With January well underway, television channel Mnet have released their plans for upcoming shows this year.
High School Rapper logos seasons 2, 3 and 4
While the 11th season of Show Me the Money has been confirmed, which will mark a decade of the show running, it seems that Mnet have decided to not renew High School Rapper for this year. Though the premise of both shows is very similar, seeing as they are both survival rap shows, High School Rapper is distinctly different in that it only allows participants who are of high school age.
Established in 2017, HSR was originally hosted by Jun-ha Jeong and Haha, before Nucksal became MC in seasons 2 to 4. Initially, contestants were sorted by their home city, however, in later seasons this changed, and season 4 instead saw mentors who were representatives of their music labels.
Though season 1 had several controversies surrounding the participants, the show was renewed and season 2 saw the show focusing more on delivering sincere stories and thoughts from the rappers. However, as mentioned in our podcast, season 4 seemed to be lacking this element somewhat and this feeling was contributed to by the lack of diversity in the contestants. Whereas season 3 had strong female contestants such as Sandy and Lee Young Ji, season 4 was comprised of all male participants.
Furthermore, the essence of hip-hop seems to have been diluted. To an extent, this is something that a lot of rap shows have fallen victim to as pop music is primarily more in the mainstream, and thus tailoring music to this genre may result in higher charting music that will supposedly bring more viewership. However, many songs on HSR4 did not stay long in the charts, and comparatively many of the stages received lower view counts than previous seasons on YouTube.
While there certainly were contestants that stood out, the producer teams were generally the focal point of the show. Should there be a season 5 in the future, hopefully it will bring more dynamic and unique young rappers with a strong sense of artistic direction that, with mentorship, can be channelled into quality songs.
Listen to the podcast episode for further insight into High School Rapper season 4.