If you know me personally, then you know that I love to listen to foreign music from time to time. I especially enjoy rap music from other countries. I love that something created by my people has transcended across continents, and languages, and the fact that rap culture isn’t just limited to American culture. I love to expand my horizons and I encourage you guys to do the same, so today I’ll give you a quick crash course on how to listen to foreign rap music.
One of the first things I usually get when someone finds out that I like to listen to foreign rap is “How can you listen to this? You don’t even know what they’re saying.” To this I say: that doesn’t really matter. I’m not gonna lie, it does throw you off at first when you realize that none of the words being said are recognizable, but that allows you to focus on other aspects of the music. One thing that I’ve always said is if you want to gain an appreciation for flow, then you need to listen to foreign rap music. Because you won’t be as focused on lyrical content, you’ll pretty much be forced to listen to how the artist phrases his or her words, and how well that fits the beat that’s used. Another area that you’ll be forced to pay more attention to is delivery. Sometimes you’ll be really into a particular rapper or song, not because of what they’re saying (you have no idea remember), but because of the way they say it. Speed is also a big part of delivery. The speed of the rapper’s cadence can have a huge impact on the flow of the song and how much you enjoy it. Delivery and flow tend to go hand in hand and when both are good, you’ll find yourself bobbing your head even though you have no idea what is actually being said.
Foreign rap music (or at least the foreign rap that I’ve heard) tends to have stellar beatwork. So if you’re a producer, or just a fan of dope beats then you might want to look into some foreign artists and check out their beat selection because more often than not it’s fuego. My theory for this is that foreign artists want not only to be big in their home countries, but to be successful in America as well. So to aide in reaching that goal they select beats that are similar to the beats you would hear in American rap music. Either that or they’re just all good rappers with an ear for good beats.
Don’t be afraid to listen to different things. You never know what might catch your ear, and if you limit your options you could be stopping yourself from potentially finding out about one of your favorite artists. If you hear a buzz about an artist (foreign or domestic) give their work a quick listen and see if you’d be interested in hearing more.
Lastly, here’s a list of foreign rappers and what countries their from so you can get started on your international rap adventure.
Rich Chigga (raps in English!) – Indonesia
Keith Ape – South Korea
Rap Monster (Member of BTS) – South Korea
Beenzino – South Korea
Higher Brothers – China
Booba – France
MC Solaar – France
GKR – Iceland
Sairas T – Finland
Check these guys out! If you have a foreign favorite that I don’t know about hit me up on Twitter @badicaldude and tell me about them!
There’s Some Flava For Your Ear