Sunday, January 1, 2017

Ten Korean hip hop favs from 2016

Though it's already 2017, here are 10 of my Korean hip hop songs of 2016, in no particular order. 


Mercy (ft AP) – Nafla. With Nafla’s flow of hard hitting bursts that match the heavy trap beat, and AP’s more laconic flow, prepare to get turnt with this one. 



Flight Attendant – XXX. The duo push the boundaries of hip hop with the almost brutal electronic beat. Though the complex multifaceted beat is the hero of the track, Kim Ximya's nasally rap is the glue between the tracks' juxtaposing elements. 



Time Travel – Beenzino. Mirroring the smooth, spacey beat crafted into a progression, Beenzino’s flow moves from slow to melodic to quick effortlessly into a real viber.



And July (ft Dean and DJ Friz) – Heize. On a classic beat with killer drum breaks, Heize shows her versatility by singing and rapping on the track. And you can’t help but notice the synergy and chemistry between Heize and Dean. 



Perfect – PH-1. If you’re having a bad day, listen to this. Reminiscent of Chance the Rapper, the infectious beat, complete with a choir and whistling, perfectly complements PH-1’s energetic, joyful flow. 



Tribeast – Tribeast. This song epitomises hip hop. The sample heavy beat is seamlessly cut under Don Malik’s clear but vivacious flow to pay homage to the classics. 



Green Horizon – Punchnello. Over the lush electronic inclined beat, customary of his crew Club Eskimo, Punchnello’s speedy rap completes another boundary pusher. 



상상 – Kim Hyo-Eun. The Illionaire protégée’s deep, grainy tone rides smoothly on the chill, classic beat, again with killer breaks. Though simple, the track is perfect to chill out to.



Caffeine – C.Cle. This may seem like a biased choice considering I interviewed C.Cle, but rest assured it’s not. With C.Cle’s robust, consistent flow over a definitive g funk beat, your head will be bopping.



Mission (ft Dok2) – The Quiett. Returning to what he does best, the Illionaire CEO’s flow and classic style beat blend seamlessly on this smooth track. But with a feisty flow, Dok2 adds nice juxtaposition to the song.  

Do you agree or disagree with my choices? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Gig review: Keith Ape at Howler 8/11/16

Keith Ape performing at the Howler, Melbourne.

Following the success of his viral hit ‘잊지 (It G Ma)’, South Korean rapper, Keith Ape brings his underwater trap style to Australia for the first time in Melbourne.  

The two support acts, Melbourne locals, DJ Slick P and Nico Ghost, work hard hype up the crowd, playing all the right tunes to raise the room’s anticipation and energy levels. 

When Keith Ape comes on, the diverse crowd of Asian, black and white kids absolutely lose it. Matching their energy, Ape bounds on stage, though noticeably lacking the huge rapper ego. Breaking the distinction between artist and audience, Ape consciously makes the effort to high-five all the hands outstretched towards him. 
 
Accompanied by DJ Matthew Law, Ape also shares his stage with fellow Cohort crew member, Bryan Chase, for the whole night; even graciously allowing Chase to perform a song of his own.

Over the top of the customary trap style of rolling 808 high hats and low, ominous beats, Chases’ higher rap style contrasts to Ape’s gritty and rich tone. And Ape’s underwater fixation is constantly referenced with killer whale calls scattered throughout the set. 

With most of his catalogue boasting features, majority of the setlist of tracks from his mixtape and recent collabs, is cut down. One exception is a brand-new “week old” collaboration with Japanese rapper Anarchy, played in full. 

But tonight’s highlight, of course, is the finale of ‘잊지 (It G Ma)’. Hysteria ensues and phones start recording as the whole audience screams along in Korean and to the famous hook: "It g ma! Underwater squad!"

With the frenzy of limbs and constant jumping, there is an intense synergy between the artist and audience. The two feed of the energy of the other, uniting as a mass of youth elation. 

In this sea of movement, it’s clear, tonight is not about perfect renditions. It’s about a united experience. Not only does Keith Ape live up to his hype, he’ll get you hyped and damn sweaty too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Review: 12 by Beenzino

Beenzino’s 12 is almost not a hip hop album. Musically, the Korean rapper’s first full length record is on par with neo-soul or even indie. Yet, it still seethes that ‘you better listen coz you’re about to be served the best’ attitude that screams hip hop.  

Following his 2012 “mini-album” 24:26, and 2014 EP Up All Night, Beenzino continues to audaciously represent his everyday life in a way so honest and charming, you’re inclined to believe him. 

Alongside travelling (props to I Don’t Mind’s Australia shout out) and time, uniqueness is the biggest theme of the record. 

Even with the whole language barrier thing, it’s hard to miss the message when he raps in English “I’m unique, so unique, I’m so busy I’m being myself” on guitar heavy Being Myself. 

But he didn’t really need to spell it out so clearly; the cohesion of his flow with the unconventional beats borrowing from a range of genres, does it already.  

You’re reminded of his Illionaire link on the trap inclined January, and cruise though the Tame Impala-esque progressions and synths on We Are Going To

Yet, Beenzino’s producers, long time (Peejay) and new (Genius Nochang), work well to craft a sleek and coherent sound overall. 

Even the three-year-old single Dali, Van, Picasso fits well with the overall feel of the record. 

And real life sound effects of a clock ticking on the gentle Imagine Time, or groovy토요일의 끝에서 ‘s lighter chink, are a nice touches, adding even more to the record’s testament of realness.
  
The three collaborations are evenly spaced (like for realz) throughout the record to break it up. It’s especially nice to see Blacknut finally rap alongside his hero on토요일의 끝에서.

But honestly, the collaborations work more effectively to signal Beenzino’s distinct melodic flow.

On 12 Beenzino takes a step away from his jazzy roots to create something simultaneously unexpected, and something that makes complete sense. It’s a solid first full length effort for Korea’s favourite rapper. 

In a word: progressive

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Connan Mockasin.

It’s easy to become obsessed with this talented Kiwi. His slightly haunting vocals, and silly, yet ridiculously catchy lyrics, will have you lost for words in a psychedelic dream whirlpool. 

Check out a brilliant title track from his solo debut album ‘Forever Dolphin Love.’

Monday, March 5, 2012

‘Meeting Waterboy’–Mink Mussel Creek

This isn’t really a proper post, in the sense of writing a well thought out review, this is me talking of a bangin’ tune.

Mink Mussel Creek. They’re a newish Australian band and include Kevin Parker and Nick Albrook of Tame Impala. The track ‘Meeting Waterboy’ is absolutely brilliant. With the length of 6:51 it takes on a ‘Sea Within A Sea (The Horrors)’ turn halfway; evolving from a chillin’ time with those Cream-sque guitars that are only the norm when a band involves Tame Impala members (probably not a good thing to compare side projects of bands, but whatever) then surprising you and turning into an epic piece of music complete with Nick screaming into the microphone.

Just listen and tell me what you think.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Garage playlist.

Garage has been a genre that has been that has been close to my heart for the past few months. So last night I decided to make myself a playlist of sorts that included all of my favourite tracks from the genre.

So prepare to step back to the 60’s and have yourself a bogie down.

  1. Talk Talk by The Music Machine
  2. Jack The Riper By The One Way Streets
  3. Louie Louie by The Kings Men
  4. Psychotic Reaction by The Count Five
  5. I Can’t Help Thinking of You by The Bucket
  6. Way Down Below by The Gruesomes
  7. Lucy Leave by Pink Floyd
  8. The Witch by The Sonics
  9. All Day And All Of The Night by The Kinks
  10. Have Love, Will Travel by The Sonics
  11. Revelation In Slow Motion By The Count Five
  12. You Really Got Me by The Kinks

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Live review: The Wombats 15th October.

Sorry for not updating in such a long time. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some reviews up and such soon!

Festival Hall, Melbourne was a set afire last Saturday night, the 15th of October. Coming to Australia for their third time an a year, The Wombats did not disappoint.

From the first song Our Perfect Disease, the band’s second albums opener, to the final song of the night, dubbed the “Melbourne face eater,” in which singer, Murph donned a panda mask both the band and crowd went insane.

Not only are the band talented live musicians, they can put on a really fun show; they have a such a great stage presence. However it wasn’t all fun and games. Anti-D showed a more sombre side to the band, and it was only fit that the whole crowd got their “paws” a-waving.

The Wombats are back in Australia for the Future Music festival in March.