Industrial Hip Hop against the Hip Hop Industry
The Critical Noise of XXX
Keywords:industrial hip hop, noise, XXX, gukhip, SMTM
Since its humble beginnings about three decades ago, South Korea’s national hip hop scene (gukhip) has grown to a formidable industry that runs the gamut from cutting-edge underground artists to mainstream K-pop idol rappers. In recent years, the cable TV audition programme Show Me the Money (SMTM) has become the gukhip industry’s ultimate gatekeeper as many aspiring hip hop artists increasingly depend on making it on the show to advance their careers. In this article, we focus on XXX, an underground hip hop duo who bucks this commercial trend of gukhip in both sound and message. Their noise-filled beats and shifting grooves echo the avant garde aesthetics and confrontational attitudes of industrial music, and their words are harshly critical of the money-driven gukhip culture as represented by SMTM. We provide a musicological analysis of XXX’s own version of industrial hip hop and examine what makes their “outsider” status sustainable vis-à-vis the gukhip industry.
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