So this is pretty special to me! I grew up listening to and absolutely adore Grime music (the English equivalent to hip-hop) and in recent years have discovered Korean rap music so a combination of the two is literally my dream. Over the past couple of years I have been very happy to see how Grime has not only found it’s true home a British music phenomenon, culminating in Skepta winning the mercury prize last year (those with a keen eye may notice his presence on the cover art) and in addition extend it’s reach to a global audience. South Korea, as I have learnt over the course of the past year, has it’s own flourishing and unique hip-hop and rap scene (for those who are unaware) so for a Korean artist to break the mould and adopt this distinctly British style is a massive step in Grime’s progress to world domination!
The song itself is immense; the beat has a distinctly heavy, modern Grime sound, and reminds me heavily of the beats used by Skepta on “Shutsdown” and “Man (Gang)”. This is interesting to note because it reflects the current sound prevalent in Grime music and the sound which has been most successful commercially thereby showing that it is this current wave of Grime music that has been of influence. In terms of vocals I am a big, big fan of the combined use of Korean and English on any rap song and this is no exception with Damndef flowing seamlessly between the two. After listening to this I have come to realise how well suited Korean rappers are to making Grime music, as the fast delivery and rhythmic sound fall well into the Grimey beat at the genre’s characteristic 140 bpm. Lyrics wise is where the track can be said to let itself down, as the track is a typical rap “swag” banger, but this is nitpicking and really doesn’t take away from the immediacy and impact of the song. This is exemplified perfectly by the chorus “Do it for nike, do it for preme/ Do it for dead p, do it for me /Do it for fam, do it for baby/ Do it for mandem, do it for dream”, which despite it’s lack of critical message becomes incredibly catchy and you soon can’t help shouting along to it. Another interesting note is the use of English “Roadman” slang words “Mandem” and “Fam” further emphasising the influence of English Grime on Damndef. In further relevance to this is the below video by Korean YouTuber Korean Billy, where he explains this slang (It’s hilarious), providing another example of how Grime is having a worldwide impact.
Finally it is interesting to note that the music video was posted on SBTV which is one of the biggest (probably the biggest) YouTube channels dedicated to UK urban music. This is incredibly exciting for me and I look forward to seeing how Grime music continues to grow and establish scenes in other countries and the new ideas that will be brought to the genre (international collaborations between MC’s maybe?). This song is a banger, but in my mind this is only the start!