We're already more than halfway through the year and there's been some incredible rap releases out of South Korea in the first seven months of 2019.
From legends coming back with new material to rookies establishing themselves with hit singles, there's a lot of great music to take in. Whether you're new to K-rap or a well-versed listener, we bet you'll find something to love in this list.
Have a look at our picks and tell us who you'd add to the list.
1. BewhY: "GOTTASADAE"
Where to even start with BewhY? "GOTTASADAE" is exactly what it sounds like, an anthem that predicts him as a legend, a history maker, as he continues to defy expectations with his epic releases that meld genre and style.
2. Epik High: "Lovedrunk"
You can't talk about Korean hip-hop without mentioning the legends that are Epik High. The trio returned with a new EP this year packed with songs to allay anxiety and insomnia, with this title track hitting hard.
3. Woo ft. Giriboy: "Taste"
Woo Won Jae's deep voice is like no one else in Korean rap right now, and this downright funk track uplifts his lyrics about his uncertainties in life, and wanting to figure himself out.
4. Loco ft. Zion T: "It's Been A While"
Loco's EP was at times melancholic, in other moments hopeful and grateful. This track is his nostalgic sign-off before entering the military.
5. Jvcki Wai, Young B, Osshun Gum, Han Yo Han: "DDING"
Jvcki Wai is one of the most interesting (and one of the only female) up-and-coming K-rappers gaining traction in the mainstream, thanks to her unique flow paired with unashamedly strong autotune.
6. HAON: "Flower"
The High School Rapper star captures the special bittersweetness of going from adolescence to young adulthood in this sentimental rap track that's incessantly catchy.
7. pH-1: "Like Me"
His lyrics are clever and the emotions behind "Like Me" are something anyone in a blossoming relationship can relate to. Produced by Mokyo - who seems to be behind many of this year's standout rap/R&B tracks - this is an easygoing song that lures you in.
8. Sik-K ft. Woodie Gochild, pH-1, HAON, Jay Park: "Water"
The Higher Music gang really can do no wrong at the moment and this banger is proof. Combining his signature autotune vocals with calypso percussion and a thumping bass, this is pure summer club music.
9. Bang Yongguk: "Hikikomori"
Yongguk's lyrics about feeling desperately alone and battling his depression and anxiety are intensely relatable and at times unbearably raw in "Hikikomori", but ultimately cathartic to artist and listener alike.
10. Giant Pink ft. Yeri: "Tuesday is better than Monday"
For the perfect marriage of pop and rap, you can't go past this track from Unpretty Rapstar 3 winner Park Yunha aka Giant Pink. Red Velvet's Yeri feature wraps it into a perfectly relaxed K-rap gem.
11. E SENS: "Son of a"
A veteran of the Korean hip-hop scene, E SENS released a new album in July, and this track is the perfect encapsulation of pure Korean rap; lyrics driven, a simple beat but carrying maximum impact.
12. Junoflo: "Icarus"
An underrated Korean release from Junoflo earlier this year, the rapper is aggressive and impassioned on his verses here.
13. Kid Milli ft. Loopy: "APP"
If there were to be a representative for Gen X Korean rappers, Kid Milli would be a great candidate. His music takes the best elements of popular R&B and hip-hop to form something fresh, and his lyrics always have a tongue-in-cheek vibe to them.
14. #Gun: "Park"
Atmospheric and moody, this dark track is immersive late-night listening, and was a long time coming from No Mercy and Show Me The Money 5 contestant Song Gunhee.
15. Giriboy ft. Kid Milli, Lil Tachi, Kim Seungmin, NO:EL, C JAM: "I'm Sick"
Giriboy is having a big year with his name attached to so many hit K-pop singles as a producer, but his gang of friends come through when he's the headliner on his own rap track.
Which of these tracks do you like best?
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