If you have been following Korean hip hop for a while, you have probably at least heard the name Verbal Jint. If you have watched Show Me the Money the last few seasons (especially this summer) then you know VJ is, well, a bit of an enigma.
Verbal Jint, born Kim Jin-tae, has had a huge impact on the Korean hip hop music industry. Currently with Brand New Music, he released his first album ‘Modern Rhymes’ back in 2001.
Recognizing a lack of actual rhyming skill in Korean rap music, Verbal Jint did something about it. From Wikipedia:
“Verbal Jint, in a 2012 interview with the Korea Times, said,“People who came before us didn’t have much interest in rhyming; artists before us were satisfied with talking fast and thinking that it was rapping — and that sold then.” Verbal Jint’s debut album and its follow-up “Overclass” introduced new innovations in achieving the grammatical accuracy needed to arrange Korean successfully into rhymes. He was the first to create actual rhyme schemes in Korean and his method is now the standard for Korean rapping within the hip hop scene. The rhymework and flow of his music have been considered revolutionary within the Korean entertainment industry as they have rapidly changed the construction of Korean hip hop music and thus its style and lyrical qualities.“
In addition to being a successful rapper, writer and producer, Verbal Jint received his degree in economics from Seoul National University and is currently taking a break from earning his law degree from Hanyang University. VJ is a fascinating guy and I highly recommend this article about him from the Korea Times.
Although he has participated in many collaborations and features the past couple years, VJ’s last full album was ’10 Years of Misinterpretation’ back in 2012. ‘Go Hard Pt.1: 양가치’ has been a long time coming and I recently listened to all 21 tracks. Below I highlight my favorites:
Track 2 – 시발점 (Starting Point) (feat. Beenzino) – The jazzy instrumentals on this track are great and Verbal’s flow is perfect for this style of song. I love how versatile Beenzino is. He is able to maintain his unique style while at the same time molding himself to fit every song he features on. As always, looking forward to lyric translations.
Track 3 – 90년대로부터 (From the ’90s) – Verbal Jint pays homage to the the 90s era of hip hop. I love the way the tracks are ordered throughout the album and the beat for this song is a nice change of pace from Track 2.
Track 6 – 보통사람 (The Average Man) (feat. Black Nut) – Well, well, well. I am pleasantly surprised. I was not expecting to like this track as much as I did. I was not the biggest fan of Black Nut as a person this summer on SMTM but I am reminded once again that he is indeed talented. After all the drama this summer I’m glad this collaboration happened.
Track 8 – 아포가또 (Affogato) (feat. Sanchez of Phantom)
Track 14 – Karma (feat. Lil Cham) – This track is still growing on me because I’m not sure VJ’s flow fits the style of song. I did want to highlight it because I think it was a great collaboration choice. I didn’t watch the first season of Unpretty Rapstar but I’m always excited to see a female rapper featured.
Track 16 – Seoul State of Mind (feat. Gaeko of Dynamic Duo, Basick, and Tablo) – This line up tho! I love Gaeko on the chorus. Props to Basick but Tablo’s verse is my favorite.
Track 19 – The Grind 2 (feat. Jerry K)