K-Pop fans know that one of the truly unique qualities of Korean girl groups is that a good majority of them come with one or two rappers.
While most Western girl groups are primarily known for their vocal talents, American girl groups that come with rappers are more the exception than the rule. Moreover, few of them meet commercial success. Historically, one of the most successful American girl groups that came with a rapper was 90s phenomenon T.L.C. Rapper Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes added a distinct flavor to T-Boz’s low singing voice and Chili’s smooth melodious sound. When Left-Eye died in a car crash in 2002, the group was never the same.
Meanwhile, in K-Pop, female rappers have contributed to the success of several girl groups. While some of the more popular girl groups have excellent female rappers including Wonder Girls’ Yubin and Girls Generation’s Sooyoung and Hyoyeon, their skills as vocalists and/or dancers serve to undermine their skills as rappers, so please allow me to introduce you to a few of the most unique, prominent female rappers in K-Pop.
f(x) is often seen as “little sisters” to the label’s main attraction, Girl’s Generation, but Chinese member Amber Josephine “Amber” Liu is anything but a little sister. Everything about the low-voiced, pixie-haired rapper is a stark contrast to the remaining four girly-girl members, Victoria, Sulli, Krystal, and Luna. For starters, Amber’s voice and Western-style rap makes f(x) music truly f(x). You’ll know you’re listening to an f(x) track the minute Amber’s voice comes into any song (take “Pinocchio,” for example, which is a great Amber showcase). Her fashion is also markedly different from the other members. She usually dresses in jackets, jeans and leggings, wearing decidedly “butch” attire in defiance of the other girls’ skirts and dresses. Any f(x) fan will admit that Amber brings something unique, not just to f(x), but to K-Pop.The Kick-Butt Tomboy: Amber of f(x). SM Entertainment’s
2NE1 is the premiere girl group of YG Entertainment, and Chae-rin “CL” Lee is the fiery furnace behind the girl power that emanates from the heart and soul of CL and fellow members Dara, Bom, and Minzy. The sound of 2NE1 may be described as a potent mix of hip-hop, house, and pop, with several singles pointing to the group’s flexibility, including the dancefloor gem “I Am The Best” and the heartfelt acoustic anthem “Lonely.” When CL struts her stuff, she takes the stage like few other Korean girl group leaders, grabbing the attention of anyone with an electricity unmatched in K-Pop. Her own rap style is strangely unique, with influences from Fugees singer-rapper Lauryn Hill probably the most dominant Western comparison.The Fierce Leader: CL of 2NE1.
SECRET, Hana “Zinger” Jung has set herself apart from fellow members Jieun, Hyosung, and Sunhwa with her sassy rap lines and her ample frame. In an industry where most girls are encouraged to be stick-thin and feminine, the slightly more full-figured members of SECRET, bannered by the voluptuous Zinger, have earned respect for their curvaceous physique. Zinger has not let her curves get in the way of her attitude and style though as SECRET’s MVs, including “Madonna,” “Magic,” and its latest single, “Love is Move,” often feature Zinger making some curvaceous (but not lewd!) moves which are similar to dance icons like Madonna or Beyonce. As a rapper, Zinger tends more towards the Left-Eye model of rap, emphasizing certain words and phrases with a higher tone that comes across as both cute yet empowering. To give credence to her rapping chops, she has a solo track entitled “Amazinger” in their album “Moving in Secret.”The Voluptuous Vixen: Zinger of SECRET. As a member of TS Entertainment’s girl group
Brown-Eyed Girls (BEG) are one of the most respected girl groups in K-Pop, thanks in great part to rapper Mi Hye “Miryo” Jo. Fans of BEG know that each member brings something unique to the group, but even K-Pop fans unfamiliar with BEG will see the immense contribution of the powerful lines delivered by the venomous fury of Miryo. BEG is known for its artistic, dramatic, well-executed MVs, every one of which finds Miryo in an antagonistic, girl-power role that befits her status and position. “Abracadabra,” “Sign,” and the latest, “Sixth Sense,” all find Miryo blasting out sardonic lines, delivered in a dual female assassin/vamp persona that has even translated into real life. When Miryo tries to be cute (aegyo), even her fellow members cringe at the thought!The Femme Fatale: Miryo of Brown-Eyed Girls. Nega Network’s
Push Push,” “How Dare You,” and its most recent single, “So Cool,” which earned Bora, Hyorin, Soyu, and Dasom their first-ever #1 music show finish on Inkigayo. Bora is undoubtedly the driving force and most popular member of SISTAR, which may be one of the many reasons why she was one of two members selected for SISTAR’s first sub-group, Sistar19, alongside main vocalist Hyorin. Sistar19′s debut single, “Ma Boy,” was a successful single. As a rapper, Bora maintains a cool, confident attitude, but it is also her female charms that have made her a popular choice for many television shows. To date, Bora has been featured in “Let’s Go Dream Team 2!,” “Happy Together,” “Hello Baby,” and two seasons of “Invincible Youth.”The Crossover Princess: Bora of SISTAR. Starship Entertainment’s SISTAR has earned rave reviews for many of its singles, including debut single “
Catherine Deen blogs for Yahoo! Philippines OMG! She lives, eats and breathes Korean music, cuisine, telenovelas, and pop culture. Follow her on Twitter @cathsdeen.
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