Joey Bada$$ and Canadian-Korean rapper TABLO make for one of the most unexpected pairings in recent underground memory. The fact that the two decided to name their collaboration "Hood," a moniker that oft describes the gritty innercity of mega metropolises, adds another odd layer of humor to the entire situation. Full disclosure, even though TABLO has a sizable following thanks to his leadership role in one of South Korea's biggest hip-hop groups, Epik High, this writer had never heard of him before pressing play. The idea of Korean pop star speaking about the "hood" is a strange idea, but if Joey gives his backing, you just go along for the ride.
"Hood" is neither a club banger or bright K-Pop tune; rather it is a dreary excursion through Joey's and TABLO's upbringing. Bada$$ delivers his signature complex lyricism, which nuzzles warmly against the beautifully melancholy jazzy Code Kunst production. The Brooklyn rapper made his name rapping over modern boom-bap beats like this and he still is one of the best in the game in that regard. However, TABLO kicks off "Hood" with an amazing verse in his own right. Do not sleep on his talent, he may not have been from America's rough areas, but the guy has something to say. TABLO flows into and out of hangul with relative ease, and the transitions are smooth and nonabrasive.
Joey Bada$$ and TABLO delivered on "Hood." If their collaboration throws you off, press play and you will be convince by the end of the song. TABLO is able to keep up with Bada$$, who was dropping so many gems and hard bars. Give it a listen above.