The Korean music scene is a massive industry, with over a hundred groups and solo acts debuting just this year! While this multi-billion-dollar industry brings us some of our favorite hits and idols, there is an ever growing underground music scene pooling massive amounts of talent. From self-producing R&B artists to alternative rock musicians, here are the ten underground artists that are set to take a position on your playlist.
10 – Kumira
This multitalented singer, rapper, and producer who has started to breakthrough in the underground scene in the last 9 months. The laid back tone in his music and delivery provides listeners with an easy and relaxed listening experience. His newest soul and hip hop infused EP “could you love me ?” showcases off his most refined work to date, featuring other fellow underground artists over smooth, jazz inspired beats. Kumira is definitely an artist to keep on your radar.
9 – RIPELY (리플리)
An up and coming female producer and singer, who is starting to gain traction in the underground scene. RIPELY’s soulful and melancholy voice stands as the perfect companion to the piano instrumentals that serve as a foundation for her emotional lyricism. She is also a part of the underground collective Young & Gift whose artist roster bolsters an impressive amount of talent. RIPELY’s most recent tracks have been self-produced entirely by her and feature some of her best work. Hopefully, we will hear more from her in the near future.
8 – Boole (부레)
The hip-hop scene has recently exploded in Korea over the last couple of years with an ever growing international fan base. Boole is a standout artist from the underground hip hop scene thanks to his flow which harnesses a groove that harkens back to old school rap. Currently only sitting at around 900 followers on SoundCloud, Boole is definitely an artist that shows great promise.
7 – Offing
In a scene dominated by hip hop and R&B artists, Offing is a rare surprise for those looking for alternative rock in Korea’s underground. While one of the most subjective artists on this list, Offing offers up a raw but unique garage band aesthetic and sound that truly is different than anything else in the underground scene in Korea. With the mass market of K-pop being filled with over produced pop hits, Offing’s unrefined sound comes as a pleasant surprise for those looking for a palate cleanser.
6 – CIFIKA
Bringing with her one of the most surreal sounds in Korea’s underground scene, CIFIKA’s haunting voice and electronic soundscapes bring something new to the table. This Seoul based artist has already received recognition for her work from publishers like Noisey and 88rising. CIFIKA’s music is something that is best experienced as opposed to reading about due to her unique sound and style. Her recent track “My Ego” exemplifies this surreal tone that sets her apart from other electronic artists.
5 – SLCHLD
Another member of Young & Gift, SLCHLD is an artist that any lover of R&B and soul music should check out. A frequent collaborator with other underground artists, SLCHLD’s smooth voice is one hard to pass up. Listening to any of his tracks will instantly reveal promises of real potential as he definitely is a voice to listen for.
4 – RHEEHAB
A member of Young & Gift as well, RHEEHAB is a growing name in the underground hip-hop and rap scene in Korea. His mixture of singing with short bars of rap between smooth lyrical work really exemplifies the talent held under his music and the Young & Gift collective.
3 – IMLAY
Currently seeing a huge rise in popularity and recognition, IMLAY is an electronic music producer and DJ from Seoul. He has been in the underground EDM scene for a while now with his “SHURAI EP” marking close to 3 years producing under his pseudonym IMLAY. His music has been featured on SMTOWN and YouTube music channels such as MrSuicideSheep. His track “Decalcomanie” featured rapper Sik-K and was released as an MV under SM ‘STATION’ as a collaboration with ScreaM Records. He has also appeared on projects such as YESEO’s latest album “Million Things.” We can only expect to hear more from IMLAY as he continues to make his way up the ladder.
2 – Bully da Ba$tard
Appearing on “Show Me the Money 6,” Bully da Ba$tard is a rapper that is seeing recognition for his aggressive flow. His delivery is punctual and energetic making every listening experience a treat to enjoy. His style differs from the more relaxed R&B focused beats of other Korean rappers giving his music the edge that sets him aside from the others.
1 – YESEO
YESEO is by far one of the most promising underground artists on the come up. YESEO is a producer and singer who showcases an impressive offering in her music. She has been featured on 88rising and Noisey, along with Korean music sites such as Naver and Mixmag Korea. Her aesthetic for each collective project is nothing short of artistic, and her live shows are visually stunning. YESEO’s music is a pleasant entry to the underground scene with her smooth laid back style infused with mature themes.
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