Over the past decade, South Korea has emerged as a powerful force in entertainment. While Korean soap operas and pop music have long had a hold on Asia and parts of the Middle East, the country's global influence has grown alongside its booming economy in recent years. For instance, nine-piece mega-pop group Girls' Generation and a handful of their labelmates sold out Madison Square Garden back in 2011. A year later, FADER TV was cracking jokes with 2NE1.
The next frontier, though, might be hip-hop. One potential candidate to lead the South Korean rap takeover is Keith Ape, a 21-year-old rapper and member of Hi-lite Records' group The Cohort. He certainly retweets enough to deserve the title. Keith, whose stage name is a reference to the late Keith Haring, has been releasing music online for a couple of years. But he began attracting attention after releasing interpretations of viral American rap songs. Last year, he put out "Hot Ninja," a dub of Bobby Shmurda's summer smash "Hot Nigga." And earlier this month, he dropped "It G Ma," a track so heavily inspired by "U Guessed It" that Keith Ape is quickly being dubbed the Korean OG Maco. Regardless, the posse cut, which features verses from a handful of Korean and Japanese Cohort affiliates and whose video stars a bottle of rice wine, is a certified banger.
To quote one enthusiastic YouTube commenter, "This goes so fucking hard even when I don't understand a single word in Korean DAAAAAAAMN."
Thumbnail image via Keith Ape's Facebook.