Since their debut in 2003, Epik High have been one of Korea’s most interesting hip-hop groups. Whether they’ve been part of a small or major label, they’ve always incorporated multiple genres into their sound, resulting in an exciting alternative to mainstream k-pop. They also have a remarkably consistent track record of releasing quality singles. Whittling them down to ten was no small task, but here are the best of the best.
10. One (ft. Ji Sun) (2008)
One blends hip-hop and electro seamlessly, paired with an airy, atmospheric hook that gives it a subtly enticing quality.
9. Fan (2007)
An intense, obsessive ode to fans who go too far, the song’s double-tempo, strings-laced chorus adds to the drama.
8. Wannabe (ft. Mellow) (2009)
Backed by a uncharacteristically enormous electro throb, Wannabe is one of the group’s most club-ready singles.
7. Spoiler (2014)
Taking the tempo down a notch, Spoiler is a gorgeous, sentiment-drenched hip-hop ballad with style to spare.
6. Love Love Love (2007)
Featuring one of their catchiest and most insistent hooks, the sleek trip-hop production gives Love Love Love a unique sound that tempers its pure pop chorus.
5. Peace Day (2004)
An early standout, Peace Day fuses a bright hip-hop beat with an addictive, upbeat chorus and an extended turntable-scratching interlude.
4. Up (ft. Park Bom) (2012)
With a newly bombastic sound, Epik High proved they could compete in the same arena with the resurging idol movement and maintain their outsider appeal. That enormous hook courtesy of 2NE1’s Park Bom certainly helped.
3. Run (2010)
Anchored by its surging chorus, Run was the group’s poppiest single to date, powered by an anthemic instrumental and emotive performance. Guaranteed to pump you up.
2. Born Hater (ft. Beenzino, Verbal Jint, B.I, Mino & Bobby) (2014)
It may lack the melodic side of their music, but Born Hater features the best hip-hop beat the group has given us. The song is a veritable feast of Korean rappers, yet still never loses its identity as an (epic) Epik High track.
1. Don’t Hate Me (2012)
Though signing with YG may have limited some of their indie appeal, it also resulted in their best single. Don’t Hate Me‘s radio rock sound worked wonders, giving the track a full, sing-along appeal that highlighted the guys’ charisma and knack for an incredible hook. While it sounds unlike anything else in their catalog, Don’t Hate Me borrows many of their best elements and crafts them into one hell of an anthem.
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