A Weekend of Hip Hop and R&B In Seoul

Last week, my friend and I had the opportunity to watch some foreign .Hip hop and R&B are two of my favourite music genres in general, regardless of the language the artist speaks in the songs. There’s something about the flow and smoothness of each genre that has the ability to both relax people and hype them up. If I understand what the artists talk about, it’s just an added bonus to the enjoyment.

Over the weekend, we visited two events: a smaller event at Soap Seoul, a club in Itaewon (이태원) and the HIPHOPPLAYA Music Festival which took place in Nanji Hangang Park (난지한강공원). Before arriving in Korea, I had tried to familiarize myself with some of the more common names in Korean Hip Hop and R&B. I was definitely excited to see the artists I knew, as well as discover some new ones.


The Cut Studio

After a long day of classes, my friend and I decided we would show up at about 6:30pm in order to make a 9:00pm “doors open” time. We had both heard of this event from following Jay Park on Instagram. We saw that over 30,000 people liked the announcement picture he posted and were worried that we’d be unable to make it in. The event was free, but The Cut received an overwhelming amount of responses, so much so that they had to tell people to arrive at the venue extremely early in order for them to “not be disappointed.”

The promotional lineup poster for The Cut Studio’s event at Soap Seoul (Source:  https://www.facebook.com/soapseoul/photos/a.224221584709376.1073741828.207037719761096/244177916047076/?type=3&theater)

Video 1

The lineup at about 8:00pm, one hour before the doors were supposed to open to the club.

Overall, it was awesome to get a chance to really immerse myself in this part of Korean pop culture. I was around, for the most part, people who enjoyed the same type of music as I did. This was the first club I visited that the DJs played the exact genre of music I enjoy. I’m definitely going to be visiting Soap Seoul again.


Video 2

Two of the DJs, before the main acts came up, playing a track from UK artist Craig David.

In terms of the acts that were there, I knew about half of them. What surprised me the most about the music they performed though, was that the songs I knew that I thought really made me a hip hop-insider in Korea, were really the more popular songs here. The die-hard fans of the artists knew songs from their early days before they “made it big,” and for those songs, I was out of luck. Fortunately, the music still kept the good vibes, and the night in general was awesome.


Video 3

SIK K performing his song Rendezvous.


Video 4

WARNING: this video’s music is loud and includes screeching feedback from the microphone.

Jay Park, performing his song All I Wanna Do.


HIPHOPPLAYA Music Festival

Compared to the free event at Soap Seoul, HIPHOPPLAYA was very expensive at about 77,000 Won per person when we bought them a few weeks before the event, rising to about 85,000 Won a few days before the event. For the amount of artists attending though, 77,000 Won definitely would not have been much for so many of the die-hard Korean hip hop fans that would be attending. As with my friend, I took this as another opportunity to listen to more awesome music, and quickly bought my ticket.

The lineup for HIPHOPPLAYA Music Festival (Source: http://ticket.melon.com/performance/index.htm?prodId=200425&src=hpmain_F)

The trek to the venue was a bit rough for me and my friend. We had thought we’d be able to take a short 15 minute walk from World Cup Stadium Station (월드컵공원역) to the park, but instead, had to cross the mini-mountain in Haneul Park (하늘공원) and then cross the highway (thank goodness for the bridge)! Instead, I recommend that anyone planning to go to Nanji Hangang Park, regardless of the occasion, take the transit option mapped out in the second image below. It will save you time, and if the morning was hot and humid like the day of the festival was, it will also save you a very uncomfortable hike.

INCORRECT ROUTE (Source: Google Maps)

Unless you’d like to hike up the stairs of Haneul Park, use the route below to get to Nanji Hangang Park.


CORRECT TRAVEL ROUTE (Source: Google Maps)

  1. Take a westbound train (towards City Hall) on Line 2 (Green Line) until you get to Dangsan Station (당산역)
  2. From Dangsan Station, walk to the Dangsan Station Samsung Raemian Apt. 당산역 삼성래미안 아파트) bus stop, and take the 9707 all the way to the final stop at Nanji Hangang Park. You will arrive right at in front of the park.

Overall, despite the journey, I enjoyed the HIPHOPPLAYA Festival much more than the show at Soap Seoul. At Soap Seoul, I found a lot of the people in the crowd, especially right at the front of the stage were solely at the venue to take photos of the celebrities. At Nanji Hangang Park, knowing that everyone had to pay at least 77,000 Won to enter, you could tell that people were there because they enjoyed hip hop and R&B music.

Nanji Hangang Park was packed during the HIPHOPPLAYA Festival

Overall, I really enjoyed the vibes and atmosphere at HIPHOPPLAYA more than at Soap Seoul. That’s not to say that I didn’t have fun at Soap Seoul; it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience being able to see and listen to the biggest names in Korean hip hop and R&B in such an intimate venue. At HIPHOPPLAYA though, I felt like there was much more of a community-feel, with everyone there genuinely enjoying the artists and the music they had created.

The lineup of artists at HIPHOPPLAYA lasted for almost 12 hours. Check out the clips I got below of some of my favourites.


Video 5

One of the first performances that I watched that afternoon.


Video 6

I had a chance to watch Sik-K perform again. This is him singing Ring Ring.


Video 7

The biggest and most popular performance of the night was definitely Loco and Jay Park from AOMG (Above Ordinary Music Group), who performed closer the end of the festival.


Article by Kevin from Canada

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