Every day until the end of February, we’ll highlight one of our favorite Korean rappers on a countdown to #1.
Snatching up the #12 spot is…
Stray Kids’ Han.
So, my very first exposure to Stray Kids was a clip floating around stan Twitter a few years ago.
It turned out to be that hella intense part in Voices with Changbin and Han right before the last chorus. You know the one.
As I had literally never heard Stray Kids at that point/had no idea what their individual voices sounded like, I’ll admit that I thought it was just one rapper.
Sue me. You’ve done the same with some new groups before. Don’t lie.
Though now I can clearly hear their differences, they share three main traits that made me originally think they were just one mega-talented entity: they are hella expressive, they both have vibrant voices, and they are both quick as hell.
Being a k-hip hop nerd, I was HOOKED on the voices (ha… both their actual voices and the song, I guess) straight away and all but demanded of the poor Twitter user in all caps to know who I was listening to. I took the name Stray Kids and put it in Spotify and the rest was history.
As I was delighted to find out, there was not just one incredible rapper, but TWO.
I feel like I should mention here that Han has been my bias pretty much since the start because I fell in love with his style so quickly, and his adorable looks and personality. Now that I’m a Stay, I wonder how I ever thought they were the same person tbh.
So, onto what makes Han special to me.
With such hard-hitting, experimental music like SKZ makes more often than they don’t, I think it’s important that the vocals don’t get lost in the industrial, overproduced grind.
With intense voices like Felix’ ridiculously low bass and Changbin’s unique texture to Hyunjin’s tone on top of all of that experimental pop SKZ gets up to, SKZ could easily be a hot mess of noises that just don’t work.
Instead, they are absolutely genius and that has gotten them attention, well, literally everywhere, all around the world. Their experimentation is really paying off, isn’t it?
Han has a big hand in that for me.
His style is light enough to easily glide over the top of the music like I.N’s delicate voice, or Lee Know’s angelic one, or Bang Chan’s trad-pop tone or Seungmin’s angelic voice… but one of these things is not like the other, and that is that Han is a rapper before he is a vocalist.
His verses always pop out against the background sounds and seem like a whole separate song on their own sometimes.
Han colors his verses with lots of personality and scratchy tones and sometimes even actual little yelps to the point where it feels like he doesn’t even rely on the underlying music to make it work.
He sort of can be the music in his own right. And somehow, something so dynamic as Han’s style works in with all of the other stand-out voices that SKZ has to offer.
For all that he brings to Stray Kids, Han has made it onto our list of fav rappers this month. I’ve put together a tiny list of some of my fav Han parts in the playlist below. Give it a listen, and then head back tomorrow to see who made #11.
ab6ix astro ATEEZ baekhyun blackpink bts chung ha cix cravity dreamcatcher DRIPPIN exo gidle golden child got7 hoppipolla ikon itzy iu Kang Daniel mamamoo MCND mirae MONSTA x nct Oh My Girl Oneus ONF OnlyOneOf Pentagon PIXY Purple Kiss Red Velvet Seventeen SHINEE stray kids Super Junior T1419 TRI.BE Twice Up10TION Verivery Victon WEi WJSN