Why Tymee should be acknowledged as a Korean rap legend

tymee E.via korean rapper k-rap

If you’re a K-music fan who also keeps up with Western artists, you’re probably seeing many female rappers’ names in the music charts and awards, especially in the U.S. right now where Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion, and Doja Cat are dominating. And you might also be thinking of many other female rappers who deserve more love, just as these amazing ones that are having their big moments right now.

In the case of South Korea, it’s not that female-fronted rap is at all unpopular — with shows like Unpretty Rapstar (2015-2016) and Good Girl (2020) we’ve been seeing female rappers getting more attention. Yet, some of these women’s stories remain unknown, or not acknowledged enough. One of these stories is Tymee’s, formerly known as E.Via, the Korean rapper and songwriter born Lee Okju.

Though newer Korean music fans might not be familiar with Tymee’s work, she has been releasing songs for 18 years, with recent years seeing less and less music from her. Some may know Tymee for the beefs she has been involved in throughout her career, such as the one with Jolly V before and during Unpretty Rapstar, or her super brief participation on Show Me The Money. Or maybe you’ll remember her as E.Via, the controversial rapper who released meme-worthy songs such as “Oppa! Can I Do It?” before memes were even a thing.

But Tymee is so much more than the dramas and the eccentric songs — she’s barely acknowledged by what they represented for the music scene in Korea. Here are eight reasons why she was a pioneer, a total legend, and why she should be acknowledged as such.

She Pretty Much Pioneered Aegyo-Rap

Lee Okju started her career as an underground rapper that went by the name of Napper. When she debuted in the Korean pop industry formally as the controversial E.Via, her impeccable flow and impressive breath control were still there — but the deep voice she used to rap with previously gave place to a cute, high pitched, almost unrecognizable timbre.

Along with her clothes and overall shy girl attitude, the baby voice was not exactly what one would expect from a serious rapper, and the aegyo merged with fire rap. E.Via’s songs would also be the first time Tymee would present her fast rap, a side of hers that would also become her signature – which was a peculiar combination too.

But, whether you’d find her laughable or good, you can’t deny that E.Via was somewhat fascinating to listen to, and years later, the aegyo rap she became famous for would infiltrate the K-pop industry, becoming basically a mandatory in K-pop songs by girl groups such as Girls Generation’s “I Got a Boy.”


Her Music Was Once Banned In Korea 

In spite of looking and sounding innocent, E.Via’s songs weren’t really all that suitable for kids. “Oppa! Can I do it?,” the lead single from her debut album, was pretty ambiguous. It wasn’t really clear what she was asking her oppa permission for: the album version included her moaning, while the lyrics also hint at E.Via asking him to hear her rap. The provocative content and slang led music shows such as Music Bank to ban her performances. E.Via, who wrote the lyrics of “Oppa! Can I do it?”, never fully addressed what the song was intended to be — but such suggestiveness would become a part of her brand.

As much as it may be disturbing to hear an infantilized woman performing sexually suggestive songs, or to hear a woman asking a guy permission to do anything at all, the song raised discussions about what artists and women can do, and the ban would only raise the public’s attention and interest to E.Via and her upcoming music.

She Featured Herself On A Song

So far, you’ve learned that Tymee went by different names during her career. Each one of these “personas” had their own features, but they’re all pretty much different sides of her, representing different stages of her life. But could these personas meet each other? 

Alter egos are quite common in rap, but there are very few cases of rappers featuring “themselves” in a song — and the most popular ones we can think of, like Logic feat. Young Sinatra’s “Warm It Up,” weren’t released before E.Via’s “My Medicine,” a song in which E.Via featured no one less than Napper, her old alias.

In this sweet yet sad song, Napper raps and E.Via sings. It’s not only an example of Lee Okju’s versatility and emotional depth – you can just feel the pain in her voice, even if you don’t understand the lyrics – but also her creativity. Who would think of such a collab? It’s just genius to bring your two personas to meet and perform with each other.

She Broke Free & Prioritized Her Artistic Freedom

E.Via brought Lee Okju fame and success, but she wasn’t happy, and was also severely mistreated and not properly paid by her talent agency, DLine Art. She couldn’t put up with it further than early 2013, when she announced that she was leaving the company.

But breaking free from her contract wasn’t easy: she had to go to court, and ended up with little to no rights to her music, and not allowed to use the name E.Via. She then changed her stage name to Tymee, and later signed to rapper Outsider’s ASSA Communication, where she would find more creative freedom and control. On the songs she released thereafter, such as “On The River,” she spoke about her mental health issues and how she almost gave up on music. The name “Tymee” would symbolize her desire to be “tied” to music, as a promise that she wouldn’t let anything or anyone steal her passion for it.

Was An IP Genius During Diss War

In 2013, when U.S. rapper Big Sean released “Control,” a featured verse by Kendrick Lamar would inspire the beginning of a diss war in the Korean hip-hop scene. Initiated by rapper Swings (with whom Tymee had history), the war consisted of many rappers shooting and firing back at each other by writing their own verses over the “Control” beat. The diss war had pretty much only male rappers doing it, until Tymee stepped in. 

Recently signed off from her previous label and recovering from what almost ended her career forever, she definitely had a lot to say, and she didn’t hold back. “Cont Lol,” which is a play on the words “Control” and “Laughing out loud,” referenced how she found the  other rappers’s skills comically laughable. There was also a reference to the video game series League of Legends, showing Tymee’s angry views on hip-hop culture, stating her place as woman in a male-dominated industry (“I’m not a king, but I’m a queen”), dissing rappers and everyone who mistreated her in the past, with no mercy or filters. And as if that weren’t enough, “Cont Lol” also brought back E.Via, — sort of. In a maneuver that would make Intellectual Property lawyers tremble, Tymee channelled her former persona without the need to say her name or to mention anything about her previous works or label, just by using the cute voice she was famous for.

She Was The Best Unpretty Rapstar Contestant To Not Make It To The Finals

After a short passage in Show Me The Money, during which she got eliminated for forgetting her lyrics, Tymee was given another chance to compete in a rap survival TV show, this time, one meant for female rappers only. Tymee’s participation in the first season of Unpretty Rapstar again got attention for her beef with Jolly V, a rapper who dissed her in the past, to which she responded. They both also competed in the same season of Show Me The Money. While Tymee didn’t make it into the semifinals and isn’t even featured on the TV show’s official soundtrack, her performances there were some of the best of her entire career. She shone in a battle against Jace, and later in a collaboration with the same artist. These two verses were so impactful that Tymee would incorporate them into later elements of her career, performing the first one at live concerts and using the second in “Octagon,” a collaboration with Outsider and other label mates.

When you hear Tymee’s crystal clear pronunciation in these verses, her incredible rhyme schemes, lyricism, fierce delivery, and flow, it’s hard to understand why she isn’t considered Yoon Mirae-level of reference for women in South Korea’s hip-hop scene, or why her skills aren’t given the same glory as Korean hip-hop icon Verbal Jint’s.


One Of The First Artists In Korea To Use The Word “Feminist” In A Song

Tymee’s history with Unpretty Rapstar wouldn’t end after she got eliminated from Season 1. In 2016, she would be invited to be a guest judge in the third season, and also released a diss song to the show on her Youtube channel. On “Fuck Pretty Rapstar,” she criticized the contestants who care more about their looks than their rap skills, and proclaimed herself as a feminist that wants to see a fair race in the show regardless of its gender scope.

There isn’t much, if any, history of feminism being mentioned in mainstream Korean songs before “Fuck Pretty Rapstar.” Feminism, as a term, wasn’t that widely known there in 2016 (when participating in a livestream, Tymee was even asked what that word meant). And to be fair, until very recently, it still wasn’t that well known or perceived, as we’ve seen from the controversies that follow female K-pop stars’ when they’re perceived being feminist.

Makes The Music She Wants

Nowadays, Tymee is a part of a music crew called Freezy Bone and isn’t under any label. She is an independent artist whose latest music is less hard rap-driven and leans more towards smoother alternative hip-hop, although her great lyricism is still present. She has said many times she’s not ashamed of her past, but as is noticeable from the abrupt change of style, she doesn’t let it define what she’s going to do either. 

With almost a 20-year career, having gone through underground and Korea’s mainstream, and several ups and downs, Tymee’s story is one of determination and overcoming adversity with her best weapon: talent. It’s also a story about identity. Tymee has been through many different phases, styles, and names, but her talent would always show through — even when she wasn’t being 100% true to herself, she still excelled as a rapper— and her love for music would always win. Regardless of what she’ll do in the future or what kind of music she’ll release, Lee Okju should be acknowledged for just how good she is, and for all the fields and forces she touched or impacted.

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KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more, please consider contributing to KultScene’s writers fund. KultScene’s writers are compensated for their work, time, and insight. Email us for more details.

BIG Naughty talks ‘Bucket List’ & being a Korean rap prodigy [interview]

Since his time on the popular rap survival TV show Show Me the Money, BIG Naughty has flexed his prowess as a leader in South Korea’s upcoming class of hip-hop. His repertoire includes collaborations with heavyweights such as Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Simon Dominic, Jay Park, Loco, and more. 

With only three years in the game, the 17-year-old has been deemed a prodigy in his generation — a title that would be intimidating for many, but BIG Naughty manages to hold it with grace. His ability to effortlessly adapt to various genres while maintaining his authenticity has landed him on the radar of global audiences. With over 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, the rapper is proving to be a top player in South Korea’s music scene. And though recent disagreements between South Korean distributor Kakao M and Spotify resulted in a majority of his discography being removed from the latter, BIG Naughty shows no signs of slowing down. (The dispute has since been resolved and the music is back on the platform).

His new EP Bucket List, released under H1GHR MUSIC, navigates the woes of youth, love, and regret. It also features some of the most exciting, big names in Korean music, like Jamie, GSoul, Gray, and DPR Cream. From beginning to end, BIG Naughty takes listeners through a crash course on youth accompanied by various genres from R&B and jazz, to lo-fi. 

KultScene had the opportunity to catch up with BIG Naughty and talk about “Bucket List, his inspirations, and creativity.

KultScene: First things first: How are you doing?

BIG Naughty: Feeling damn good.

This pandemic has been crazy. What was it like preparing Bucket List during these unprecedented times?

Actually, I didn’t hang out a lot before the COVID so it was even better for me to finish the album lol.

What was the inspiration behind it?

From everywhere, my friends, love, and maybe you? lol.


How does it feel to be releasing your EP?

I feel proud of myself and also I feel so blessed that I can actually release an album. That’s craaazy.

You’ve been considered a prodigy, did that perception of you make you feel any extra pressure in preparing this EP?

Actually I felt a lot of pressure cause I got so many things in a short term so I thought I had to fully prove by this album.

You’ve collaborated with your peers at H1GHR MUSIC. Did you feel any difference in preparing for Bucket List compared to previous collaborations and releases?

That it feels a little retro?

What was your favorite part of creating this project?

Everything from beginning to end. Especially the artwork that I got to collaborate with Seongsu Museum. And the music video as well…

Each track shows a different side of you, but which one do you think represents you the most?

I can’t choose one. It’s all me, the rebellious side of me in “Brand New World,” a warm-hearted side of me from “Bravo,” and heart-broken side of me from “Frank Ocean.”

Bucket List offers everything from blues to grunge and lo-fi to neosoul. What genre do you enjoy the most, and is there a specific genre you would like to try?

Jazz definitely feels like a genre that will forever last. And it’s romantic~

“Frank Ocean” seems to be one of the most experimental tracks on Bucket List. What inspired it?

It was the time when my first love told me about the artist Frank Ocean, she went off to study abroad, and I missed my chance of telling her how I feel. There are some meanings here and there in the song that only I would know.

Is there a song on the album that you are particularly excited for fans to hear?

Joker!” I tried out just pure R&B, hope you guys like it!

Throughout the album, it’s evident you’re playing by your own rules. Have you always done your own thing regardless of what the people around you may think?

No not at all. (Actually I do, inside…)


What are some things on your bucket list? If you don’t mind sharing.

That’s a secret haha.

Since your time on Show Me the Money, you’ve accomplished a lot as an artist. What’s been one of the most significant moments for you? Why?

The day my EP was released, I was so proud of myself.

What do you want your fans to take away from Bucket List and your journey so far?

Dreams! Courage! Don’t lose your dreams and courage going through these hard times!

You’ll feel better after listening to the track “Bucket List”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you always for all the overwhelming support and love!! Stay safe!

What’s your favorite song on Bucket List? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more by helping support KultScene’s writers fund, please email us for more details.

6 Highlights from BewhY’s ‘The Blind Star’ Los Angeles stop

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

After blowing up thanks to his win on the Korean rap competition show Show Me the Money and a couple of appearances in Los Angeles since then, the rapper BewhY embarked on an ambitious six stop tour earlier this month. Titled after his recent album, “The Blind Star” tour kicked off in LA on Nov. 1 at the Belasco Theatre to a jam-packed crowd.

Both expectations and trepidation were high with this BewhY tour — could he pull it off? Not even Illionaire fills up venues, and AOMG had to bring out their entire artist roster to sell tickets. However, the rapper went big on his first American tour, showing US audiences in person exactly why he’s the hottest rap act in Korea. Here are some of the highlights.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

1. Club Turned Up On A Wednesday

Though a weird choice to start a tour on, BewhY kicked off “The Blind Star” tour on a Wednesday. Not to mention on a night when LA’s baseball team, the Dodgers, were playing a World Series game, which he later thanked fans for coming out despite. And while it took up until the few minutes before the rapper finally came on stage to fill up, The Belasco was, what it seemed like, up to full capacity by the time we heard the first bars from “Curtain Call.”

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

Regardless of the show being held on a weekday and amid the locally-affected World Series, the crowd sang along, cheered, and chanted for BewhY. Most notably, fans sang the chorus most ardently to “Forever,” and got rowdy with “9ucci Bank.”

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2. Rapped Verses In Acapella

During “Red Carpet,” BewhY cut the music and put his index finger to his lips, instructing people to quiet down. He then proceeded to deliver one of the verses acapella, which showcased and highlighted his lyricism and the prowess with which he delivers it. For “Bichael Yackson,” BewhY also cut the beat and dropped some heavy bars.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

3. He Was Real

Unless rappers speak fluent English, it’s uncommon for them to take the time on their setlist to chat with the audience. But judging for the predominantly Korean audience in attendance, BewhY took the time to address a few topics in between songs.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

To prelude “Hewgeso,” BewhY got really deep with the audience. He recounted a story of how he got lost while going to a university show and drove around in circles, which allowed him to look back at what was happening in his life in that moment. The “Shalom” rapper shared that after winning Show Me The Money he was very materialistic and lost his way. He realized that driving in circles was the perfect analogy to what he was going through, which made it all click for him.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

On a more cheesy note, before delving into “My Star,” the rapper told the audience “You are my star.” Also, with his Christianity being a key theme in his music and overall self, BewhY started borderline preaching to the crowd about his religious beliefs.

4. Performed His Notable Songs Twice For The Encore

BewhY covered all the basics during the show, performing all the Show Me The Money favorites like “XamBaqJa” and “Who You?,” The Blind Star b-sides like “Temptation,” and other one-offs like “The Time Goes On” and “Namaste.” And given his discography isn’t as big as other Korean rappers who go on tour in the States, BewhY resorted to performing his hit songs again — and saving the most known for last.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

The rapper revisited “Bichael Yackson,” “Who You?,” and his collaboration song with C Jamm “puzzle.” He, of course, closed with “Day Day.”

5. “9ucci Bank” For The Encore Decked In The Music Video’s Gucci Ensemble

As aforementioned, the rapper performed some of the same songs he had already done for the encore. So after wrapping up the first and second portion of the show and an interlude with singer Justin Park, BewhY returned to the stage for the encore decked out in all Gucci gear — fanny pack across the chest included— to parody himself and every other Korean rapper at the moment who are always decked out on the luxury brand. For this performance, the rapper went into the crowd and engaged a lot more. He channeled the same vibe from the song’s music video, with an added tinge of comedy of the ridiculousness of it all.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

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6. He Is, Indeed, The Best Korean Rapper

With only a few years into his career, BewhY managed to hold an entire tour Stateside — an accomplishment that not even some of the biggest names in K-pop have reached. (And charging as if he were, mind you).

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

Being an independent Korean rapper, it’s unheard of that an act would be able to do this so early on into his career. This makes sense though when considering that BewhY really is all that.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

While being the best a term that’s thrown around a lot and is a sensitive topic to some when considering just how much Korean rap draws from American hip-hop as a genre and culture, “The Blind Star” stop in Los Angeles further cemented why BewhY is the best Korean lyricist and rapper. Not only did he carry out an entire show on his own, but he also rapped all the features on his songs, and dropped some freestyle on the spot, all while showing innate humbleness despite all the praise and success. He even asked the audience for a picture at the end to commemorate what was surely also a milestone in his career.

bewhy korean rap los angeles la the blind star tour

by Mineui Kim

What’s your favorite BewhY song? Do you agree that he’s the best Korean rapper in the game right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Meaningful K-Rap

k rap korean playlist meaningful

Rap gets a bad rep for being about materialistic things, violence, and demeaning women. But like everything else when you round them up to absolutes, there are exceptions to every rule. This concept also applies to K-rap, even if the songs about violence, materialistic things, and misogyny are rare in the genre. And while those songs might be fun to sing and dance to, let’s focus on those with meaningful lyrics that speak to us.

Korean fans are legendary with their enthusiasm towards celebrities, and Epik High’s “Fan” is one of the earliest Korean songs to address the madness of fans; the song’s official title is “Fan (Fanatics).” Tablo and Mithra Jin spit their lines clearly and frankly, expressing the insanity of fans, emphasized more so by a haunting, melancholic beat. “Even though everyone says I am crazy and the entire world disappears, Babe you belong to me, but why are the worthless multitudes talking you away?” Epik High’s newer songs have been extremely popular, but it’s the poetry of early songs like “Fan” that I really think shows their prowess as spoken word artists. The song, and it’s frightening music video, became one of Epik High’s earliest hits way back in 2007, and is still relevant as Korean musicans struggle with the love and obsession of fans.

— Tamar

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During the latest season of the hit show “Show Me the Money,” the contestant who received most of the flack by the rest of the rappers was Song Mino. Everyone bashed him left and right and the like “Song Mino will always win” even became a thing after Black Nut said it repeatedly in all his raps. But the moment people had to take him seriously materialized with his semi-final son “Fear” featuring Taeyang. Mino decided to put his all into the song, spitting about his hardships leading up to his debut and enduring it all for the sake of your dreams and not letting your loved ones down. Moreover, he epitomized the fear of growing up a lot of people can relate to, saying “I’m much too young and fragile to be an adult/ I still don’t know the way.” Mino and allowed everyone to see his vulnerability and forced people to recognize him for something more than a plastic idol: a mere human, just like everyone else.

— Alexis

If you were to consider Simon D’s years in the underground hip-hop world and the years he spent in the mainstream music industry, he has almost two decades worth of experiences under his belt. To some, that may not seem like a long time, but to many others, he’s undoubtedly considered an “OG” in the hip-hop game. “Simon Dominic” is a prime example of his artistry as an artist, as he raps about the raw side of things, “real life” relatable situations, the trial and error of life. When you’re young, you’re not going to want to listen to what the older folks have to say. We try doing things on our own terms, it’s our way of rebelling. Sometimes, it goes our way, but they’ll be more failed plans than successful ones. It’s like a natural cycle of life; sometimes it’s almost as if we want to make things more difficult for ourselves, even when others who have gone through these difficult situations before, tells us to do avoid them, we still do it anyway just so we can say we did. But that’s okay. Why? Because you live and you learn.

— Tam

I’ve always been of the opinion that rap is the best way of personal expression in music. Its simplistic nature and almost talking style mean the words take centre stage. Super producer Primary seems to have a similar opinion which can be clearly seen on his song with E-Sens, “Poison.” Even though Primary’s gets top billing, this is an E-Sens song. It’s a song about all his insecurities, his fears of not living up to his dreams. The past spreads through his body like a poison, not letting him move on. It’s a poignant song given the trouble he would go on to have with Supreme Team splitting. Poison works because of Primary’s decision to step back with the production, stripping his form into something that guided E-Sens’ words rather than overpowering them.

— Joe

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When I think about meaningful raps, no other group does it better than BTS. Despite essentially being an “idol” group, the rapper line (J-Hope, Rap Monster, and Suga) does not let their status set them back from doing what they do best – expressing their emotions through their music. Like their previous songs, “Move” is one example of what happens when the three put their lyrical genius minds to work. The result is a memoir of how the members have come so far since settling into their shared dormitory three years ago, of how they are on the move again, and of how a new start awaits them. The song also depicts their attachment to their board, and how it is a reminder of their humble beginnings. As Rap Monster ends his verse with “This place smells like us/Let’s not forget this scent… Nonhyungdon, third floor, thank you,” it’s clear how much the group cherished their home. More than just a roof over their heads, it’s been there for them when they needed protection from their uncertain future during their trainee days or when they needed a container for their laughter. This is what makes a house a home, and I think this is exactly what the three are trying to get at.

— Shelley

What’s your favorite K-rap song with meaningful lyrics? Share your picks in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Artist Spotlight: DaeNamHyup

Nowadays, it’s not just K-pop that benefits from the Hallyu craze. Korean hip hop has been on the rise for the last two years, with more and more rappers achieving international fame and recognition, like Beenzino, Dok2, and Simon D. After years of struggle, Korean hip hop is rapidly finding and cementing its way to the mainstream. And while there are big names out in the game killing it, you can’t forget where they came from or the one’s who are still underground. Hell, some of our favorite idol rappers started out in the underground in crews.

Such is the case of DaeNamHyp, short for “great southern joseon [Korea’s last dynasty] hip hop cooperative,” a Korean hip hop crew comprised of rappers and producers Marvel J, i11evn, DJ Snatch, Supreme Boi, Kyum2, Samsoon, ILLIPS, Iron (아이언), Kidoh, and Rap Monster. Yes, you didn’t read that wrong. BTS’ Rap Monster and ToppDogg’s Kidoh are still part of the collective, even though they currently focus on their idol groups. Marvel J is the crew’s leader, and their ages range from 28 to 21-years-old, with several ‘94 liner members. They have been active since 2009.

DaeNamHyup profile

via rapmon-dongsaeng @ Tumblr

DaeNamHyp, or DNH, as a group, is not signed to any label and release their music the old fashioned way, through mixtapes. Their latest release 제 1차 회동 (First Meeting) features all of the members with the exception of Rap Monster (who was really busy last year with BTS) either rapping or producing. Their sound draws influence from Southern rap (the American South, of course) and krump. While their flows and rap styles vary, they all spit with a little aggression, dropping their verses hard. As opposed to the established rappers’ albums, 제 1차 회동 lacks overproduction, and its rawness and emphasis on the members’ rap is what gives the mixtape a fresh and authentic feeling.

Their rapping styles are best represented on the tracks where they show their clique love, DNH Cypher and Crew Love. As for sound, Do It and Uranus show the range of talent DaeNamHyp has, going from the hard hitting beats to the mellow, easy-going raps, but killing it either way.

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However, hip hop crews are not like idol groups who are always together. It’s more of a group of friends who share the same interests that sometimes release group material, but also pursue solo work. While Rap Mon and Kidoh are the only members currently in idol groups, Supreme Boi is a producer for Big Hit Entertainment and has worked with BTS before. He recently dropped the fresh and feel-good track Hawaii under Big Hit.

Iron, for his part, came in second place on the competition TV program Show Me The Money 3 and recently delivered a rap verse for SHINee’s Jonghyun’s first solo project Crazy. He previously released his first mixtape Ixtape, and has featured on other artists tracks, such as Hyorin X Jooyoung’s Erase. Iron has a deep, hoarse voice that is reminiscent of BIGBANG’s T.O.P, but his spit and demeanor are far more aggressive than the BIGBANG member’s raps. Moreover, Iron was once part of the original BTS lineup, but is now signed with Polaris Entertainment and is slated to debut in a group called HIVE.

Marvel J and i11evn are not as active as the previous members with their solo work, but do upload tracks to their soundcloud pages. i11evn is signed to Factory Boi Records and recently collaborated with Supreme Boi on Kidoh’s So Busy at 1 o’Clock off of his solo mini album Small Album.

As mentioned before, Kidoh is part of ToppDogg, but missed out on a group promotional cycle in order to release his solo mini album Small Album last year. This release was different from what was previously seen by him under ToppDogg or DNH since he sang more than rapped. The title song, Taxi on the Phone, is a jazzy, piano and electric guitar lead song. His fellow ToppDogg member Sangdo featured on the track, but Kidoh kept DNH love flowing by having Iron appear in the music video playing a drunk. Moreover, So Busy at 1 o’Clock, with Supreme Boi and i11evn, sounds more like DNH material, being the only traditional hip hop track on the album.

Rap Monster, as A.R.M.Y. (BTS’ fanclub) knows well, uploads solo tracks to BTS’ soundcloud now and then. His verses on these tracks show a less restrained Rap Monster, spitting about topics he wouldn’t on his idol albums.

Samsoon and ILLIPS, for their part, are said to be currently inactive in DNH activities and haven’t released any solo work lately. Kyum2 is currently in the army and has released solo songs, but requested that fans wouldn’t upload them to any platform. Lastly, DJ Snatch is still grinding, uploading pictures to his Instagram in support of Supreme Boi’s recent showcase and a video with Kidoh in a studio, which suggest he’s still working with his DNH members. He is also expected to debut with HIVE.

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DaeNamHyup’s released their latest mixtape early last year and had a showcase in March. They also held a concert with Royal Cla$$ in the summer, attended by Kidoh but not Rap Monster. And in order to bring 2014 to a close, Iron, i11evn, Kidoh, Supreme Boi, Marvel J, and DJ Snatch performed at Speakshow with other rappers like Crucial Star, GEEKS, and Giriboy.

Even if some of the DNH members are in idol groups and others are pursuing their own solo careers, the boys always support one another by holding showcases together or featuring on each other’s work. All of the members are still in their 20’s, which, contrary to K-pop idols, means they’re just getting started. Whether it’s as DaeNamHyup or as solo acts, the crew are on their way to slay the Korean rap game.

DaeNamHyup profile dnh

via dementho @ Tumblr

What’s your favorite DaeNamHyup song? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Korean Rap Edition

We’re going to take a quick break from K-Pop and highlight the amazing Korean rap scene. A lot of the time Korean rappers may go unnoticed to K-Pop fans. But, as I’m sure most of you are aware, the majority of these rappers are extremely talented and use both Korean and English rhymes, which adds texture and shows the amount of skill these artists have. For this Sunday’s playlist we want to show the rappers some love. From this playlist alone it is clear that each rapper has their own color and style, which is one of the reasons why we love Korean rap here at KultScene.

A popular theme in rap is asserting yourself as the best and/or different than other artists in the game, and that’s exactly what LOCO does with No Manners. The song is his manifesto that he’s going to “keep crossing the line” and

kill it, stomp the business unapologetically.

LOCO raps about how he’s not going to hold back in order to be number one, even if he’s perceived as rude and, well, with no manners. The rapper owns the criticism against him and cleverly uses it to his advantage. Other than that, the hook where he sings “no manners” is pretty infectious and the beat has great flow without being too overpowering; it is LOCO’s rap that is the highlight.


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Gaeko makes up one half of the talented duo Dynamic Duo. His solo song Rhythm is Life expresses his feelings about his occupation and what people think of him and of Dynamic Duo. Gaeko is known for his singing as well as his rapping, but Rhythm is Life strictly showcases his talented rapping skills. His flow is unbelievable, the beat is unstoppable, and his lyrics give us an insight into his thoughts about his music career. It’s clear that Gaeko is doing what he loves and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Music is my playground, I’m like a mischievous child, running around and playing all night

Rhythm is Life addresses Gaeko’s thoughts about his long career, the new kids on the scene, the old people who don’t understand what he does, and all the haters. It’s a song that deserves undivided attention.


Over from Epik High‘s 2010 Epilogue is one of Epik High’s few fully English language songs, and has a different feel from many other Epik High songs. Tablo’s rap dominated the song, and DJ Tukutz’ absence is noticeable, but there’s still an Epik High feel to it- the message of the song makes it 100% clear that Over belongs to the hip-hop group that criticizes many aspects of Korean lifestyle. The title revolves around being an overachiever, and Tablo’s soft spoken rap is an accusation towards everyone who “all you do is do.”

— Tamar

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Beenzino‘s Dali, Van, Picasso is one of my favorite songs ever. This track is Beenzino’s self portrait. He lists his art influences through the song and let’s the world know that Salvador Dali, Picasso, and Van Gogh’s work influenced him through his life.


Who are some of your favorite Korean rappers? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Artist Spotlight: Crucial Star

The combination of a calm beat, soft vocals, and rapping is something that’s becoming popular in the K-Pop scene. But where did this style come from? Surely something in the mainstream must’ve had its beginnings somewhere else. Crucial Star, real name Park Se Yoon, is a South Korean rapper, producer, composer and lyricist who has that craft down to a T in the hip hop spectrum.

crucial star rap korean

via Grandline Entertainment X N’Ouir

The 25-year-old began his career at the age of 17 performing with the hip hop group Libra Twins, but then joined label Soul Company and became a solo artist. Crucial Star debuted in 2010 with his first single Catch Me If U Can, and released his first mini-album A Star Goes Up in 2011, where he featured artists like Dok2 and Basick. He followed that up with A Star from the Basement in the same year, where he talked about the Korean hip hop scene and how most artists in the game don’t understand the fundamentals of the genre.

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In 2012, Crucial Star changed labels again after Soul Company went under and joined Grandline Entertainment, home to Geeks, Rimi, and K Jun. The piano and percussion song Nothing Lasts Forever from his mini-album Fall, is his reflection on the aftermath following the company’s disbandment, where he talks about his dreams and determination going forward. However, it was Flat Shoes from his previous EP Drawing #1: A Dream Spokesman featuring Lovely that was a hit.

Crucial Star draws inspiration from his daily life, talking mostly about his own experiences and especially women. He loves a heavy bass within a gentle beat, which is the staple in his music. His rapping style resembles that of American rappers Drake or Kid Cudi by being laid back and cool. The artist mixes his rapping with his vocals effortlessly, which creates a very nice ambiance in his music. He also tends to do many collaborations with other hip hop and even K-Pop acts.

In 2011, he composed I Just Want U and iPod Girl for then label mate Mad Clown. Once situated with his new company, Crucial Star collaborated with Zion.T, TakeOne, and The Quiett for Own Way for his EP Fall. Geeks also featured him on their remix version of Out of Breath, along with Ugly Duck, Zion.T, DJ Dopsh, 화나, and Block B’s Zico.

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As far as collaborations with K-Pop idols, Crucial Star was featured on Jepp Blackman’s, a.k.a. B.A.P’s Yongguk, Last One. And earlier this year, he released a remake of the jazzy Park Hye Kyung’s 2000 song Three Things I Wanna Give You together with Girl’s Day’s Sojin.

The rapper released two EPs in 2013, Drawing #2: A Better Man and A Winter Love Song, and is now preparing to release his first full-length album. Midnight will mark his fresh start. The first single is Paris, a song that compares a woman to the city of lights. Directed by Lee Byungil, the music video is a beautiful work of cinematography that’s simple and chic at the same time, and has a very romantic feel to it.

The second single Pretty Girl dropped on October 1st, and is a bit more uptempo than its predecessor. Pretty Girl is yet another collaboration with Lovely, who adds her sweet vocals to a very fresh and clean, soft hip hip song.

Midnight, a 15-track album, will be released on October 24th, Crucial Star’s 26th birthday.

Do you like Crucial Star? We’d love for you to share your thoughts, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.