The LIFTED 50 Number 4: Epik High
The Korean OGs are having a killer 2022
Hip Hop is a young rappers’ game, and careers come and go with the wind. When an MC or a group has been around for more than one or two albums, it’s almost an anomaly. Epik High has blown these norms out of the water. When you talk about OG status in Asian Hip Hop you can’t even start the conversation without mentioning South Korea’s Epik High.
In the game since 2003, Tablo, Mithra, and DJ Tukutz have released 10 studio albums and too many singles to mention, plus they were the first Korean act to ever grace the stage at Coachella and were invited back this year – making them the first to ever play there twice.
They have won just about every award you can in South Korea, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Artist of the Year. These brothers have influenced the Korean Hip Hop space more than anyone, and they did it without the aid of KPop beginnings.
Claiming ‘no genre, just music,’ the group has tried many different styles and sought to dispel preconceived notions about what Hip Hop should look and sound like. They’ve just been holding it down for damn near 20 years and staying at the forefront of the scene by continuing to create solid, lyrically diverse music. They started off below the underground in Seoul when Hip Hop was still fringe and broke through in 2005 going to number one with the single ‘Fly,’ doing the heavy lifting in making the genre popular. They haven’t looked back since.
In 2022, the group released their latest album, Epik High is Here Pts 1 and 2, rocked Coachella hard for two weekends, sold-out shows all across the US, had a four-night stand in Seoul, and are planning an Asia-Pacific tour in July. There seems to be no stopping Epik High on their 20-year run.