[BIBIMBEATS] July 2013: K-Indie Women to Watch

This month, Bibimbeats makes guys take the backseat and honors female artists making waves in the music scene. They’re lady lyricists, R&B hooks on our favorite rap songs, and fluid poetry in the ballads the K-Indie genre is known for. Whether they’re up-and-coming or well-established, these girls pack a musical punch. Here are a few women we predict great things from in the next coming months.

As the first female singer to debut from male-dominated hip-hop label Brand New Music, Kang Min-hee’s voice breaks the mold. Musically precocious, a majority of her pre-debut years were spent producing and composing songs, most notably Miss $’s 2009 album S Class. Three years later, she joined the group herself, and a slew of hits – both solo and with Miss $ – followed suit. Her feature on Verbal Jint’s single “Good Start” produced an ‘all-kill’ on music charts and had netizens putting her range and delivery in the same bracket as fellow rookie power vocal Ailee. In fact, when Verbal needs a suitable replacement for live performances of his Ailee duet “If It Ain’t Love”, it’s often Min-hee joining him on stage.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “It’s You”

In her declarative debut “I’m Her” featuring Zion T, KittiB announces her arrival with confidence unseen since underground flow queen Rimi. Her no-nonsense attitude paired with her trademark high heels and cat-eyed makeup makes her a live stage hit, landing her on festival line-ups alongside fellow maestros like Giriboy and Beenzino. Collaborating with Donutman on his Rappin Time 2 mixtape, KittiB has proved she can hold her own as a lady MC. After releasing follow-up single “Leopard Heels” this March, her first EP is rumored to be in the works and set for distribution later this year. Until then, fans can check out self-released songs on her official SoundCloud website, where she samples tracks by anyone from Rihanna to Amy Winehouse.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “I’m Her” with Zion T

Im Yu-jin’s career began as keyboardist for indie act, Black Skirts. It wasn’t until she picked up moniker ‘Neon Bunny’ and released her debut Seoulight that the nation took notice, even beating out popular artists IU and 10CM for Best Pop Album in the 2012 Korean Music Awards. From ethereal ballads to synth heavy dance music, her sound can best be described as a nod to the ever-popular French electro-pop scene with a Hongdae club twist. Together with Black Skirts’ Holiday Cho, she heads Doggyrich Collective, a label for both visual and performing artists. Fun Fact: Before Neon Bunny, Yu-jin was just another student at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where she studied voice alongside future K-Pop icon, 2NE1’s Park Bom.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “Come With Me”

Fans of Urban Zakapa know there is nobody who sings R&B like songstress, Jo Hyun-ah. Since their debut in 2009, Urban Zakapa has created their own niche in the K-Indie scene. But it’s in collaborations and solo efforts where Hyun-ah’s talent seems to really shine, her velvety vocals quickly vacillating between sentimental balladeer and engaging accompaniment. Having worked with some of Korea’s greatest hip-hop artists, her impressive range rings out like a soulful battle cry, adding a new layer of emotion to even the most aggressive track. Lately, Hyun-ah has also been garnering increasing attention for her work as a composer, attracting critics with the slow yet climactic “Sea Child” on ballad singer Younha’s latest album.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “You Made Me” with Kim Jin-pyo

Last but not least, there’s the only woman mentioned who can name legendary producer Quincy Jones as a fan – Yoon Mi-rae, known to many by stage name Tasha. Joined with husband Tiger JK, she is one half of the coolest couple the Korean music scene has to offer. So far in 2013, Mi-rae and Tiger JK, along with fellow MC Bizzy, have been performing all over the world as hip-hop unit MFBTY (My Fans Better Than Yours). Having started her career in 2001 as more of an R&B singer, her rap image has been a slow and steady evolution, though many cite Mi-rae as one of the strongest female lyricists around. With rumors of a new solo album coming out soon, it will be interesting to see her continue to twist and mold the future of Korean music.

Bibimbeats Recommends: “BizzyTigerYoonmirae” with MFBTY