For the last three years, a healthy amount of space has been spent in these review columns examining what so-called “real hip-hop” is and where it comes from.
For more ethnocentric rap music fans in America, the idea that hip-hop more authentic than the local variety can come from another country would most likely be met with derision. But I’ll take the honesty and fire of many of the underground MCs I’ve reviewed in favor of the over-hyped, over-processed dreck that has dominated the genre in the US for the 15 years.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better example of an authentic hip-hop sound produced far from foundational streets of the South Bronx, then Epik High’s hidden album track “Watch Ya Self” featuring rappers Yankie, Double K and Digili from the South Korean rap group’s 2003 release “Map Of The Human Soul.”
One after the other, Tablo, Mithra Jin, Yankie, Double K and Digili drop rhymes that are burning with the urgent intensity that could only come from a group of ambitious artists hungry to make their mark on their debut offering.
And the beat, did I mention the beat?
DJ Tukutz drops an atomic bomb of a musical backdrop, recalling the most aggressive work of Wu-Tang Clan, Nas and Kanye West. Though any similarities to t he 2005 track “Dreams” that Kanye produced for rapper The Game (particularly in the hook) are most likely coincidental as that single came out more than two years later, it is worth noting that Epik High found this sound first.
And an explosive sound it is.
Listen to the hidden track “Watch Ya Self” featuring rappers Yankie, Double K and Digili from South Korean hip-hop outfit Epik High’s 2003 debut album “Map Of The Human Soul” RIGHT HERE