K-Pop Double Take is a weekly review column highlighting recent releases that have yet to receive the attention we feel they deserve.
It is becoming increasingly easy to make a convincing artist that the current crop of Korean hip-hop artists is more knowledgeable and reverent of the American art form's legacy than most of our own MCs.
In the same way that the British Invasion bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks reintroduced kids in the US to their own legacy of blues and early country music, it is exciting to see the results of a new generation of South Korea's hip-hop fans reinterpreting the sounds that the icons of the genre built from the ground up.
A good example of the great results of a classic rap sound through a different cultural lens is "Want Me Girl," released Nov. 27 by Wekeyz and featuring two top talents from the Korean hip-hop underground, vocalists Kirin and Hoody.
With the machine gun smack of the snare drum and trippy jazz overtones referencing the seminal sound of 1990s rap, the smooth R&B-inflected hooks and late '70s synth sound is purely that of the West Coast from the same period. If only metaphorically, Wekeyz, Kirin and Hoody manage to bring together the musical legacies of both Biggie and Tupac in a beautiful and respectful way.
There is even a great, catchy melodic bassline, an increasingly lost art in a lot of mainstream hip-hop, (other than Kendrick and Kanye, of course).
Against this backdrop of throwback bliss, these three talented artists each contribute something that is all their own. While they are clearly rooted in the legacy of rap and R&B, they each have a unique sound that is theirs and theirs alone.
I think any of rap's originators should be honored that the torch is being carried and burning bright, in the hands of these gifted acts across the Pacific.
Listen to the latest single "Want Me Girl" from South Korean hip-hop act WEKEYZ featuring Kirin and Hoody RIGHT HERE