As a huge fan of artist Rudeka I recently had the chance to listen to his new album ‘SOBER’ prior to its release. Read on for my review of the album that I consider the best he has produced so far, an opinion I am not alone with.
Please note that at the time I previewed the album it was not completed yet, so the given information might be subject to change.
Rudeka (루드카) is an underground rapper who produces all of his songs himself and also sings from time to time. He has released over 14 albums, among them instrumental albums, One Piece and Marvel-inspired albums, and an R&B album. You can find the complete album list along with download links on the artist’s profile here, and an extensive interview with Rudeka about his latest work ‘The Amazing RUDE-MAN’ (2014) here.
Album Title and Cover
The cover shows Rudeka with his trademark, a gray hoodie. It is simple and clean like most of his cover artworks. Being a huge fan of Tiger JK, Rudeka’s album cover is a hommage to Drunken Tiger’s 3rd album ‘The Legend Of…’, as you can see above. The same goes for the title. As opposed to Drunken Tiger, the album is called ‘SOBER’; also because Rudeka does neither smoke nor drink alcohol. The reason for this is explained in the track ‘Drunken’.
Click on the titles to read my description of each track.
I am hiphop, you are hiphop, he is hiphop. You know what I’m saying? Everyone’s so great, cursing and fighting. Hiphop, you know what I’m saying? You are hiphop and I am hiphop and everyone is hiphop. Hiphop is a way of living, music, philosophy, you know what I’m saying? I’m just here to do what I like. Uh, so … You know what I’m saying … Shi* … Don’t mess with me … Real hiphop? Shi* … Not anyone can make hiphop!
The voice gradually changes from Tiger JK’s to Rudeka’s and then the music sets in. The lyrics tell of Rudeka’s hardships as an underground rapper who does his own thing and keeps going despite all the disappointments, no matter what is awaiting him.
As this track’s title ‘시작’ [Start] suggests, it is a good introduction to Rudeka’s music and the album itself.
Overall ReviewAfter the first time I had listened to ‘SOBER’, I was in absolute awe, wondering why Rudeka has not yet received the attention he deserves and I truly wish that listeners will recognize his talent upon hearing this album even though and because it has not much in common with mainstream hiphop sounds.
As a whole, ‘SOBER’ is put together very well and offers a variety of tunes from jazz to rock while never losing its recurrent theme. There are no other lyrics I can identify with as well as with Rudeka’s and that is because he is always plain honest. In this album he raps and sings of life’s struggles and hardships but also of hope and determination. The album’s beats show several unusual elements, sounds you might have not heard in any hiphop beat before, which makes them fresh and interesting. The repetitive hooks had me sing and move along to the music after only a few listens. Thanks to Rudeka, I now know Drunken Tiger’s ‘Skit #4’ by heart and shout “힙합은 아무나 하나?!” [Not anyone can do hiphop!!] in perfect sync with the album’s intro.
The door to Rudeka’s music is not easy to open, but once you are in you know you have come to the right place. As a fan of his, this is my new favorite Rudeka album and I am surely going to have it on repeat for quite some time.
As of now, the artist has not decided on a release date yet due to the huge buzz about Show Me The Money, but Hiphop Korea will be sure to keep you posted.
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