The Women of Underground Hip-Hop, R&B, and Indie Music
The end of March marks the end of National Women’s History Month. As women of the past, present, and future continue to change the world, many of Korea’s underground female artists bring up the undertones of the music industry as talented musicians come into the forefront of today’s music. As a celebration of these female hidden figures, we are focusing on a few of these special ladies.
The first under the spotlight is singer and songwriter OVCOCO who debuted in late 2015. As an artist under the crew House On Mars, OVCOCO is better known in the underground Indie community. She is one of the rare female vocals that blesses her listeners’ ears with a soft breath of a message in a world only growing louder. Alongside other noteworthy underground artists such as NöAIR, TAEK, and Leekohh, OVCOCO blends bits of an electronica Indie vibe with simple yet progressive beats that are perfect to vibe to. Her fifth single released the 26th of March, “BADA,” which means “ocean,” captivates listeners, and the depth of her lyrics is as deep as the sea.
GiiANA, who took part in composing “BADA” along with House On Mars’s DOKO and LNNN, is yet another talented female beatmaker and producer. Many tracks for artists under House On Mars have been produced by her for artists such as Jeebanoff and Bevy Maco. Additionally, GiiANA has produced tracks for another fabulous female artist, Summer Soul, including “Paradise” and “Nostalgia.” Summer Soul’s most recent release, “How Beautiful,” features TAEK, showcasing her talent at lyric writing, composition, arrangement, and instrumentation.
Late last summer, YESEO gifted her fans with an album full of her vocals. If you have yet to give her a listen, I would strongly recommend “Silhouette.” Filling empty space with minimum sounds other than a few chords and her sky high vocals that will take you to the clouds, you’ll take a trip to space before you realize you’ve been walking on your silhouette. Switching over to more fortified vocals, Nieah, is a force of nature to reckon with. Nieah, once a part of Amourette (AMRT), a female underground Hip-Hop crew which included Hoody, SERI, and, KittiB, now runs her own show from composing and singing to producing her own works. After leaving AMRT, Nieah joined Jay Dope and Mute to form the crew Chillwithus where she produced “Cactus Flower.”
Korea's musical underground wonderland is the starting point of some of Korea's hottest artists, new genres and sounds, cinematography, and even fashion. While she is no longer an underground artist, this is where HEIZE's roots are buried deep. After breaking into the mainstream with her collab with DEAN in “And July,” and her track “저 별” (Byul, meaning Star), HEIZE garnered much attention. Recent releases include “Jenga” featuring Gaeko as well as her most recent release, “MIANHAE.” In each and every release, HEIZE continues to impress us with her variety of styles.
What all of these ladies have in common is that they are redefining Hip-Hop, R&B, and Indie music. While some may describe their overall sound as Alternative R&B, there is much more to their styles and emotions. Since music is ever so entangled with culture, the arts, fashion, and much more, it may never be possible for even these artists to define their own styles of music. The new emerging R&B movement is continuously producing artists such as these mentioned. Unlike previous styles of Hip-Hop and R&B, many female artists have taken on a style of music to deliver a heartfelt message across with a whisper that is received as a roar.
By experimenting with various styles and techniques, Korea's newest music movement includes a fresh breath of Rhythm & Blues, a “Pop” of color, and a journey to understanding the Neo-Soul through various elements, with touches of bass, synth, and drums. Thanks to these ladies as well as the many other artists not mentioned, listeners will continue to enjoy the ever-evolving world of music produced by these fantastic artists.
Share with us your favorite underground female artist. Leave a mention in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!