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Epik High: Two Decades In The Music Scene

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If you are a fan of Korean Hip Hop you have probably heard of Epik High, if you have not, so this post is perfect for you. This musical group has been innovating in Korean music for the last two decades. Its members have even participated as judges on the rapper survival program “Show me the money” which currently has over 10 seasons. Epik High is a South Korean Hip-hop group composed by Tablo, Mithra Jin – two rappers – and the DJ, Tukutz. Although their formation dates back to 2001 after Tablo returns to South Korea, they were on the underground scene, so they did not have publicity and were not really recognized; however, they started to grow and even one of the biggest entertainment Korean Companies signed a contract with them. Let’s talk now a little about its history in the music scene. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that Epik High has done for the first time what many others only dream of. Their hip hop is recognized for its lyrics and originality, always present even after two decades. It is one of the most recognized bands not only domestically in South Korea but also internationally including being invited to the US Coachella musical festival for the third time this year. They have more than twelve albums in their musical career and various collaborations with artists such as  Eric Nam, Beenzino, Taeyang from Big Bang, Mino from  Winner, and Bobby from iKON,  the latter three from YG Entertainment. 

They debuted officially on October 23rd of 2003 in Seoul with  Woollim Entertainment, which was founded the same year: thus Epik High is one of their first artists. Furthermore, they debuted with their first album called Map of the Human Soul, which has a duration of over 60 minutes. Also, in the production of several songs participated Gaeko from Dynamic Duo. In general, the songs were written by Tablo and Mithra. The following year, they released their second album called High Society with 18 tracks with collaborations with Kim Yeo Woo and Clazziquai Project, among others. It should be noted that their first two albums were not really successful, but with the third one called Swam Songs success knocked on their door. They gained recognition with their song Fly,  which was number one for several days on the national charts and was used in the FIFA07 video game. The funny thing is that this album was supposed to be the last. 

In 2009, Epik High separated from Woollim Entertainment, creating its independent label called Map the Soul along with other artists such as Dok2. While there, they released an album with the same name of their label with a duration of 34 minutes with ten songs in which they have collaborations with Paloalto and Simon Dominic, among others. This period between 2009 and 2012 in a way is considered a pause because Mithra and Dj Tukutz enlisted in the army. While Tablo for being a Canadian citizen did not have this duty and in fact he signed a contract with YG Entertainment, debuting as a solo artist with the song  Fever’s End. But this was not the end of the band, because the other members also joined the same company in 2011, being in contract for seven years till 2018.

Being in YG Entertainment allowed them to explore new options, thus in 2013 they celebrated their 10th anniversary, and in 2014 released their album Shoebox which included one of the band’s greatest hits – one of my favorite songs – Born Hater. In this one, Tablo and the other two members refer to ill-intentioned people who created gossip about their lives, especially about Tablo’s college life. This album has 12 tracks and a Japanese version from the same year. In 2016, they participated in the Coachella festival, and the following year they released their last album with YG, We have done something Wonderful with a duration of 43 minutes and the participation of great artists such as IU with the song  Love [story] and Oh Hyuk with the beautiful song  Home is far away

Epik High has been producing hits, in 2019 they released an EP called Sleepless which was distributed by Kakao M in March of the same year.  This one is well received by the public, and it got on the Billboard World Album Chart; this project even has the participation of Suga from BTS, he helped with the musical arrangement of the song Eternal Sunshine. After between 2021 and 2022, they released two parts of their album Epik High is here. It has great songs such as Rosario and Gray so gray. In this project participated singers such as CL, Zico, Heize, and Younha, among others.

The tenth album’s cover –  Epik High is Here Part 2 – Taken from

https://genius.com/albums/Epik-high/Epik-high-is-here-pt-2#

For over two decades, Epik High has contributed to the Korean and international music scene. It is possible to notice that although rap is the preferred genre, their music is varied and innovative. Also, they have shared scenery with many artists and have participated in important places in Europe and North America. This post is a tribute to this wonderful group; which is in fact one of my favorite ones for sharing their scene with so many voices. In case, you are curious about their songs and collaborations, you should visit their YouTube Chanel Official Epik High and their Spotify where they have more than a million monthly listeners.

Written by: Andrea Ramirez

Reviewed by: Laura Herrera

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