Epik Bada$$?


August 31, 2015 by museofmanymasks

Despite the recent influx of crossovers from the K-music sphere to America’s, specifically CL and Keith Ape, my personal spheres have not at all. So imagine my surprise when I read that rising talent Joey Bada$$ was collaborating with Tablo? After an initial anouncement all my internal buzz of question and speculation was not, to my frustration, mirrored on this side of the blogosphere, so I figured hey, maybe it’ll just pass. Then came the confirmation that this is an actual  thing. Well then.

Now don’t misunderstand. I have nothing against Tablo.  It could’ve been worse, it could’ve been Illionaire. Honestly, I’m more surprised that Joey Bada$$ has that much visibility. (Yay him!) So this might come as a surprise to you on this side of the internet, but I’m more familiar with the latter’s music than Tablo’s.  I’m more familiar with Tablo’s present popularity as a tv personality rather than as a rapper. I’ve heard some of Epik High’s work here and there and a few of his solos, but I was never grabbed enough to really explore his work as I usually do when I claim an artist as one I like.

Given that background, maybe you can understand my surprise a little better when you consider that Tablo is mainstream. Some mainstream Korean hip-hop can be gimmicky, presented on other’s perception of the genre and stereotypes rather than any genuineness (as in the realness of that particular performer, not some remote vague conception of “real hip-hop” I’m sure you probably hear a lot). I don’t know enough to say Epik High and Tablo are not guilty of that offense, but I realized that my worry stemmed from any expectations of him from whoever’s running this to conform to that type (YG anyone?).

They have very different styles, so that’s another thing that I wonder at. Was this collaboration chosen at random? Did they draw from a hat? The most common response I read was who is Joey Bada$$? This won’t be “It G Ma” 2.0; hope they know that.

Anyway, for everyone who doesn’t know who Joey Bada$$ is, let me learn ya (Note: bias ahead, these MY favorites):

From his 2012 mixtape 1999:

Steez kills it here. RIP

You see I’m wise beyond my years and my peers
So my voice over the snares is the only way they hear

From his new album B4.DA.$$: (It was really hard to choose three!)

They ain’t tryna’ see me in the battle
The lines is too narrow
They couldn’t even outshine my shadow
They don’t want the beef nigga, let alone the cattle
They just wanna ride the saddle; so sad though

What do you think? Good idea or nah?


3 thoughts on “Epik Bada$$?

  1. Elle says:

    So this comment is only marginally related. Never heard of Joey Bada$$ until reading your post and I literally just discovered Tablo–I’d heard of Epik High and all the hell Tablo went through with that netizen Stanford conspiracy theory mess, but I never even knew who he was until I stumbled upon a video of his daughter and her love of GD. It was so cute & made me check out some snippets of them in the Return of Superman. That was a few days ago then lo & behold I see your post about him.

    I don’t know much about him but from what I’ve read he’s supposed to be quite talented.

    Oh, and I totally agree with your assessment of Korean hip hop. I think too much of the music in general feels unauthentic and a bit soulless. There are exceptions of course, but I remember after discovering dramas I of course checked out the music and never could get into Kpop. I am a true ahjumma though so I do like my Rain though. Lol!


    • The Stanford snafu was really messed up even from a casual bystander perspective. I wish him all the best if for no other reason than to stick it to the haters smh. He also gets points for his wifey being an actress I like lol. There are a lot of artists I agree are talented without liking them personally, American rappers included. He’s pretty much in that category for me. I had a brief flirtation with Kpop starting with B.A.P. thanks to my friend who introduced me to Korean–no, Asian entertainment at large. Before then I had no idea hip-hop was even that global. I was super flattered and it took me a while to come back down to earth to really evaluate. Like you said, there’s good and there’s bad, I learned to keep my head and keep an eye out for mess. I guess you could say this post comes from a self-defensive place of refining my tastes haha.


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