The future of music

25 Korean Rappers You Should Know

June 7, 2023
korean rappers

Are you searching for the most popular Korean rappers at the moment?

You’ve come to the right place!

We’re here to help you find out what to listen to at the moment.

This article contains some of the best Korean rappers that you should know about, and who are pushing Korean rap into the mainstream all over the world.

1. Tablo

Daniel Armand Lee (in Korean, Lee Seon-woong), also known as Tablo, is a Korean-Canadian rapper who is well known for being the frontman of the Korean-hip hop group Epik High and also the founder of the music label HIGHGRND.

Tablo is also an impressive solo rapper with four singles as a lead artist.

“Tomorrow” featuring Taeyang sold over 1.5 million copies in Korea and charted at number two on the Circle Chart and number three on the K-pop Hot 100.

He was nominated for the Best Rap Performance award for his work “Bad” at the Mnet Asian Music Awards but unfortunately missed out on the win.

2. Zico

Woo Ji-Ho, best known by his stage name Zico, began his career as the frontman of the South Korean boyband Block B.

He swiftly made his debut as a solo artist with his debut studio album Thinking in 2019.

The album debuted at number 3 on the Circle Chart.

Zico is the holder of 29 award wins and 79 nominations, with an impressive 5 awards at the Asia Artist Awards!

Some of his titles include Best Star Award, Artist of the Year – Music, Best Musician, and Best Producer Award.

3. Jessi

Jessica Ho, who goes by the name Jessi, debuted as a member of the hip-hop group Uptown, moving on to join the trio Lucky J.

It wasn’t long before she took the K-rap scene by storm as a solo artist, releasing her debut studio album Get Up in 2005.

Jessi has won ten awards and holds seven other nominations.

Her wins include Best Solo Artist at the Golden Disc Awards, Best R&B Hip-hop Award at the Seoul Music Awards, and Best Performer at The Fact Music Awards.

4. Tiger JK

Seo Jung-kwon, better known professionally as Tiger JK began his career as the founding member of the Korean hip-hop crew Drunken Tiger.

He is also in the trio MFTBY, and is thought to be a pioneer that helped bring K-rap to mainstream popularity.

He has won five awards: Best Male Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, Beautiful Sharing at the Style Icon Awards, Most Influential Stars at the Mnet 20’s Choice Awards and Best Cover Model at the Men’s Health Cool Guy Contest, among others.

5. RM

RM, known to his friends and family as Kim Nam-joon and formerly Rap Monster, is the leader of the popular South Korean boy band BTS.

His debut solo album Indigo put him on the map as a soloist and reached the top of the Billboard World charts.

He has won awards for Collaboration of the Year and Music Video of the Year (“Sexy Nukin” with Balming Tiger), and also for Art Patron of the Year.

His most popular single is “Wild Flower” with Youjeen, which topped the world charts.

6. Yoon Mi-Rae

Natasha Shanta Reid, who is best known by her Korean name Yoon Mi-Rae, is an excellent Korean rapper and member of the trio MFBTY.

She made her solo debut with the album As Time Goes By in 2001, which reached number 7 on the Korean charts.

Yoon Mi-Rae has won awards for Best Original Soundtrack (“Touch Love”) and Best R&B Performance (“Have You Forgotten?”).

All of her albums have charted in Korea and have sold on average at least 100,000 copies each!

7. SUGA

Min Yoon-gi, better known as SUGA or Agust D, made his breakthrough as a member of the South Korean boyband BTS.

He made his solo debut with two studio albums, Agust D and D-2. The latter charted in nine countries around the world.

SUGA was nominated for a Grammy Album of the Year Award in 2023 for his songwriting work on Music of the Spheres by Coldplay.

Despite not winning, he won six awards for various works, including Best Collaboration and Hot Trend Award.

8. CL

Lee Chae-rin, who adopted the stage name CL, made her debut as part of the group 2NE1 which has proved to be one of the highest-selling girl groups of all time!

Her solo career took off in 2013 when she released her single “The Baddest Female”.

The single sold over half a million copies in Korea and charted at number four, making it her most successful single.

CL has won an impressive twelve awards as a solo artist, including Top Female Artist at the V Chart Awards.

9. Dok2

Lee Joon-kyung, whose stage name Dok2 is pronounced ‘Dokki’, released his debut studio album Instrumentalz Vol. 1 in 2009, and has released five more since then.

His most popular is Multimillionaire, which reached number nine on the Korean chart.

Dok2’s best-performing single is “Air DoTheQ”, a collaboration with The Quiett, Superbee, Myundo, and Flowsik.

The hit song charted at number five on the Korean Circle Digital Chart.

10. Loco

Kwon Hyuk-woo, best known by his stage name Loco, is a Korean rapper who rose to fame when he won Mnet’s TV rap contest Show Me the Money in 2012.

His only studio album Bleached reached number ten on The Circle Album Chart.

Loco has won three awards during his solo career, including Best OST and Hot Trend Award at the Melon Music Awards and the Hot Issue Entertainment Award at the KBS Entertainment Awards.

11. Keith Ape

Dongheon Lee, known by the stage name Keith Ape (or previously Kid Ash), is a rapper from Seoul and a member of the hip-hop group The Cohort.

His solo debut “It G Ma” was ranked at number five on Billboard K-Town’s list of the Best K-pop Songs of 2015!

He has been coined “the Korean OG Maco” and has been noticed for his excellent live performances and concerts.

His debut studio album MOD: Ape’s Basics in Time and Play proved extremely popular.

12. BewhY

Lee Byung-yoon, whose stage name is BewhY, is a Korean rapper and member of $exy $treet & Yello Music Crew.

In 2016 he won first place on the hip-hop television series Show Me the Money 5, and soon made a name for himself as a solo artist.

He has three studio albums, Time Travel, The Blind Star, and The Movie Star.

The latter two charted on the Korean Circle Chart at number thirteen and number eighteen respectively.

13. Verbal Jint

Kim Jin-tae is known as one of the most successful underground rappers from South Korea in the year 2000 and soon jumped to mainstream popularity.

He has eight studio albums, four of which are charted in the Korean Circle Chart.

Verbal Jint’s most popular studio album is Go Easy, which was released in 2011 and reached number eight.

His 2011 single “You Look Good”, which features The Black Skirts, sold over two and a half million copies in Korea!

14. G-Dragon

Kwon Ji-yong, better known by his stage name G-Dragon, has been coined the “King of K-pop”!

His 2013 studio album Coup d’Etat topped the Korean Circle Album Chart and the US World chart, selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide!

He owns seven Mnet Asian Music Awards and two Golden Disc Awards, among his other impressive accolades.

Forbes even named G-Dragon the most influential person under 30 in Asian Entertainment!

15. Jay Park

Park Jae-beom, who goes by Jay Park, began his career as a member of the b-boy collective Art of Movement.

He broke into the K-rap scene with his debut studio album New Breed, which topped the Korean Circle Chart in 2012.

Jay Park’s single “All I Wanna Do (K)” featuring Hoody and Loco amassed over one million sales and charted in Korea at number nine, making it his most popular hit.

He is the winner of twelve awards and countless other nominations!

16. Beenzino

Lim Sung-bin, who goes by the name Beenzino professionally, is a South Korean rapper who shot to fame with his debut studio album 12.

The 2016 effort reached number 11 on the Korean Circle Chart and has sold thousands of copies worldwide!

Beenzino has had several hit singles, with his most popular being his 2013 hit “Dali, Van, Picasso”, which soared to the top of the Korean Circle Chart.

He has also won four HiphopPlaya Awards for Single of the Year, Featuring of the Year, and Best Lyrics.

17. pH-1

Park Jun-won, better known by his stage name pH-1, is a Korean rapper who rose to fame on the TV series Show Me The Money 777.

His two studio albums, HALO and But for Now Leave Me Alone, charted in Korea at number 21 and number 24 respectively.

pH-1’s most popular single was his 2018 collaboration with Kid Milli, Loopy, and Paloalto, “Good Day”.

It was awarded platinum certification by the KMCA and charted at number four on the Korean Circle Chart.

18. j-hope

Jung Ho-seok, also known by the stage name j-hope, broke onto the Korean hip-hop scene in 2013 as a member of the hit boyband BTS.

His solo career helped him to win a total of six awards and a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year!

His most popular work is his 2022 studio album Jack in the Box, which charted in Korea, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan, the UK, and the US.

It later got award platinum certification by the KMCA.

19. Simon Dominic

Jung Ki-suck, who adopted the stage name Simon Dominic, made his debut as a member of the Korean hip-hop duo Supreme Team.

When they disbanded in 2013, he decided to start his solo career, and has proved popular worldwide!

His debut studio album Simon Dominic Presents ‘SNL League Begins’ peaked at number two on the Korean Circle Chart and sold thousands of copies, with his second album Darkroom reaching number thirty.

20. Sik-K

Kwon Min-sik, who goes by the stage name Sik-K, gained popularity when he appeared on the series Show Me the Money 4.

Before long he released his 2019 debut studio album FL1P, which reached number 28 on the Korean Circle Chart.

Sik-K’s most recent single “Gang Official Remix” was a 2020 collaboration with fellow Korean rappers pH-1, Jay Park, and Haon.

It reached number four in Korea, making it his most successful single to date.

21. GRAY

Lee Seong-hwa, best known by his stage name GRAY, is a popular Korean rapper.

He only has one studio album, Greyground, which reached number four on the Korean Circle Chart and sold over 4500 copies in Korea.

GRAY has been nominated for three Korean Hip-hop Awards, each for Producer of the Year, but unfortunately missed out on a win.

22. Swings

Moon Ji-hoon, better known by his stage name Swings, is a South-Korean rapper with seven studio albums.

His latest three, Upgrade III, Upgrade 0, and Upgrade IV, charted at number 44, number 61, and number 46 respectively.

Swings won a HIPHOPPLAYA Award for Artist of the Year in 2013 and have done lots of collaborations with other great Korean rappers including Jay Park, Beenzino, Dok2, and GRAY.

23. Lee Young Ji

Lee Young Ji is a great Korean rapper, who is famous for her great singles and collaborations.

Her 2019 debut came in the form of a collaboration with Woo Won-jae, Changmo, and The Quiett titled “Go High”.

The single charted at number 27 on the Billboard Hits of the World chart.

She won a Hot Icon Award at the Brand Customer Loyalty Awards in 2021 and also had a nomination at the KBS Entertainment Awards in the category Rookie Award in Show.

24. Kid Milli

Choi Won-jae, who goes by the stage name Kid Milli, began his career by taking rap lessons from fellow Korean rapper Swings.

His debut studio album Al, The Playlist, put him on the map when it reached number 49 on the Korean Circle Album Chart.

His album Cliché, which is a collaboration with the dress, performed well in Korea, reaching number 34 and selling over 5000 copies.

25. Soyeon

Jeon So-yeon, known as Soyeon, made her debut as the frontwoman of the girl group (G)I-die, writing their songs before beginning her solo career.

She has won five awards, both for her songwriting and rapping (for her work “Hwaa”).

Best Korean Rappers – Final Thoughts

Korean rap has been rising in popularity for the past decade and spreading across the world!

The rappers in this list are the best in the business, and you should definitely check them out.

They are responsible for the growth of Korean hip-hop and K-rap.

We hope you enjoy listening to these talented rappers.

You may also like: Best Rappers of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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