With the globalization of Korean pop music reaching all four corners of the Earth at an alarming rate, an influx of incredible and innovative tracks curated by none other than our favorite idols from both Asia and other parts of the world is all around us. By bringing together a meshing of cultures, musical styles, and general aesthetic to each collaboration, artists have been able to bridge musical gaps and create unique soundscapes for the general public to enjoy.
Now, this is by no means a new phenomenon, as famous Korean idols have been reaching out to the rest of the world for inspiration. Remember when JYJ featured rapper Kanye West and poet Malik Yusef on “Ayyy Girl” or when Wonder Girls paired up with Akon to create the hit, “Like Money”? How about in 2013 when will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas released “Gettin’ Dumb” with 2NE1? Or better yet, what about 2009 when SE7EN brought in some help from the legendary Lil’ Kim for their collaboration, “Girls”?
Here are some of the more recent times East meets West collaborations brought together some of our favorite artists:
1. Put My Hands On You – DEAN ft. Anderson Paak
K-Pop crooner and resident pretty boy Dean’s second single “Put My Hands On You” featured Oxnard, California native Anderson Paak. The half African-American, half-Korean singer/rapper adds a dimension to the track no South Korean native could replicate. Produced by Soulection artist esta. and Mad Decent Hawaii-based producer Mr. Carmack, this track has an arsenal of incredibly talented individuals contributing to its unique R&B and Soul sound.
2. Cave Me In – Gallant, Tablo, and Eric Nam
Maryland native Christopher Gallant, aka Gallant was Grammy Award nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album during 2016. Signed to Mind of a Genius records, home of other artists such as experimental hip-hop duo They. and electronic mystery Zhu, Gallant teams up with Epik High’s Tablo and singer Eric Nam to create the smoldering soulful collaboration for “Cave Me In”.
3. Umbrella – Far East Movement ft. Hyolyn and Gill Chang
Hailing from Koreatown, Los Angeles, Asian-Americans Kev Nish, Prohgress, and DJ Virman make up the electronic sensation: Far East Movement. Though most recognize them for their track “Like a G-6”, the group’s latest album Identity employs the talent of many overseas artists such as Park Chanyeol of EXO, Tiffany of SNSD, Jay Park, rapper Yoon Mi-Rae and others to form a sonic sensation special to those who grow up between the cultures of Western and Asian music. Though not a single from Identity, “Umbrella” features mighty vocalist Hyolyn and Taiwanese Dance/Electronic producer Gill Chang and can be considered one of Far East Movement’s most uplifting tracks to date.
4. Dirty Vibe – Skrillex ft. Diplo, G-Dragon, and CL
The brainchild of American producers Skrillex and Diplo, “Dirty Vibe” was originally made for energy drink company Red Bull to use for their advertisements in 2014. Later released on Skrillex’s fourth studio album, “Dirty Vibe”, boasting vocals from both 2ne1’s CL and Big Bang’s G-Dragon, the track hit within the top twenty on the Billboard charts for Electronic music. Different from the muted sounds of other East meets West collaborations, “Dirty Vibe” boasts what is described by Red Bull to be nothing other than “hyperkinetic beats”.
5. P.D.D. – Rap Monster of BTS & Warren G
Warren G serves as a pivotal player in pioneering the G-Funk era of Hip-Hop in the United States. After meeting BTS on their variety show, American Hustle Life, he promised to make a track in collaboration with the group. Thus, Rap Monster’s track “P.D.D.” or “Please Don’t Die” was born. The melodic beat was created by Warren G while Rap Monster worked on the lyrics and recording. By emulating a West Coast style of smooth, yet melodic low-tone pattern, the duo was able to create a track unlike the mainstream hip-hop released by other artists. It seems that the soul of late American rapper and friend of Warren G, Nate Dogg, has procured itself in the heart of this collaboration. Since this collaboration, Rap Monster has bridged into a number of other side-projects including a collaboration with Washington D.C. native rapper Wale.
6. Temple – Baauer ft. M.I.A. & G-Dragon
G-Dragon proves himself yet again as one of the most eccentric and worldly artists in the South Korean music industry and his feature on New York bass and trap producer, Baauer’s song, “Temple” shows that his career is far from over. Baauer, most ostensibly known for his track and viral internet sensation, “Harlem Shake” garnered more interest from artists like London rapper, M.I.A., who is also featured on electronic smash “Temple”. The track boasts a zen focused beginning followed by the loud booms of hi-hats, kick drums, synths, and strings.
7. Get Dumb – CD9 ft. Crayon Pop
Look just south of the United States to CD9, one of Mexico’s most popular boy bands. The group, managed by Sony Music Mexico collaborated with fellow Sony Music sister group, Crayon Pop. The song crossed major cultural boundaries by creating two versions of the track, “Get Dumb” for international fans to listen to in English and domestic fans to listen to Spanish/Korean. An homage to classic bubblegum styling, “Get Dumb” was a substantial hit to pop fanatics from varying countries of the world.
8. Vente Pa’ Ca – Ricky Martin ft. Wendy of Red Velvet
“Vente Pa’ Ca” or in English, “Come Here” is a dance song by Puerto Rican hit singer Ricky Martin.Though the original version of the song features Columbian artist Maluma, Martin re-released two versions of “Vente Pa’ Ca”, including Red Velvet’s Wendy and Chinese artist A-Lin. One of the biggest Spanish-language hits of 2016, this track’s reggaeton and latin flavor works perfectly with the catchy lyricism and flavor of both Ricky Martin and Wendy.
9. Dr. Pepper – Diplo, CL, Riff Raff, & OG Maco
One of the edgiest collaborations to come out of 2015, record label Mad Decent released, “Dr. Pepper”, a track bringing together some of the most avant-garde artists in the music industry: CL and rappers Riff Raff and OG Maco. Produced by Diplo, this trap collaboration wasn’t always meant to be about soda! In fact, after Diplo cancelled a meeting between the artists, CL hurriedly wrote many of the lyrics while drinking a can Dr. Pepper to keep production on schedule.
10. Press Your Number – Taemin (prod. by Bruno Mars & The Stereotypes)
At the first listen, you wouldn’t assume any notable American influence on this track, but American pop singer, Bruno Mars, and R&B production team The Stereotypes came together to create “Press Your Number” for Taemin, a vocal Bruno Mars fan. Taemin adjusted the lyrics for Korean audiences, ensuring the success of the single soon coming out with a Japanese re-release. With a slow brooding tempo that changes into a fast-paced electronic rhythm, “Press Your Number” combines melodic American pop song structure with appealing Korean lyricism.
11. Hangover – PSY ft. Snoop Dogg
What happens when you take South Korea’s biggest viral music sensation and America’s most sought after rapper? PSY and Snoop Dogg create a mind-boggling five-minute collaboration entitled, “Hangover,” featuring a cacophony of well-calibrated sound. PSY revealed that the video was filmed in a whopping ten locations over only eighteen hours when Snoop Dogg flew to South Korea in 2014. A blend of electronic, bass-booming trap, and classic hip-hop, “Hangover” is a huge collaborative follow-up to PSY’s former hits, “Gentleman” and “Gangnam Style”.
Comment below as to who you want to see collaborate in the future!
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