Keep Up with the Hype: The Hottest Taiwanese Hip-Hop Joints
BY ILL MO / Apr-14-2020
Taiwanese hip-hop has always been abundant and various in quality and style, and it is a known fact that as a democratic country, Taiwan enjoys the freedom of speech, which allows all artists to express their thoughts with full artistic freedom. This specific characteristic nurtures individuals to grow into unique artists to create. And the songs in this playlist will show the diversity and excellence of Taiwanese hip-hop music.
The playlist is at the end of the article.
Soft Lipa - "Home Cookin"
Soft Lipa is one of the most prominent figures in Taiwanese hip-hop, yet he has not released an album for 7 years. In 2020, he has finally returned with a new album Home Cookin under his own music label RSDR. Departing from Kao Inc., SL takes full control of his art into his own hands, and attempts to explore different possibilities outside of his previous comfort zone. In his single "Home Cookin," he raps as if he was speaking to his daughter, in a way it explains his time away from the public's eyes. The boom bap sound of the single is reminiscent of Golden Age hip-hop, with an obvious similarity to DJ Premier's style of sample chopping in Nas's "Nas Is Like" in the beginning of the song. It is a bold statement that die hard hip-hop heads will be able to relate and resonate with, and a declaration that SL has return with the realness.
SHOU - "COLORFUL"
SHOU is one-fourth of the hip-hop group Ching G Squad, and the group has been quite successful recently. After the massive triumph of the debut album from fellow group member OSN, SHOU does not disappoint with his own debut BROADING. The music video of the lead single "COLORFUL" has already generated over 1.5 million hits on YouTube. The addictive guitar-driven beat is K-poppish, with the catchy hook sung by SHOU himself, it is almost impossible to fail as he skillfully showcases his melodic rap in the song. The new school flavor proves to be current, and SHOU is definitely putting on a show right now.
ILL MO feat. ?te - "Lady First"
"Lady First" is a collaboration between Mandarin rap pioneer ILL MO and mysterious songstress ?te. It is rare to hear ILL MO rap about romance, yet the success is undeniable as ?te lends her hypnotic hook while MO hits the rhymes right. Despite being ?te's first feature, the song remains on top of the charts, and the public is still showing strong interest as she disguises her face behind the long brim fedora. ?te's mentor from her label Chynahouse, Tower, made the beat for "Lady First," and the Lo-Fi beat serves as the perfect canvas for both to express insights of love, narrating the intriguing details between lovers. The jazzy aroma pouring from ?te's sexy voice blends in seamlessly with MO's rap.
Lee Yin Hung aka DJ Didilong feat. Soft Lipa "Sweet 2020"
With his critically acclaimed debut Taipei Didilong, Didilong returns ambitiously with his second solo album Sweet 2020 and attempts to explore further into the "Taike" discourse. The entire album is heavily G-Funk oriented, and it is called "T-Funk" by the CEO of Kao Inc., which is the representation of localization of G-Funk from Taiwan. The single "Sweet 2020" features Soft Lipa, and the lyrics contain numerous nostalgic references and definitions of a "Sweet." As the first song of the album, it clearly sets the tone for the entire disc. The groovy bassline and the sound of vintage synthesizers never sounded so good, at least not yet in Taiwan.
Starr Chen & Tipsy - "Biao"
Starr Chen and Tipsy have long been in the same rap group Young Souljaz, and they have never been afraid to experiment new styles and sounds. Now, Starr Chen is already a household name, producing for many mainstream artists, and his instincts and abilities to make hits cannot be overlooked. On the other hand, Tipsy had also transformed from a rapper to a producer, making beats for ESO and Kenzy from MJ116. They travelled to Japan to make this song. The playful theme of saying no to everything is ear-catching, and the mesmerizing trap beat with a strong 808 as well as a exotic vocal sample produced by Starr makes the audience press the repeat button.
Asiaboy & Lizi - "PIMP"
From nothing to something has always been the favorite narrative of rappers. Young rappers like Asiaboy & Lizi are the Cinderellas of the Taiwan rap game in 2019. They have fully embraced all of the stereotypical negative and misogynic content of western hip-hop, and it totally worked. They now have a strong young following that await their new song to curse something or someone out, to let out the anger. With the energy as strong as theirs, the lyrical content perhaps does not matter so much anymore.
Drew feat. Sowut, Macdella - "404"
Not much is known about the Pingtung rapper Drew; however, this boombap track displays how skilled rappers can tackle the beat in different ways and styles. Macdella from Taichung leads his Multiverse crew, and they are slowly bubbling in the underground. The most well-known rapper in this song is Sowut, who has a long history of beef with others, and he is also known for his complicated rhyme schemes. In this particular song, Sowut steals the show as he raps in different time signatures and speeds with pauses and adlibs, the verse can be viewed as a great example of what a MC’s versatility is.
Frαnkie - "Beat the Meat and Sleep"
Frαnkie is from the underground rap crew Dats Da Shit, and "Beat the Beat and Sleep" is a humorous track in which he raps braggadocio rhymes about his sexual abilities with a catchy phrase. It is fun to listen to, and a very memorable choice for the lead single of his second solo album Trlnltl. In the music video Frαnkie is not afraid to play different roles, even if they do not seem to fit into the "cool rappers" narrative; however, that makes him stand out among his peers aside from his outstanding lyrical prowess.
Patrick Brasca feat. 8lak, Horsea - "Don't Wanna Lie"
NICKTHEREAL - feat. SIK-K, JP THE WAVY - "iGO ASIA REMIX"
Bu$y & Ye!!ow, Paper Jim - "Skr Skr"
Leo Wang - "Drumstick Bento"
Goat - "Health & Happiness"
Jnco - "Young OG"
Kenzy feat. K9 - "SHA KUAN"
PiNkChAiN - "GRIN TOO FLY"
Dwagie - "Rewind"
GorDoN - "Steal"
J.Sheon - "RAZOR"
Yang Shu Ya - "who is in my body?"