5 MIN READ
When discussing artists in the K Hip-Hop and K R&B scene, names like DEAN, Simon Dominic, The Quiett, CHANGMO and Crush often come up in conversation. However, very rarely are female artists ever included in these discussions. Examining a bit further and it is noticeable that there's a huge disparity between the number of popular female artists within the industry compared to male ones. Women have found themselves marginalised within the industry and often do not have the same opportunities to thrive. This also partly stems from a lack of female leadership in the community which makes it harder for women to gain these opportunities. While there are the likes of Yoon Mirae and in recent years Jessi, LeeHi and CL, generally for women, despite displaying great skills, they never seemed to get the same acknowledgement. However, recently there has been a positive change that has seen more women within the scene gain recognition allowing them to carve out a place for themselves. In order to continue this trend, let's take a look at some female artists in K Hip-Hop and K R&B that you need to know about.
#1 - LEE YOUNG JI
With a carefree attitude and strong skills to match, Lee Young Ji is a rapper that has been making a name for herself within the K Hip-Hop scene. She first appeared as a contestant on the 3rd season of the teen rap competition show 'High School Rapper' and her sharp rap skills helped her beat out the competition and win the season. Given the gap between the number of women who appear on or even win rap shows in Korea compared to men, her victory was important as it showed that female rappers were on the same level, and in her case even better than their male competitors. In 2019, she signed to Mainstream Records and has since been releasing music under the label. Her songs have a fun feel to them but listeners shouldn't be deceived because she consistently delivers powerful bars. This coupled with her deep tone and unique flow makes her music distinct. Her latest work has been through HIPHOPPLAYA x Staby Go's 2021 Special Summer Project 'HANG OUT' which saw her work with H1GHR MUSIC producer Woogie to create the song 'HATE ME'.
#2 - SUMIN
Having produced songs for groups such as Red Velvet and BTS, SUMIN is no stranger to the Korean music scene. In addition to her producing talent, she is also an incredible solo artist. Her music mixes classic R&B with more modern sounds which gives it a unique, futuristic feel. Listeners can find lots of vocal effects, robotic sounds and even hints of 80's pop within her songs. This is best demonstrated in her song 'Fightman' featuring sokodomo. SUMIN doesn't allow herself to be limited in her music as she also switches up smooth, refined vocals with bits of rapping in her songs. She has also collaborated with numerous artists such as Zion.T, BeWhy and Loco. Her most recent collaboration, however, came in September 2021 in the form of a joint album with producer Slom called 'MINISERIES'. With talent as a vocalist, producer and writer, SUMIN proves that she is an all-rounder.
#3 - MIRANI
Being the first woman in the entire history of Show Me The Money to make it to the semi-finals, mirani is definitely a noteworthy rapper. She joined the show's 9th season in 2020, and after coming close to elimination within the first rounds, she bounced back and showed that her skills were worthy of a place in the semi-finals. During her time on the show, she gave viewers many enjoyable performances, one of those being 'Achoo' which saw her perform alongside pH-1. Her advancement on Show Me The Money helped pave the way and led to a significant rise in female participation in its current 10th season. In 2021, she signed to GroovyRoom's new label AREA as one of their first artists. She released her double-single 'Daisy' in June 2021 which included features from pH-1 and JUSTHIS. Currently, it has almost 2 million streams on Spotify. mirani's fresh and easy-going music along with her upbeat rap style is sure to make listeners want to hear more from her.
#4 - BIBI
BIBI was discovered after Yoon Mirae heard her music on SoundCloud. She subsequently signed to Yoon Mirae's and Tiger JK's FeelGhoodMusic label in 2017. However, she only began to garner attention in 2019 after competing on 'The Fan' during which she claimed second place. She made her official debut in late 2019 with her wildly popular song 'Binu' and since then, she has been rapidly gaining interest from domestic and international listeners with her catchy releases. What makes BIBI stand out is that she explores darker topics through her music and videos that many shy away from such as issues women face and mental health issues. This was showcased especially on her EP 'Life is a Bi...' which saw her explore the low points of her life through the comparison of being trapped in a toxic relationship. It was a unique comparison and her choice to highlight these issues is something that was appreciated by fans. As BIBI continues to grow as an artist, she is proving that she is a force to be reckoned with.
#5 - SINCE
Perhaps one of the more underrated rappers in the scene today, SINCE possesses spectacular skills that deserve praise. She officially began releasing music independently in 2020 and has a confident and tough attitude which is reflected in her work. She has the ability to spit out powerful bars and ride the beat well on her songs which makes them thrilling to listen to. Despite only just starting off, her talent hasn't gone unnoticed as it made VMC CEO and rapper DEEPFLOW take an interest in her and scout her for his Boiling Point project. Simon Dominic also voiced his support for her in her participation on Show Me The Money 10, and she was also a part of Dingo Freestyle's Rising Verse. In July 2021, she put out her first full-length album 'SINCE '16' which saw some popular names in K Hip-Hop like Don Mills, 365 LIT and Ourealgoat feature on it. SINCE is just starting her career but she's definitely a rapper for people to keep their eyes on.
#6 - YOURA
youra is a soloist who currently releases music under the label Mun Hwa In. Her career began in 2018 with her single 'my' but at the time, she remained relatively unknown. This all changed after she appeared on the singing competition show 'The Fan' which helped push her into the spotlight. Her airy, sweet voice led to her being sought after by artists and producers alike such as GIRIBOY, Comsic Boy and GroovyRoom. Even as she gained additional recognition through these collaborations, she still found the time to produce excellent solo work. Her music sees a blend of R&B and indie and has a lofi quality to it. Her latest EP 'GAUSSIAN' demonstrates this perfectly and also shows off her talent for drawing listeners in with her vocals and dynamic work.
#7 - CAMO
Although she only made her debut in 2020, CAMO is a promising rapper who has been gaining traction within the industry. She has a laid-back rap style and uses a lot of English lyrics in her songs, but at times she switches it up and brings cool vocals. Her releases are sultry and addictive, and the use of autotune works to give her songs more depth. Her song 'Life is Wet' featuring JMIN saw her rise to popularity and attract many new fans. Her work conveys messages of strength and confidence and her lyrics reveal that she is unafraid to express her sexuality as a woman- something that is undoubtedly empowering to female listeners. In May 2021, she released her EP 'Fragile' which saw her produce a solid body of work and collaborate with rappers like The Quiett, Leellamarz and Coogie. Her latest release 'TYT' featuring BIBI comes as a part of the 'HANG OUT' project where she worked on a team with producer DASKHOOD.
#8 - DEVITA
While she participated in a few competition shows in the past, it was in 2018 when DeVita began to get serious recognition. The K R&B singer received the attention of Ugly Duck and collaborated with him on their song 'Sugar' in 2018. After this, she joined 8BallTown and began to collaborate with popular artists within the industry such as Nucksal, Woo Wonjae and Geeks. In 2020, she made the move to AOMG which signalled the beginning of her own solo releases. Her first EP 'CRÈME' was put out in April of that same year and was well-received by fans and new listeners alike. Having spent a few years living in America, her music incorporates a bit of western flair which makes it stand out. This along with her silky vocals and deep lyricism make her songs attractive and has led to her having a sizable following.