fav of the day: rapper #2, epik high’s tablo

Every day until the end of February, we’ll highlight one of our favorite Korean rappers on a countdown to #1.

Second to last on our long list is the one, the only…

Tablo!

So I’m not really sure how to say anymore than I already did when I wrote about Epik High back when this blog first got off the ground.

I mean, I really spent an hour writing 2k words on how fucking talented Tablo and co are, so I’ll just do so in shorter terms this go round. If you really want all of the details as to why I’m obsessed with this man, you can check out the write up here.

Given that Tablo was born in 1980, he was born right alongside modern rap which trickled in during the 1970s and began to pick up traction and style in the late 80s. You can definitely hear that influencing his work and his style–something that isn’t super common in Korean hiphop.

While you’ve got the occasional straggler like Kinetic Flow producing that classic hip hop sound that flared up and then burnt out, no one else has carried it forward into the modern age of popular Korean music.

Not only do they stand out with their traditional style and Tukutz’ familiar beats, Tablo’s lyrics are super clever. Fluent in both Korean and English honors from Stanford in both English and creative writing, Tablo doesn’t fuck around with his words.

Which is convenient, because it is notoriously difficult to work that old school rhyme style that English hip hop birthed into Korean music due to the remarkable difference in the structure of the language.

Tablo bends the rules by using his command of English and Korean to weave them in flawlessly, something that not only gives him a really interesting flow and style but that makes for some really clever wordplay bridges the differences between two languages.

The best example of this is in the track Rain Again Tomorrow that I’ll put in the playlist at the bottom. That whole first verse pretty much encompasses Tablo’s style–effortless jumping between English and Korean, an easy, mature, smooth sounding voice, a tone that sounds melodic even when it’s not, and a rhythm that never falters on the beat.

You heard the guy.

For all of the ways that Tablo keeps old school hip hop alive and the linguistic depth of his lyrics, he makes it to #2 on our list of favorite rappers. This is kind of a shit reduction of what I wrote for them a while ago, and if you really wanna see me go to town on this genius, go check it out.

Until then, check out this quick playlist below and come back tomorrow to finally see who sits at #1.

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 Twice TXT Up10TION Verivery Victon WEi WJSN

3 thoughts on “fav of the day: rapper #2, epik high’s tablo

  1. I love how creative his lyrics are. Since he’s fluent in both Korean and English, there’s a lot of clever wordplays. Plus there’s no awkward English lines LOL

  2. This list of rappers is good! I had a bit of a hard time picking between Tablo, Mark Lee and Yeyong from NCT. At the end I went with Tablo. He is so good! I really enjoy his raps and style. I loved his collaboration with Eric Nam and Gallant in ‘Cave me in’. So smooth. There is also ‘Can you hear my heart’ ft Lee Hi for the drama: Moon lovers: Scarlet heart Ryeo. I really liked that song. Tablo has a solid voice and I think its a plus to his fans that he also speaks and raps in English. He sounds GREAT!

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