It is easy, in this era of hip-hop empires built on energy drinks and raps about Big Macs, to get disillusioned with the South Bronx’s greatest contribution to the world at large.
Then, a hip-hop track with the force and the fire of South Korean rapper Jerry.K’s new track “Higher,” featuring Sleeq, Rico and Don Malik, hits you and you remember why you became a rap fan in the first place.
Released on Monday, “Higher” has the punch of early hip-hop classics like Run-D.M.C.’s seminal ” King Of Rock ” or the Ice-T club banger ” Midnight ” (a song that samples both Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath), while channeling more current sounds like the Rick Rubin-produced Jay-Z track ” 99 Problems .” Though the vocal hook on “Higher” isn’t quite on the caliber of the songs I just named, it’s growing on me and the rappers assassinate this track.
As the co-founder of the K-pop record label Soul Company with fellow rap artist Kebee, Jerry.K clearly understands a thing or two about the way the South Korean hip-hop game operates.
But, whether you speak a word of Korean or not, you have to just lean back and awe at the sheer emotional power these guys are throwing down here.
They match the adrenaline of the A+ beat on “Higher” without ever resorting to bombastic screaming.
They do it with attitude alone.
There are plenty of Hallyu hip-hop groups with a major marketing push beyond their albums right now, that favor a tricked out production style with Auto-Tune hooks galore, over the undeniable force of hardcore hip-hop.
Tomorrow morning, like today and the day before that, the sun will rise on the legions of fans of these bands dancing to the endless barrage of beats that are no more synthetic, but feel less human somehow.
When they pack the stadium, they’ll look to the left and to the right for the cues on how to move, what to do.
When a song like “Higher” hits you, personally, like a punch to the guts, there’s no need to check to see whether the hoard approves.
You know it, because you just felt it.
Check out the new Jerry.K single “Higher” by featuring Sleeq, Rico and Don Malik RIGHT HERE