10 More South Korean Albums for Non K-pop Fans

I've done this before here. Through the years I've made it my mission to introduce Korean and Japanese music to Americans and have done it with them and others. I've written about, reviewed and even podcasted about some of my favorite albums. Well, here are 10 more Korean Albums you as a non Korean Pop listener should hear. K-Pop has taken the world by storm but BTS and Monsta X aren't the beginning or end of what Korea's musical talents have to offer. With this list, as well as the last, I hope you walk away with an artist or even a single song that you love. 

Yerin Baek - FRANK

Before going solo and becoming the beautiful artist fans cherish now, Yerin Baek was a part of the K-Pop duo 15& While still under that label she dropped a banger of an EP. Frank is the prelude to who Yerin Baek is now while also being the rawest version of her at the time. The album's lead single Across The Universe is a beautiful pop ballad about wanting to be close to the person you love no matter what. While the lead singer is more poppy, the rest of the album is full melo ballads about surviving, living, becoming a better person and being the best version of yourself you can be. Plus, it's a great album to listen to on a rainy day snuggled in bed next to the window. 


Dynamic Duo - Grand Carnival

Legendary Korean Rap duo, Dynamic Duo, dropped their 8th studio album in 2015. Grand Carnival boasted 11 tracks that had the last half of the year jumping. It featured a more luscious lead single Jam which had everyone grooving. The album also featured rising stars in the scene that added much flavor to the tracks such as Dean's singing on How You Doin, Sway D's production on Juminsingo and Nafla's sick rap on J.O.T.S. Mixing the newer talent with the old school legends truly made the album feel like a grand carnival. With zero skips and tons of infectious songs, I hope this is the gateway to you listening to Korean HipHop.


 Code Kunst - Muggles Mansion

The sophomore album Crumple by Producer Code Kunst left many of us speechless while wanting more. After signing to new label HIGHGRND after the launch of his second LP, we all waited to see what Kunst could cook up next. His first album under the new label, Muggles Mansion, was exactly what we needed. Once again featuring some of the hottest artists in the game across all genres, Muggles Mansion truly pushed the label for producers in Korea. Instead of producers being the background character, they were now standing next to the vocalist on the tracks they constructed. Code Kunst made sure to create a banger for everyone here with relaxing late night tunes in Cruz, heart breaking rifts with X and feel good jams like StrOngerrr. There's something for everyone on this album so I hope you take a listen. 


 Primary - 2

2 is the second solo LP from Producer Primary. He had been making waves in Korea from P'Skool's debut album Step Under The Metro and follow up album Daily Apartments to his first solo album Primary and the Messengers. With so many great songs under his belt, I could not wait to hear 2. The album did not disappoint. Primary stuck to his notable sound of Funk, R&B, and Soul while hosting a couple guest on each of the 10 songs. From long time collaborators such as Dynamic Duo to new renters such as BTS's RM, Kwon Jin Ah, and the ever talented Suran who made a name for herself on the project. Honestly, the album is good for the youngins but great for the elders. Play See You, Hello, and U for your parents and they'll have flashbacks to when they were younger. 


 Zion T - OO

One of the most beautiful voices from South Korea belongs to Zion T. His silky and sultry voice is addicting. With his album OO, he continued to give us heart wrenching yet very relatable tunes that blend HipHop and Jazz. A beautiful and soulful album that will stay in your head forever. 


 Hyukoh - 23

Do you want to cry? Do you want to feel? 23 is the album that needs no translation. An album that speaks to you despite being in a different language. The most popular song on the album, Tomboy, had non Korean speakers bawling their eyes out. I saw it with my own eyes. 23 controls your emotions and doesn't let go until the album is done. Good luck cause this album will leave you speechless. 



SAAY is able to bridge the gap between American and Korean R&B. From her sultry belting and pure charisma, SAAY's music fuses the best of both worlds. Her debut album CLAASSIC had me surprised. I wasn't expecting her to understand the stylistics of old school R&B with her own flavor. The album will have you crooning to the sweet love songs as while also grinding to the sexy deep cuts. 


 Samuel Seo - Ego Expand 100%

This was the first album I listened to by the South Korean genius. I was not prepared. Similar to SAAY, Seo's music reflects a perfect depiction of R&B. He's got numbers reminiscent of 2000s and late 90's R&B. Never does it feel like copycat songs. Everything Seo does is unique and personal. To top it off, he completed the album in only a month. Ego Expand 100% is the perfect album to bast on those summer days when you're riding around feeling the cool breeze


 Dok2 -Reborn

The best way to describe Reborn is easy. Its an album that feels smooth and light. From the boom bap joints, soft vocals from guest features and even club angers, the album feels like a nice needed pick me up. Its blends upbeat tunes and inspirational raps smoothly like a fine peanut butter and jelly.


 IU - Palette 

IU dropped an amazing album. Not only was it one of the best albums of that year but its definitely one of the best album to ever come out of South Korea. Palette is the only Pop album on this list but it is far from the idol music like Black Pink non K-Pop fans are used to. Its more Carly Re Jepsen. Palette has the ballads, the pop joints, the heartache and the heartful. Its an album that's more than a recommendation and more of a must.


Garser Dismuke is a writer for Blerdsonline.com as well as Garserspoetry.com

He releases his vast knowledge of Anime, Wrestling, K-pop and Poetry on the daily

Check out my new book “181820” on Amazon

Tweet to @GraciasGarser

10 More South Korean Albums for Non K-pop Fans 10 More South Korean Albums for Non K-pop Fans Reviewed by Tyrone Dismuke on Sunday, January 29, 2023 Rating: 5

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