Written by Oscar Holland, CNNGawon Bae, CNN
If the lurking bass and syncopated beat of Silkybois’ recent hit “Bomaye” sound familiar to fans of drill music, the pair’s lyrical content might not. Flitting between English and their native Korean, the Seoul-based rappers inject numerous local references into the genre’s typical allusions to street rivalries, cars and money.
The track’s metaphor-heavy lyrics recount “swinging” like Korean baseball player Choo Shin-soo, acquiring cash like casino developer Kangwon Land and “stacking up the cheese” like dak-galbi, a spicy chicken dish.
Even threats of violence are delivered with distinctly Korean flavor: “My chopsticks bust you open, steaming, leave you laying there like a dumpling,” raps one half of the duo, Park Sung-jin, who goes by the name Jimmy Paige.
Silkybois are part of a wave of rappers bringing the hard-hitting sound of drill, or “deulil” as it’s known locally, to South Korea. “Bomaye,” which means “kill him” in the African language Lingala — and was famously used by boxing fans cheering on Muhammad Ali when he fought George Foreman in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) — has amassed almost 2 million views on YouTube since it was released last year.
“I didn’t expect foreign YouTubers to make reaction videos or the song to trend on platforms like TikTok,” said Silkybois’ other member, Kim Dae-woong, whose rap name is Black Nut, in a video interview from Seoul. “We just did what we wanted to do in our style. I enjoyed watching people’s reactions, which were unexpected.”
Though drill originated in Chicago in the early 2010s, South Korea’s scene borrows heavily from a British subgenre dubbed UK drill. With similarly gritty and provocative lyrics, but faster beats and more melodic sliding basslines, the sound has since spread from south London to influence scenes around the world, including, in turn, America’s.
Silkybois members Jimmy Paige (left) and Black Nut (right). Credit: Courtesy…