South Korea’s music scene has been rapidly growing on a global scale.  Many Korean artists have been gaining huge popularity and recognition in the industry and winning the hearts of fans all over the world. But the music goes far beyond K-Pop and bands like BTS or Blackpink.

Korean rappers have been surprising the audience with great talent and songs that can become hits overnight.  Many of them stay in a shadow of poppy and dancy radio music but, their fanbase is increasing in number. Korean rap and Hip&Hop has a long history that started in the Seoul’s night clubs and was heavily inspired by American underground artists of the 90s.

Since then, this music scene has created some pretty incredible young talents that know how to jump into the world of hip hop. It’s worth digging deeper into Koreas circulating musical phenomenons and discover their world of hip hop. Here are 12 Korean rapers that are taking over the industry.


Hong Da-bin, better known by his stage name DPR Live is one of the most influential rappers in Korea. As a part of the hip-hop collective Dream Perfect Regime (DPR), he worked on his love for music and talent in songwriting and rapping. After his wildly successful debut album Coming To You (2017) that featured hip-hop frontrunners in Korea, LIVE landed in the spotlight. He sold-out world tour in 2018 and got his EP Her high on the chart list. In 2020 after a 2-year break, DPR LIVE finally released his long-awaited first full-length studio project Is Anybody Out There? This intimate, vibey, very well made album is worth listening and discovering the sounds presented by the raper. 


Dumbfoundead, also known as Jonathan Park, is one of the biggest names in the Asian music industry. Korean-American rapper from Los Angeles influenced Korean hip-hop like no other artist. With a couple of albums in his biography Park even though rarely rapping in his mother tongue is an inspiration to many young artists. Dumbfoundead has a very impressive list of collaborators and is signed with a prominent record label 88rising. Through his musical career, Jonathan was fighting for recognition of Asian artists in the industry. His music style is funky and effortless, based on thoughtful lyrics. Park’s discography is a must-hear if you want to become a part of Korean rap Universum.


Jessi is an influential figure of female empowerment. Jessica Ho, stage name Jessi is a Korean musician that moved from New Jersey to Seoul at the age of 14 to pursue dreams about becoming a singer and experience her Korean culture. After many ups and downs, she became one of the most popular female hip-hop artists in Korea. Jessi knows how to push the boundaries and challenge the industry with confidence, powerful lyrics and badass beats. Jessi’s motto is to keep it “real” and always be authentic. Her deep and strong voice allows her to stand out amongst other artists and create big hits. This year Jessi blessed her fans and dropped a new EP Nuna with her most successful song yet NUNU NANA.


G-Dragon is definitely the biggest musical phenomenon in Korean. This rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur and fashion designer flooded charts with his hits many times. Kwon Ji-yong (G-Dragon) has been in the industry since he was six and trained to become a pop star at an entertainment label YG Entertainment. After beginnings as a member of boy band Big Bang he dropped first solo album Heartbreaker in 2009 that became a massive success in Korea. Since then, his fame and relevance was rapidly growing and made him one of the biggest stars in the Asian music scene. His influence on culture, fashion, music and young generation in South Korea is acknowledged all over the world. In 2016 Magazine Forbes included G-Dragon on the list of the most influential people under 30 in Asia’s music. He collaborated with artists like Skrillex, Diplo and MIA. With remarkable achievements, G-Dragon is the king of Korean pop and hip-hop that will most definitely keep his spot in the elite. 


Changmo may not be the biggest name in the industry but is definitely getting there. This young artist with many great songs under his name debuted in 2016 with his self produced, mixed and mastered album M O T O W N. After recognizing his talented Ambition Musik record label signed him up and realized his second project Getting Money Moment. Changmo collaborated with a K-Pop star Hyolyn on her very successful song Blue Moon and later on with BTS’ Suga and R&B artist Suran. In 2016 Changmo was nominated for the BET Award as the only East Asian artist to be nominated in that year. Both his solo projects and featured songs present quality and very impressive production. With Changmo’s latest album realized in June, the artist is making his way up to the top. 


Nafla is an Asian-American niche rapper with more old-school production and flowy verses. After releasing his first full-length album ANGELS in 2017, he gained recognition in the Korean music scene. In 2019 Nafla and his label mate Loopy dropped a collaborative album LooFla with many successful hype songs perfect for energetic gigs. His 2020 two-part project u n u part. 1 & 2 shows the artist from a different side with many lo-fi, moody tracks and R&B influences. This records exposes an interesting shift in Nafla’s musical style and can be a beginning to a very powerful future career. 


SiK-K is a growing sensation in Korean Hip-Hop. Signed with H1GHR MUSIC Record Label, the artist was first acknowledged after his appearance in a reality competition program Show Me the Money 4. After that, he started to release his own music and, his career took off. He has managed to work with top artists like Jay Park and dropped a few albums including two in 2020 Officially OG and HEADLINER. SiK-K is also a new face in the fashion industry with a show walk for Off-White in Paris under his belt. 


Swings already has an incredibly successful career on his shoulders, yet he still manages to be a very influential and relevant rapper in Korea. He is not only a musician but also what we can with a full respect call an artist and an entrepreneur. As one of the most important people in the industry after breaking through as a rapper, he shaped the Korean hip-hop scene with his talent and ability to discover new young artists. Since his start in 2007 Swings founded three record labels, wrote a book and opened a pizza shop and a few gyms while still working on his rap-god position. His music is unique, innovative, punchy and brave. This year Swings dropped his new project Upgrade IV. 


BewhY’s career started in 2016 when the artist won a notably popular in Korea music program Show Me the Money 5. After his beginnings in underground and a massive win in the competition, BewhY got himself a pretty remarkable status in the hip-hop scene. With three full-length studio albums, songs running through the charts, the rapper tours in Asia and Amerika. This musical style is more on a poppy side, but his mature lyrics surprise with many religious references. Additionally, BewhY in multiple interviews emphasized that Kanye West is a big inspiration for his music and style. 

Keith Ape 

Keith Ape is one of the most popular self-made rappers Korea has to offer. His musical style inspired by Southern American rap and a breakout single It G Ma drew the attention of a vast and devoted fan base. Keith developed an original and alternative personal and aesthetical style that allowed him to join a hip hop stage in America. Now as an 88rising signee, he collaborated with many influential artists like ASAP Ferg, XXXTENTATION and Rich Brian. In 2018 Keith realized his first album BORN AGAIN and preformed at 88rising’s Festival Head in The Clouds. After following individual path and many successful songs, Keith is now a frontrunner in Asian-American hip hop scene. 

Hash Swan

Alongside Changmo, Hash Swan is signed with a popular record label Ambition Musik and already had realized three records. Like many other Korean, rappers he started his careers as a contestant on Show Me the Money 5 and continued his career from there. His laid-back attitude, uniqueness and melodic raps met with love and appreciation from the audience. In 2020 Hsh dropped a brand new record Silence of the REM. The album is filled with strong emotions and excellent story-telling skills. Despite the sad lyrics, it carries a chill vibe through every song. It’s a record that can put Keith very hight up in the game. 

Jvcki Wai

Jvcki Wai is definitely one of the most exciting female figures in Korea’s music scene. She draws the attention with a mysterious and fascinating voice as well as bold fashion statements. Jvcki started off as an underground artist and in 2018 dropped her debut album  Enchanted Propaganda, which got nominated for Hip-Hop Track of the Year at the 2019 Korean Hip-Hop Awards. Her music is very promising, and we can expect her growth in the hip hop world.

Text by Oliwia Dworakowska



Posted by:Somewhere Team