Another month’s ended and good music is, we’re happy to report, not in short supply. Before we dive in, make sure to check our first list of rappers to check out from various locations in Asia, starting with Nepal: home to Nasty, Dong, VTEN, and more.

Check out our picks from this week’s outstanding hip hop and R&B releases from Asian artists.

Words by MC Galang and Sofia Guanzon

RYKEYDADDYDIRTY – “ALL GODS BLESS ME”

Japanese rapper RYKEYDIRTYDADDY’s (or just RYKEY) first offering of the month, “ALL GODS BLESS ME” makes a piercing argument about fulfillment and taking stock in immaterial blessings. Another welcome reprieve from his usually harsher-sounding releases, “ALL GODS BLESS ME” feels like a mantra more than a sermon, reinforced by the piano-laden production by NARISK. While you’re at it, revisit his track from December of last year, “蜘蛛の糸” (Spider Thread) featuring 道. — MG

Paul Cassimir – “Bukas” ft. Jameson

The pandemic has incited songwriting that centers on mortality and impermanence, something that weighs heavily on “Bukas” (Tomorrow), the latest from Filipino rapper and Owfuck member Paul Cassimir, featuring Jameson on the hook. Sang and rapped against a lo-fi beat produced by OSTYNAGD777, “Bukas” tackles regrets and living as each day is your last. — MG

Og Makk – “BEWARE OF GOD”

Someone like Og Makk (PSYCHEDELIC BOYZ) exists outside the realm of mainstream sheen like pop stars would typically do. Thankfully, old guards like television and radio no longer have the same grip on media consumption, and hip hop artists—historically the outliers and rule-breakers—have defined and set the culture. Og Makk has embraced this role, seemingly not just as a persona but as his lived reality—and he’s not apologizing for it. — MG 

AINN – “Almost Perfect”

In their new artist roster reveal last year, Thai label YUPP! describes their South Korean signee (but born and raised in Thailand), AINN, as a “Thai at heart who sings and raps with a unique style and accent.” For the most part, it’s hard to pick up on any nuances of accent, especially from a foreign audience, and the R&B singer does fairly well as the latest participant in the growing K-R&B genre. His YUPP! Debut, “ALMOST PERFECT,” is a welcome addition to the label’s more hip hop-heavy repertoire. — MG

Jackson Wang – “Blow”

Hong Kong native and global superstar Jackson Wang first rose to fame as the charismatic rapper and mood-maker of K-pop group GOT7. Now helmed with years of experience and tapping into other pursuits like singing, designing, leading his own record label TEAM WANG, and hosting—Wang steps into his own, corset-clad and platinum-haired in the music video of his newest English single, “Blow.” Borrowing elements from pop and rock as he huskily confesses: “I felt her coming and I couldn’t escape / I’m in the belly of the beast again.” The single is a seductive prelude to Wang as he matures as an artist, this time as a soloist who’s ready to risk it all. – SG

Yugyeom – “Take You Down” ft. Coogie

South Korea’s youngest GOT7 member, singer, dancer, and rapper Yugyeom joins forces with fellow AOMG labelmate Coogie in his latest single of the year, “Take You Down.” Yugyeom debuted as a solo artist in 2021 with his acclaimed album Point of View: U, which made it to our HipHopDX Asia’s 20 Best Albums of 2021. This time around, the artist builds on the sonic palette he’s built while centering the comeback single around the vulnerability and yearning from a relationship on the brink of neglect. The artist teases how much more he can expand his creative arsenal with this latest track. – SG

Nasty // @DONJEAN™ – “Stone Cold”

At HipHopDX Asia, we’ve extensively covered the flourishing Nepali hip hop scene, with the highly revered rapper Nasty // @@DONJEAN™ or Nasty for short – making it to our list of 10 Nepali rappers to check out right now. Armed with a volume of work that serves as reason enough for his success, Nasty’s latest single “Stone Cold” produced by FOESAL employs that same trap-infused sound as he unapologetically celebrates his hard-earned success. This is the kind of energy we all should aspire towards more often. – SG

Header image: Collage from artists’ Instagram accounts