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Epik High Releases The Ultra-Sweet ‘Strawberry’ EP

Korean alternative hip-hop trio Epik High push towards sweet beginnings–and melodies– on their bubbly Strawberry EP, with features from Jackson Wang and Hwa Sa.

Korean alternative hip-hop trio Epik High push towards sweet beginnings--and melodies-- on their bubbly Strawberry EP, with features from Jackson Wang and Hwa Sa.
Epik High (Courtesy of OURS Co.)

As the group approaches 20 years together, their new release is nothing like their scratching, 808s, disco-flared turntablism of 2006’s Black Swan Songs. Still, Strawberry’s glossy production is a far cry from 2021’s urban R&B trap-influenced Epik High Is Here 上 (Part 1).

After 20 years, though, ageist discrimination plays a big factor in success. How does Epik High continue to release music today?

It’s simple: they created a lane of their own; with over ten studio albums; 7.6 million social media followers, 1.1 million Spotify listeners, and accumulated 368 million YouTube views; collaborating with today’s K-pop idols like Suga of BTS, IU, and Taeyang of Big Bang; and becoming Coachella regulars starting in 2016, with second invitations following in 2020 and 2022.

Yes, they are one of the best-selling and most-extensively touring Korean acts ever. But, today, they are our Music Discovery.

Strawberry EP by Epik High

Despite the group’s hard-hitting discography, the new EP is a haven of refreshingly sweet tracks. Star-studded guest features and good vibes are sandwiched between the jazzy lo-fi opening and closing track.

On “On My Way,” Chinese K-pop Jackson Wang raps through self-doubt and false preconceived notions atop a punchy bedroom pop. But “Catch” is the record’s golden child, with MAMAMOO’s Hwa Sa filling the funky disco track with airy falsettos.

“We thought that people would expect some music that is reminiscing and weighed down by the years, and we wanted to go against that expectation and just create something that sounds like three guys that just decided to create a group together.

explains group leader Tablo via Billboard

“Down Bad Freestyle” is probably the most traditional Epik High hip-hop-sounding track. The thumping drum machine is almost peaceful after a spunky yet relatively soft lo-fi record experience.

Yet the freestyle tackles undercooked ideas of cancel culture, the [controversial Korean cryptocurrency developer] Do Kwon, and people being financially and emotionally “down bad.”

What do you think of Epik High’s Strawberry EP? Let us know in the comments! Listen the EP below.

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