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K-Pop Beyond The Charts: With A Strong Nod To West Coast Rap, Ja Mezz Reimagines The Korean Hip-Hop Sound On 'Pilot' [VIDEO]

By Jesse Lent | August 13, 2015 06:51 PM EDT


K-Pop Beyond The Charts is a weekly review column highlighting Korea's modern day musical innovators who have yet to find mainstream success.

From the machine gun 16th notes on the hi-hat of the hip-hop of the American South to the jazz tonalities that characterized the politically conscious rap of New York City in the early '90s, the artists South Korea's burgeoning underground hip-hop scene have appropriated a wide variety of the genre's greatest moments for their own cultural expression.

But one particularly golden moment of rap's roughly 40-year history that doesn't get much play among South Korean hip-hop acts, is the classic West Coast rap sound created by Dr. Dre and a then-unknown MC by the name of Snoop Dogg, specifically on Dre's 1992 solo debut "The Chronic" and, one year later, Snoop's own first release "Doggystyle."

That's why it's exciting to hear rapper Ja Mezz raise his gin and juice in the air on his new single "Pilot" from the EP "1/4," released on Tuesday.

But Dre and Snoop aren't the only West Coast influences in play on "Pilot." Specifically in the rhyming, the playfully graphic swagger of Tupac and trippy vocal production of The Pharcyde are both noticeable factors here and a testament to the excellent musical taste of Ja Mezz.

This is a rapper that clearly knows his history.

But musically, with eerie layers of vintage synthesizers lingering somewhere between a horror movie score and a Commodores track drifting over the whip crack of a perfectly mixed snare is all Dre.

But Ja Mezz isn't just aping the sounds of classic West Coast rap, he's doing what any great performer does, taking what came before him and molding it into something new that expresses his own truth.

Watching the inventive, handheld music video for "Pilot" as Ja Mezz raps while walking around what is presumably the modest farming community where he lives, it's difficult to not be inspired by just how global hip-hop has gone.

Ja Mezz is representing.

Listen to the new single "Pilot" from Ja Mezz's new album "1/4" RIGHT HERE

Watch the music video for "Pilot" by Ja Mezz RIGHT HERE

Tagged :  Ja Mezz, pilot, K-Pop Beyond The Charts, review


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