The 5 torchbearers for the future of Thai Hip Hop
Enter: SPRITE, SARAN, Tsunari, K.AGLET & HK
There’s a whole lot of buzz surrounding Thailand right now, especially with it being the host country of Rolling Loud’s maiden voyage to Asia. The Land of Smiles is also home to an extremely healthy Hip Hop scene, with names like F.Hero, Thaitanium, the folks from HYPE TRAIN, and YOUNGOHM, just to name a few, releasing brilliant music consistently over the years. 1MILL, MILLI, Diamond.MQT and OG Bobby are fire emojis as well.
Just like its Southeast Asian neighbors Singapore and Malaysia, Thai Hip Hop started emerging in the early 90s. An MC named Joey Boy is one of the pioneers of Hip Hop in the Siamese region. He began collaborating with the Canadian reggae artist, Snow, and recorded multiple singles with him. The most notable track between them is ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’. It was released in 1995 and came along with a music video, which now with the luxury of retrospect, perfectly captured the 90s in many ways. ‘Fun,Fun, Fun’ topped the charts in Thailand and paved the way for Hip Hop to shine.
It also helps that the country has just recently started a much more relaxed approach when it comes to drug laws and alternative lifestyles as compared to the rest of Asia, which in turn allows its MCs to express themselves without constraint. With all things considered, Thailand might just be the capital of Asian Hip Hop for now, something we predicted as well for 2023. With such a healthy scene alongside a thriving culture, who’s going to carry it forward? Who are the ones to break even more doors open? Look no further. Here are the five torchbearers for the future of Thai Hip Hop.
SPRITE first made waves in Thailand when he competed in the Hip Hop reality TV show, Show Me The Money in 2020 at only 15 years old. In the same year, he was signed to one of the biggest Hip Hop-centric labels in Thailand, HYPE TRAIN. How many MCs can say that they got their record deal at the tender age of 15?
The MC turns 18 this year, and he’s already built a great discography through multiple singles, on top of high-profile collaborations with artists both regionally and locally. SPRITE has only gotten started in his career, but the waves that are rippling from his channels are now tidal. Either ride it with him, or it’ll crash all over you.
SARAN is another young king on this list. Similar to SPRITE, he rose to significant prominence when was part of a Hip Hop reality show, with both MCs competing in their teens. In the 2020 iteration, SARAN was crowned as the overall winner of The Rapper.
Ever since then, he’s only gone on to solidify his place in Thailand’s Hip Hop scene. When you look at his work rate, one would think that he’s been in the game for years. But with a string of singles and a stellar EP under his belt, it’s safe to say that SARAN has only started to get the ball rolling from his end. Armed with over a billion views collectively on his YouTube channel which has over two million subscribers – it’s easy to tell that everyone knows what’s up as well.
Born in the UK to a Thai mother and a Trinidadian father, Tsunari has spent most of her upbringing in a diversified environment – jumping between Saudi Arabia and Thailand for most of her adolescence as well. But as she revealed to LiFTED in 2021, it was in Thailand that shaped who she is today – “Once I settled in Korat, I fully embraced my Thai heritage and had a wide variety of experiences that shaped my mindset.”
She spent a stint in London, with hopes of kickstarting her music career – but she couldn’t shake off the homesickness, and the allure of Thailand’s healthy Hip Hop scene brought her back. Now, Tsunari is absolutely killing it with her hard-hitting delivery, groovy beats, and a dash of R&B flavor.
K.AGLET is a versatile MC, whether it’s on a drill beat or an off-kilter take. One thing will always ring true when he’s on a track - he’ll kill it. If anyone were to be crowned the most consistent artist of 2022, K.AGLET would definitely be in the conversation, dropping multiple singles, alongside great collaborations with MCs from all over.
He rose to stardom when won the second edition of Show Me the Money and he has not slowed down one bit ever since. There’s always something new coming out from K.AGLET, and it’s more often than not a whole different sound from the MC to take in, keeping you on your toes.
HK, the ‘Youngin from Huaimek’ is an MC who’s been blowing up the Trap scene in Thailand. Although subgenres like Drill have been dominating the recent airwaves, HK is a beaming reminder as to why Trap remained in the spotlight for such a long period of time - it’s infectious, thumping, and a whole lot of fun.
HK has been on a tear with releases since 2021. He’s got an EP, KINGKONG 2, a 20-track album KING OF TOWN, and two albums, Krazy Pain and Krazy Pain 2.0. The MC from Huaimek doesn’t try to be anything else but himself, and it shows in all of his releases. It’s him spitting his truths and keeping it real, which is a theme that’s prevalent in all of his lyrical content.