List of Best Male Korean Hip Hop Artists
South Korea’s hip hop market may be relatively small, but its Korean rappers have managed to establish a thriving rap scene. This has become quite a feat considering that the country has long been associated with the massive popularity of K-Pop, particularly girl groups and boy bands.
Rap music in South Korea initially blended with Korean pop music to create K-Hip Hop, which remains popular in Korean hip hop today. Hyun Jinyoung is recognized as a pioneer of Korean hip hop and also one of the creators of K-Pop. He dominated the Korean music scene from the 1990s to the early 2000s.
Outside of the legendary career of Hyun Jinyoung, various solo artists and groups also contributed to the growth of Korean rap and hip hop music. Korean rappers like Deux, Seo Taiji and Boys, Poppin’ Hyun Joon, Solid, who were also labeled as the originators of Korean R&B, or G-Dragon, who along with artists T.O.P and Taeyang formed Big Bang, one of the first international K-Pop acts. Those are just a handful of Korean hip hop artists that should be considered as key contributors to hip hop’s growth in South Korea.
Similar to many Asian countries, South Korea has a powerful history of cultures and traditions, but no other country in Asia has as great of a music scene as South Korea. From the country’s pop music whose artists have reached global stardom to the rising popularity of the country’s hip hop scene, South Korea is arguably the music capital of Asia.
Rap music in South Korea, along with Korean rappers, is not the typical and traditional form of hip hop. With pop music having much of an impact in South Korea, rap music is often intertwined with styles related to K-Pop. There a number of Korean rappers that are true hip hop artists who create music that does not implement pop music within their styles, but the most notable names are more pop stars than your average rapper.
Top 20 Male Korean Rappers
1. Jay Park
Born and raised in the United States but moved to South Korea to pursue his passion for music, Jay Park started his career as a member of the K-pop boy band 2PM before leaving in 2010 to pursue a solo career. He released his first solo album, New Breed, in 2012, which quickly gained popularity in South Korea and other parts of Asia. Since then, Jay Park has achieved a long list of accomplishments, from chart topping hits to global recognition, to numerous award nominations,
Korean rapper, record producer, and songwriter Zico has been making waves in the world of music since his debut in 2011. He was a member of the popular boy band Block B, and has since branched out to pursue a successful solo career. Often found blending elements of hip-hop, R&B, and pop to create a sound that is distinctly his own, Zico has released several successful tracks, including “Any Song,” “SoulMate,” “Bermuda Triangle,” “Freak,” and “Summer Hate.”
Korean rapper Loco first gained attention as a contestant on the rap competition show Show Me the Money in 2012, where he finished among the top. He later signed with the label AOMG, founded by fellow rapper Jay Park, and released his debut album Locomotive in 2014. Loco’s smooth flow, witty lyrics, and collaborations with other notable artists has led him to win several awards for his music, including Best Rap/Hip Hop Song at the 2015 Korean Music Awards for his hit song “Hold Me Tight”.
4. DPR LIVE
Combining melodies with hip-hop, DPR LIVE has emerged as one of South Korea’s premiere rap artists. Debuting in 2017 with the album Coming To You Live, DPR LIVE has provided Korean hip-hop lovers with projects Is Anybody Out There?, HER, and IITE COOL. While songs like “Jasmine”, “Text Me”, and “Jam and Butterfly,” have been praised as his most celebrated work.
5. BIG Naughty
BIG Naughty is a rising star in the Korean rap scene. Only in his early 20s, he has already gained a following for his outlandish and impressive skills on the mic. BIG Naughty first gained attention in 2018 when he appeared on the popular Korean hip-hop competition show, Show Me The Money. Since then, he has released several singles and EPs, showcasing his versatility as an artist.
Kang Min-kyung, better known by his stage name Mino, is a South Korean rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer. He first rose to fame as a member of the boy group Winner, which debuted in 2014, formed through the reality show “WIN: Who is Next.” In 2018, Mino released his first solo album “XX,” which received critical acclaim and commercial success. Mino’s music is a mix of various genres, including hip-hop, R&B, and pop.
Ph-1 is a rising star in the Korean rap scene. He grew up in the United States and started his music career by uploading his songs to SoundCloud. His music style is a blend of different genres, including hip-hop, R&B, and trap. He first gained recognition with his debut EP, “Room Service,” which showcased his talents as a rapper, singer, and producer. Ph-1 has since released several other successful projects, including his latest album, “HALO,” which features collaborations with popular artists like Jay Park and Sik-K.
One of the newcomers and future stars of Korean music, BE’O made his debut in 2020 with the single “Monster”. We are still anticipating his debut album, but he has released hits like “Counting Stars” with Beenzino, “Suddenly,” “Love Me,” and several other popular tracks.
Bobby is a South Korean rapper and songwriter who rose to fame as a member of the popular boy group iKON, which debuted in 2015. He first caught the attention of the public when he participated in the third season of the survival show “Show Me the Money” in 2014, where he emerged as the winner. Bobby’s unique rapping style, combined with his charismatic personality, quickly made him a fan favorite.
Sik-K is a popular Korean rapper who has gained immense popularity over the years. He started his musical journey as a member of the hip-hop crew AOMG. Following his time with the group, he would launch his solo career, which featured several chart-topping tracks and albums, including “FL1P,” “H.A.L.F,” and “BOYCOLD.”
11. Keith Ape
Keith Ape is a talented South Korean rapper who has gained recognition both in his home country and abroad. He first rose to prominence with his hit single “It G Ma,” which showcased his unique blend of trap and Korean rap. Known for his high-energy performances and distinct fashion sense, Keith Ape has become a favorite among fans of the genre. His success has led to collaborations with other artists, including Rich Brian and XXXTentacion, and he continues to be a driving force in the Korean rap scene.
BewhY, born in Incheon, South Korea, started his music career in 2014 by participating in the rap competition “Show Me the Money.” He won the fifth season of the show in 2016, which helped him gain wider recognition and a larger fan base. Since his debut in 2014, with the single “Waltz,” he has been successfully constructing his catalog, which includes classic albums like The Movie Star.
13. Simon Dominic
Korean rapper, singer, and songwriter Simon Dominic first gained popularity as a member of the hip-hop duo Supreme Team, before embarking on a successful solo career, in which he became one of the most respected and influential figures in the Korean hip-hop scene. Simon Dominic’s dedication to his craft and his ability to constantly evolve and innovate have solidified his status as one of the most talented and enduring artists in Korean music today.
Changmo started his music career in 2014 and quickly made a name for himself in the Korean hip-hop scene. Changmo started his career as an underground rapper and gradually gained recognition for his exceptional talent. He released his debut album in 2016, MOTOWN, which received critical acclaim and catapulted him to fame.
Giriboy entered the Korean music scene as part of the hip-hop duo, Swings and Giriboy, before embarking on a successful solo career. He first gained recognition as a Korean rapper in 2011 with his debut album, Giriboy is Waxing. Since then, he has released numerous successful albums and singles, including “Back and Forth 30 Minutes,” “Sexual Perceptions,” and “Graduation.” In addition to his music, Giriboy has also made a name for himself as a producer and songwriter, working with other popular Korean artists.
Coogie is a rising star in the Korean rap scene. Born and raised in Seoul, Coogie started making music at a young age and quickly gained a following for his innovative approach to hip-hop. His debut single, 2018’s “Justin Bieber,” was a hit in Korea and helped establish him as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. Since then, Coogie has released several successful albums, EMO #1 and UP!, and collaborated with other prominent artists in the Korean music scene.
17. Woo Wonjae
Woo first came into the view of Korean hip-hop fans on the hit reality television show, Show Me The Money, the rap competition helped build one of the top rising Korean rappers in the game. Now under the esteem Korean label AOMG, Woo made his introduction in 2017 with the song “We Are” featuring Gray and Loco.
Korean rapper Bloo is one of the top emerging stars in the Korean hip-hop scene. Bloo debuted in 2016 with his first project, which featured his first major release, the song “Drive Thru,” which quickly gained popularity among fans of Korean hip-hop. He has since released number one songs like “Downtown Baby” and several celebrated projects, like Bloo in Wonderland 2, Moon and Back, and Fox and the City.
19. Kid Milli
Kid Milli is one of the top next up Korean rappers in the industry. Starting his career during the later part of the 2010s, Kid Milli’s first major release was the EPs TR, Maiden Voyage, and Maiden Voyage II. Since then, he has been recognized for his talent and impressive flow, characterized by his distinct voice and clever wordplay.
Beenzino began his career in the underground hip-hop scene and later gained mainstream success with his distinct sound. With creating his own lane and adapting to his own style, Beenzino has attracted a large following of fans who appreciate his creativity. Making one of his very first appearances with the 2011 song “Illionaire Way,” which featured Dok2 and The Quiett, Beenzino has come ways from being a newcomer of Korean hip-hop to one of the top tier artists.
Honorable Mention Korean Hip Hop Artists
– The Quiett Youtube: The Quiett and Instagram: @The Quiett
– woodie gochild Youtube: woodie gochild and Instagram: @woodie gochild
– Mushvenom Youtube: Mushvenom and Instagram: @Mushvenom
– Ugly Duck Youtube: Ugly Duck and Instagram: @Ugly Duck
– hash swan Youtube: hash swan and Instagram: @hash swan
Top Korean Rappers Related Topics:
*Unofficial Order. The more popular artists that have a combination of the most followers, streams, views, and most recent releases are near the top.
*If any artists are missing from the list email firstname.lastname@example.org