K-Pop Beyond The Charts is a weekly review column highlighting Korea's modern day musical innovators who have yet to find mainstream success.
There is a lot to like about "Chi Kwon."
Released Wednesday, the collaboration between South Korean rap artist Reddy and Chicago rapper brandUn DeShay (best known for his 2010 party track "Why You Gotta Zodiac Like That"), proves the potential for artists to broach new sonic frontiers when cultures collide on the mic.
Despite rapping in different languages and styles Reddy and DeShay prove to be a perfectly suited pair, not completely shocking when one considers the legacy of odd couples in hip-hop--Chuck D and Flavor Flav, Eminem and Dr. Dre, Ol' Dirty Bastard and, well, anyone basically.
The point is DeShay and Reddy find a musical middle ground together that is so fresh and unique it begs for further collaboration. That's not to say it's middle of the road, rather the best of both rappers' experiences creating something that is quite out of the ordinary.
Musically, the beat on "Chi Kwon" is also a melting pot.
The simple but rhythmically complex riff that opens the song is clearly pointing towards the East, yet the backbeat would be at home in any Jay Z song. The production is not merely referencing past glories in either culture though. There are synth swells and rhythmic flourishes that are creative and nothing I've heard done in quite the same way.
I hope that rappers and producers around the world hear "Chi Kwon" as a rallying cry to stop being restrained by international borders when considering which artists to feature on their tracks.
It certainly worked for Reddy and DeShay.
Listen to South Korean rapper Reddy's new single "Chi Kwon" featuring Chicago-based hip-hop artist Brandun DeShay RIGHT HERE