Thanks to K-netizens’ rising interest in hip-hop due to Show Me The Money and Unpretty Rapstar, several similar competitive shows are taking place. One of them happens to be the rap survival show for younger artists called High School Rapper (HSR). Teens and young adults participate with the help of legendary mentors like Jay Park and Deepflow to professionally enter the K-hip-hop industry. With the show churning out winners like Haon and Lee Youngji, HSR is considered a stepping stone to getting prominence and recognition for upcoming underground artists.
Take a look at some of the fierce competitors as well as their SoundCloud which give us an exciting peek into what we should expect from the show.
Born Lee Seung-hoon, Trade L is a 16-year-old rapper signed under Jay Park and Cha Cha Malone’s hip-hop label, H1GHR MUSIC. He’s also part of the underground crew, Livrside with none other than the participant, Park Hyeon-jin. Spoken highly of by his labelmates, pH-1 and Jay Park multiple times, check out his performance on the very first episode to see his introductory rap where he wowed the mentors and contestants alike. He shows off his versatility with a stable flow as well as his ability to play with the rhythm, mold into it perfectly, without going off-beat at all.
This 15-year-old rapper has been active since 2017, having won another competition, K-Pop Star 6. He’s also signed under Starship Entertainment – home to hip-hop artists like #GUN and another participant, PLUMA. If you’re new to the hip-hop scene, we would suggest starting off with Park Hyeon-jin who can seamlessly incorporate his vocals along with his raps. His verses are a breath of fresh air with a melodic jazzy tune as seen in his introductory rap as he takes it slow for those who are still not used to this genre.
Born as Kim Da-hyun, Lil Bemo is yet another new face from Jeju Island. Even though his flow might be a tad bit unconventional, there is a reason why the mentors go crazy every time he performs. We all know that rapping is more than just spouting off whatever comes to our head. Well, Lil Bemo shows off his witty self through his lyrics. Even though he seemed nervous during his introduction in the first episode, the moment the music came on, the 16-year-old rapper completely transformed.
If you’re looking for someone with range, Lee Sang-jae who goes by the stage name Lil Nekh is right up your alley. While he left a lasting impression with his unique vocals during his introductory performance, he is not a one-trick pony. Along with his clever verses and ability to come up with a freestyle rap on the spot, he also has a dynamic vocal range. His constant change of pitch from his signature voice to a sudden deep verse is certainly the highlight of his performances.
Also goes by the name Kim Jae-ha, the 17-year-old rapper already debuted last year with a solid EP, Life Like 18 featuring some of his other Livrside crewmates and High School Rapper 4 participants like Juto and Trade L. He is, in fact, a trained artist from Def Music Academy and has mentors like Futuristic Saver. He tends to rap in a sing-song R&B vibe with such ease that his music is perfect for those who are still rookie hip-hop listeners. Which is why in the latest round, when he had to compete against Kang Yoseob, he held his own; to the point that no one was eliminated resulting in a rematch that is to air next episode!
There were some other artists that caught our eye but did not make it to the latest round. However, they left a lasting impression to the extent that fans actually think that there might be a revival round where they might get one more chance. Here are some of those strong contenders: the hidden assassin, Osun, Ciipher‘s TAG, P Nation‘s D.Ark and R&B rapper, Lee Do-hoon.
Do you think that a revival episode is a possibility? Are you excited for the 4th season of High School Rapper? It airs every Friday on Mnet’s channel. You can watch the performances again as they’re uploaded on to Mnet’s official YouTube channel. Is there anyone else that we might have missed? Was there someone who was eliminated way too early before they could show off their talent? Who is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.