Is it pop? Is it hip-hop? K-POP and the Urban Collaboration Trend

Collaborations between artists in K-POP is nothing new. From duets between the best singers, to interesting and sometimes surprising collaborations between artists of different kinds, collaborations help show the versatility of Korea’s finest musical talents. This year, however, has shown the growth of one particular trend in collaborations – K-POP and Korean hip-hop. To better explain this trend, I will outline ten songs released between early last year up till now (early March) and explain the foundations behind these collaborations, as well as reactions to the songs.

1) Minah (Girl’s Day) and DinDin – 손만 잡을게


As part of producer Lee Hyun Do’s (aka D.O of Deux) “4U” project album, Girl’s Day vocalist Minah and “Show Me The Money 2” contestant DinDin teamed up on this track released late last month. Minah was chosen for her sweet vocals, while DinDin for his charismatic rapping. Check out the song below!

2) Soyu (SISTAR) and Junggigo – Some (ft. Lil Boi of Geeks)


One of the most surprising releases of 2014 so far has been a little number called “Some”. As part of a series of special releases by Starship Entertainment’s sub-label Starship X, and as a means to promote their new artists, SISTAR member Soyu is out with yet another collaboration track (following her joint “Stupid in Love” with rapper Mad Clown last year). She is teamed up with R&B veteran Junggigo, and the pair are also joined by Geeks member Lil Boi. This song has already amassed several music show awards and continues to be popular currently. Enjoy!

3) Younha – 없어 (ft. Eluphant)


Going back to 2013, singer Younha released her “Subsonic” mini-album last December, which featured this title track. Calling on the rapping abilities of Minos and Kebee, also known as the duo Eluphant, this song charted fairly well. This is by far one of my favourite tracks off of that particular mini-album – from the minimal sound of the music to Younha’s soft vocals and Eluphant’s rap. Check it below!

4) Dynamic Duo – Hot Wings (ft. Hyorin of SISTAR)


Last year, Double D released an album that charted very well and won this top rap duo many accolades during year-end award shows. One of the hidden gems in this album of great releases was this number featuring SISTAR main vocalist Hyorin. Her vocals compliment the Motown-esque feel to the song. Definitely a grade-A collaboration! Check it below!

5) Shin Seung Hoon – 내가 많이 변했어 (ft. Choiza of Dynamic Duo)


Keeping in line with the Dynamic Duo trend, this time the role flips. Double D member Choiza jumped on a featuring for ballad king Shin Seung Hoon with this pretty little track. The vibe from this song is so happy and is a nice change from the slow ballads that fans are used to hearing from this ballad king. Enjoy!

6) Park Ji Yoon – Mr. Lee (ft. San E)


Probably my favourite of all the featured releases from 2013, this is the track that made 90s KPOP singer Park Ji Yoon relevant again. While she is in no way out of her prime, it has been a long time since she released something amazing. Then this song came around – a magical combination of her timeless vocals, San E’s raps, and the amazing production skills of Korean hip-hop producer Primary. Enough said. Watch below!

7) Kahi – It’s Me (ft. Dumbfoundead)


This was a most surprising release last year – one of YouTube’s most well known battle rappers featuring on former After School leader Kahi’s newest release, and on the title track no less. “It’s Me” brings a cool swing vibe to Kahi’s repertoire, and Dumbfoundead’s Korean rapping abilities impress across the board. Hopefully this isn’t the last time we hear Dumb’s raps in KPOP. Check the MV below!

8) Soyu (SISTAR) and Mad Clown – Stupid in Love


This was most likely the song that made me start paying to this whole trend in the first place. When I first heard that Mad Clown and Soyu were collaborating, I was initially speechless but looking forward to what would unfold. Lo and behold, this wonderful song was released – a piano based melody with Soyu’s sweet vocals and Mad Clown’s battle-hardened raps would find their place as one of the top songs of the summer of 2013. Take a listen below!

9) Kim Ye Rim (Togeworl) and Swings – Voice


Kim Ye Rim (aka Lim Kim) was one of last year’s top rookies to watch for – release after release, the Togeworl member kept bringing some great music to KPOP fans globally. The title track of her first album, “Voice” definitely brought out the best in her voice, and also brought one of Korean hip-hop’s best emcees – the Punchline King himself – on yet another great track. Enjoy!

10) Outsider – Bye U (ft. G.O of MBLAQ)


Last but not least is this comeback song from Korea’s resident speed rapper Outsider. Generally more known for his ballad/slow melody-driven rap songs, this EDM-influenced number features the melodic vocals of MBLAQ’s main vocalist G.O. His vocals compliment this fast paced song and add a new flare to Outsider’s style as a rapper and artist. Outsider could easily do well with this type of music, but I personally prefer his older material to say the least. That being said, enjoy!

There you have it folks! There’s more collaborations like this on the way for sure – take the recently announced collab between Girl’s Day leader Sojin and seasoned emcee Crucial Star. I can’t wait for more songs like these to come! Which is your favourite collaboration? Did your favourite make this list? Let us know in the comment box below! Until next time, chyeah!


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