8 Hidden Gems You Probably Missed in "Epik High Is Here 下 (Part 2)"
Epik High are here. The South Korean hip-hop trio — composed of frontman and MC Tablo, MC Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz — dropped their album "Epik High Is Here 下 (Part 2)" on Valentine's Day. The project marks their 10th full studio album following "Epik High Is Here 上 (Part 1)," which they released back in January 2021.
Debuting in 2003, Epik High are known for combining various hip-hop genres and tackling hard and personal themes, such as mental health and trauma, through groundbreaking verses. Their new album, which consists of 12 songs, is the epitome of the group's almost two-decade music journey. It's too packed to be easily decoded, so we rounded up all the hidden gems you probably missed. Keep reading to see them.
The Butterfly Cover Art
The cover art for both "Part 1" and "Part 2" was designed by the group's longtime collaborator, Honno, who revealed on Twitter that the color choices and layout design were created in homage to the previous Epik High albums. The new album's cover with two flying pigeons facing each other is meant to look similar to the butterfly on "Part 1." But why a butterfly? A recurring theme in Epik High's music is soul, and Psyche, the Greek goddess of the soul, has a pair of butterfly wings.
Track Order Matters
This is an album that you have to listen to from beginning to end because the songs are literally connected. The last track from "Part 1" segues into the first track of "Part 2." If you listen to the two albums together in one playlist, you won't be able to notice the switch because the two songs are linked with Tablo whispering "wish you were here." And no surprise here, the two songs are fittingly titled "Wish You Were" and "Here." Similarly, "Here" segues into "Prequel," and "Piano For Sale" and "Family Portrait" are linked by the sound of a music box. Listen to the magical transitions in the compilation that Tablo made for us above.
Epik High's Entire Music Career in 25 Seconds
"Prequel" is Epik High's story. The final verse of the song tells the story with an old record-player sound effect that makes the listeners feel nostalgic, but more importantly, the story includes the titles of all 10 of their albums in a wildly smart way. Here are all of the Easter eggs in this verse:
- "We mapped the human soul." — 2003's "Map of the Human Soul"
- "Got society high." — 2004's "High Society"
- "Sang our swan songs." — 2005's "Swan Songs"
- "Remapped to stay alive." — 2007's "Remapping the Human Soul"
- "The world tried to turn us to pieces." — 2008's "Pieces, Part One"
- "But the E-P-I-K never ceases." — 2009's "[e]"
- "Had 99 problems but it's do or do not." — 2012's "99"
- "Took our demons by their throats / Stuffed 'em in a shoebox." — 2014's "Shoebox"
- "We did something wonderful / Now there's nothing to fear." — 2007's "We've Done Something Wonderful"
- "When you're lost remember / Epik High is here." — 2022's "Epik High Is Here"
The Mysterious 1:13
"Super Rare" feat. Wonstein and pH-1, the third track on the album, was released one day before the album drop in the form of an "art MV" created by artist Ardhira Putra. In the moving painting, fans found two references to "1:13," which first appeared 14 years ago on Epik High's fifth album "Pieces, Part One."
In the video for "One" — which follows the third track titled "Seoul, 1:13 AM" on "Pieces, Part One" — the woman character chooses to end her life when the clock points at 1:13. "The significance of 1:13 appearing in our music & videos throughout our career is that the time, for us, represents each time we lost someone dear to us. It is to remember them & to wish to reverse time," Tablo confirmed on Twitter. "I wrote 'One' bc I wanted to stop losing ppl I love. This includes you."
"Gray So Gray"
Pun alert — a bilingual one. The fourth track, "Gray So Gray" feat. Younha, is a song about the love, hate, and frustration between a couple. The song's original Korean name "그래서 그래 (geu-rae-seo-geu-rae)," which translates to "that's why," sounds exactly like "Gray So Gray." The Korean title describes the situation where the lovers are trying to explain things to each other, and the English title captures the mood of the song on point. Great, so great.
It's Their Story, but Also OUR Story
Back in November 2021, Tablo hinted that this album was going to be "painfully personal." In several of the songs, Tablo opens up about the cyberbullying incident that happened from 2010 to 2012 when the artist was attacked by an antifan group called TaJinYo that questioned everything about him — from his Canadian citizenship to his diploma from Stanford University — which greatly affected his mental health.
However, this album is also relatable for the fans. In a documentary on the making of "Epik High Is Here," Tablo said he wanted to write about "the story of loss sadness, isolation, and loneliness everybody in the world has experienced." The artist himself breaks it down for us: "If you've ever lost a family member, 'Family Portrait' is for us; if you were raised to love everyone but yourself, 'I Hated Myself' is for us."
The Tribute to Their First Album in "Champagne"
When answering a fan's question about where the end of "Epik High Is Here 下 (Part 2)" links to, Tablo tweeted, "Back to zero." The last track "Champagne" takes listeners back in time to two decades ago. The beginning of "Champagne" is a sample recording of the group performing "Go" at their first-ever concert. The end of "Champagne" repeats the lyrics of "Dedication," the last song on their debut album: "Check one, two / you are my destination / I thank you / It's a dedication," only this time, the group changed the lyrics to "We thank you."
The Freestyle Ending
The last line we hear from this album is a gentle: "Epik High was here." The line is actually Tablo's freestyle. "I don't know why I did that. It was sort of just freestyle. Tukutz was like, 'Can you just say something at the end?' And I said a bunch of different things. And then at the end, I was like, 'Epik High was here,'" Tablo told NME Magazine. "I don't know. It just sounds right. You don't know with life. So, if that becomes literally the outro of my last work, I would like people to remember that Epik High was here."