When you are covered by the New York Times and American hip hop magazines like XXL, Keith Ape has, no doubt, the credibility and attention from the birthplace of rap. We here at We Are: The Guard are also on alert. Hot off the success of It G Ma, the track that put him on the map, the Bape-wearing South Korean MC looks to deliver once again with Swanton Bomb.



Although rap has been existent on Korean popular music since the nineties, it served the purpose mainly as window dressing or superficial supplement to the bubblegum sound of most K-pop offerings. This often overshadows the indie industry in South Korea, with very few legitimate musicians finding success on a national scale. Keith Ape is one of those legitimate talents looking to redefine true hip hop in the country.

Listening to the heavy, hard sound of Swanton Bomb, you cannot help but wonder about his love for professional wrestling by naming his track after Jeff Hardy’s finishing move and dropping the names of other WWE legends such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Kane, Bubba Ray Dudley, Goldust, and Rey Mysterio. Whatever his motivation is, this song is like classic Dirty South on steroids, as there is never a dull moment, and the rhymes just keep coming, blending English and Korean quite seamlessly.

This track will draw praise and criticism, and even my opinions about it are mixed at best. There is just too much going on at any given moment, lacking any coherent flow from line to line. By no means is Swanton Bomb rubbish, though. Rather, it is an unapologetic attempt to destroy all K-pop raps in one fell swoop.