lots of Koreans on there that comes from living there for 10 years. I did try to check out some mainland Chinese & Filipino rappers, but I didn't find anyone who impressed me.

   Honorable Mentions: With only 8 musicians some had to be left off, but these are a few were oh so close to making the list.
Dumbfoundead aka Parker
- Masta Wu
- Awich

   Who would be on your list? Tell me down in the comments.

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