Recently I discovered an Indies hip hop group from Seoul called Epik High. They are not new to music by any means, but I seem to be a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to discovering their awesomeness.
Consisting of members Tablo, Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz, Epik High started out in 2003 and was relatively unknown in their early career. Rap and hip-hop were not yet very popular in Korea then, but by 2005 with the release of their third studio album Swan Songs, Epik High had become one of the most popular hip-hop groups in Korea.
Between 2003 and 2010, they released eight studio albums, one EP and two special projects. In 2009 they parted ways with their label and founded Map the Soul, an independent record label that currently consists of Epik High, MYK, Planet Shiver and Dok2.
In the summer of 2009 they did a world tour, selling out all of the North American concerts and most of the others worldwide. Soon after, Epik High went on temporary hiatus as DJ Tukutz began his mandatory military service. In August of 2010, Mithra also enlisted for his mandatory service, but the group says the hiatus is temporary and they will return once their 2 years are served.
Of all the songs I've heard so far, 魂: Map the Soul [Worldwide Version] from their 2009 album Map the Soul is my favorite. (Note: 魂 is Japanese for 'hon' meaning 'soul') Not only is the song in English so I can understand more than just a few words, it's a really pretty song. The music video is very simple, but has some great makeup and visual affects and is interesting to watch. Every time I watch it I find something I didn't notice before.
Their newest release, 'Run' is on the album Epilogue, released on March 9, 2010. It was released without DJ Tukutz because of his entrance into the military. Epilogue consists of all the previously unreleased songs in their 7 years on 2 CDs. Epilogue debuted at #1 in the US iTunes music store digital hip-hop/rap charts.
To learn more about Epik High, check out these links!
* Epik High - Official Web [Website is both English and Korean, but is currently offline until the band returns from hiatus.]
* Epik High - YouTube Channel
* Epik High on KoME News [News in English]
Epik High @ KoME Worldwide
Epik High @ Wikipedia