K-Pop Double Take is a weekly review column highlighting recent releases that have yet to receive the attention we feel they deserve.
Despite the digital gimmicks that seem to get increasingly more dense with every passing year in rap, the foundational elements of what makes a great hip-hop song are basically the same as they were at the genre's inception-a great beat, a loop that only gets better the more you listen to it and an MC that is up to the challenge.
On his single "Zick Jasper," released on June 12, rapper and frontman of the four-man South Korean hip-hop act M.I.B, 5Zic is using his new name, (you guessed it) Zick Jasper.
But more importantly, he's dropping killer rhymes over a beat that is stripped down to its core and only gets better the more you hear it.
It's difficult to describe exactly what makes a good rapper, but a lot of it has to do with someone simply capable of not ruining a good beat and obviously, in a perfect world, elevating the musical backdrop to something beyond with the power of their own personality.
There is an eerie quality to "Zick Jasper" (the song, not the rapper) that makes the musical figures linger in your mind long after the record has stopped playing. The haunting female backing vocals are flawlessly complemented with an unlikely musical element in any hip-hop song, hip-hop or otherwise, a harmonica player.
But as with any classic minimalist track, nothing disturbs the balance of the overall sound. From the rapping, to the huge yet unobtrusive drum sound to the piano part that features some highly dynamic glissandos, everything fits into the mix in exactly where it was meant to be.
This extremely tasteful mix is not only a throwback to hip-hop's classic era but also a nod to the precision and hard work that has always been at the heart of Korean culture.
Watch the music video for 5Zic of M.I.B aka Zick Jasper, entitled "Zick Jasper" RIGHT HERE