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Review: Jay Park Keeps A Foot In The Korean Hip-Hop Underground On 'Don't Try Me' Featuring Ugly Duck And Gray [AUDIO]

By Jesse Lent | November 05, 2015 05:23 PM EST

For most artists, once they break into the mainstream, there is very little looking back to the scene that made them, the classic issue of "forgetting where they came from."

Not so for Korean-American rapper and vocalist Jay Park.

On Park's 18-track album "Worldwide," released Thursday, the 28-year-old Edmonds, Wash.-born artist alternates between straight-ahead catchy K-pop singles, (several of which hyped months in advance with high-budget music videos) and hard-edged hip-hop indicative of the work being done in the same subterranean scene that he rose out of.

And nowhere else is this more true than on the album's second track "Don't Try Me" featuring rapper Ugly Duck and vocalist Gray.

Though the groove is more Dr. Dre-influenced G-funk than what most rap fans would consider hardcore hip-hop, the rhyming on "Don't Try Me" is more raw and the musical vibe more stripped down than anything you'll see appearing on the K-pop charts anytime soon.

In this way, Jay Park seems to be in the rare position of being able to have both fame and maintain creative control.

A lot of this, of course, could presumably be credited to his formation of the Seoul-based independent record label AOMG, short for Above Ordinary Music Group, with Simon D formerly of the rap duo Supreme Team, back in 2013. Both Ugly Duck and Gray are on the AOMG roster. But there are plenty of heavyweights of the Korean rap scene from outside his label too on both the edgy and more mainstream compositions.

Hearing Dok2, Okasian, The Quiett, VASCO, Yankie and the other long list of talented artists featured on Park's new record it's hard not to be struck by how much great rap talent their currently is on the rosters of Seoul.

It's not hard to understand why Park seems to virtually have not bothered with the rap scene in his native land.

It's as if hip-hop is going through its own second renaissance, its just happening across the Pacific. Fortunately, this time around, those of us without a front row seat can follow along on YouTube.

Listen to "Don't Try Me" featuring Ugly Duck and Gray from Korean-American hip-hop artist Jay Park's latest album "Worldwide" RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  Jay Park, Worldwide, GRAY, ugly duck, review, Reviews, K-Pop, kpop, korean rap, korean rapper

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