Where Are the Korean Female Hip Hop Rappers At?
Female hip hop rappers have been making their mark in the USA for years. But what about abroad? Rap music is coming up in Korea and has been since the 90s. Seoul, Busan, and Daegu are hot spots for this in Korea. While many artists do their best to reproduce the music of the west, others embrace both their own roots and their love of hip hop, and combine the two. There are artists out there who use traditional Korean instruments in this art form. One is Seo Taiji.
There are also many hip hop dance units that compete. This is very popular in Japan as well.
But where are the REAL female artists? There are all-girl groups that comes up when searching for female Korean hip hop, such as the Wonder Girls, but they are clearly more of a pop group similar to the pretty boy groups of the USA, complete with snazzy outfits and all. The original messages of the original art form are completely lost here, where struggles and street life were vented and expressed. Although this can easily be debated across the board as how music heard on the radio today talks more and more about how great the artist has it with money, material goods, and women, rather than the struggles and messages of empowerment we heard of back in the 90s.
Well, I know of one Korean female rapper that clearly holds her own and maintains the true spirit of original hip hop. Not only can she rap and deliver a fierce free-style, she can sing beautifully as well. Skim is Korean rapper currently based in Los Angeles, and she is fierce. She is definitely not of the conventional mainstream (being openly queer is one of these unconventional traits), but that is what makes her all the better and extremely refreshing, in my opinion.
She incorporates Korean folk music and drumming into her performances and sings while doing this. She is all about empowering women of not only her own culture, but of others as well, and reaches out as a true activist fighting sexism, racism, homophobia, and other social ills. She collaborates with amazing musicians of various cultures and continues to redefine hip hop, especially from a woman.
Skim is an amazing poet and artist having opened for KRS One and with her ever-growing schedule of tours, shows, and amazing collaborations such as with Shin Kawasaki, Jeffrey Soulspeak, November Morris from Hawaii, and Saltation Ignite. One recent collaboration combined Hawaiian reggae, electronica, and hip hop to create a message of multicultural empowerment.
This collaboration was a song called “Dark Skin” with Saltation Ignite. Skim delivered her rapping on top of ukeleles, tablas, and various drums, including an 808, all to spread the empowering message for people to feel comfortable in the skin they were born in, rather than trying to assimilate into something else. She is truly one of the most unique female hip hop rappers out there.
“Dark Skin” is yours to check out at: http://saltationignite.co.nr/
You can also read more about Skim at http://skimvillage.wordpress.com/about-skim/.