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Park Hye Jin - Between House and Rap

By Smaël Bouaici |

Our latest Qobuzissime has been awarded to "Before I Die", a fascinating first album by the young South Korean who lives in L.A. Park Hye Jin mixes lo-fi house, laid back Californian rap and UK garage - consider her the ideal bridge between hip-hop and electronic music.

After making a splash in 2018 with her debut EP If U Want It, which included the hits ABC and I DON'T CARE, 박혜진 park hye jin went on to attract attention with live performances during which she would grab the mic to sing/rap over what she was mixing on the decks. Hastily branded the new prodigy of lo-fi house, on her first album the South Korean demonstrates that her palette is actually a lot broader than that.

Coming from her base in Los Angeles, you can feel the laid back spirit of Californian rap hovering over this record, which starts with a UK garage vibe (but with a powerful kick) on Let's Sing Let's Dance.

Park Hye Jin raps throughout the first half of the album, with moody choruses like on Good Morning, Good Night with its muffled boom bap and reverb guitar that serve to accentuate the sunny side of the track. In the same vein, note the hypnotic I Need You or Where Did I Go, as well as the artist’s gift for simple and catchy choruses with a nonchalant flow that goes back and forth between the front and the back of the sound stage.

While there's a very rap flow to the record, house is never far away. You can hear small elements of it on tracks such as Whatchu Doin Later or Can I Get Your Number (which is set to be remixed very soon); you hear it in the phrasing of the choruses, or in the effects on her voice. The second part of the record is more straightforward with 4/4 beats on Sex With Me (DEFG), which follows the principle of her hit ABC with slightly more daring lyrics, and Where Are You Think, a model of lo-fi house that is much too short. Hey, Hey, Hey and Never Die raise the BPM and move towards techno, the latter brightened by a looped piano chord and a voice that disperses like steam. It all ends in a steamy trap-style fusion on Sunday ASAP and i jus wanna be happy, a track that's as cottony as they come. Out of nowhere, Park Hye Jin has built a new bridge between hip-hop and electronic music; a more than deserving Qobuzissime.


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