Keith Ape may not be a household name, but he’s surely showed another side to Asian rap with his notorious song “It G Ma” (which actually means “never forget” in Korean). Featuring a quartet of Korean and Japanese artists, the song became viral (although not to the level of “Gangnam Style”) and has successfully made a mark in the American hip-hop scene with comparisons to OG Maco’s “U Guessed It.” But don’t think Keith Ape is riding on the success of fellow Korean artist PSY, as his style is completely different and belies the conventional hyper-produced K-pop we’ve associated with the country. Born and raised in Seoul, the rapper is undeniably proud of his roots, whose aesthetic style has been likened to Yung Lean for his use of seizure-inducing glitchy graphics in videos. A prime example is his new single with SLUG CHRIST, named “HONJA 혼자,” with psychedelic artwork by Kamikvze. Keith is planning big things with his Asian-focused collective and label CXSHXNLY, a vehicle for music and culture, so make sure you keep Keith Ape on your radar. #underwatersquad.
At first glance, it’s obvious that Keith Ape is inspired by legendary streetwear brand A Bathing Ape. This is undeniable in his stage name, and also in his Essentials. Featuring BAPE items all around, Keith is a huge fan of BAPE’s aesthetic, along with its ICECREAM imprint. Additionally, the rapper always has his Cohort Orca memorabilia with him. Gold chains and accessories complete his wild look, with vintage pieces preferred over others. And of course, as a rapper he always has his Beats headphones on him.