Stray Kids is known to be one of the groups with the best rappers out there, and Changbin is one of them. Being one of the fastest and most unique rappers in the industry, Changbin has had so many unforgettable rap verses over the years. Whether it’s through Stray Kids‘ music or in the music released on SoundCloud with 3RACHA, Changbin has always served.
It’s fair to say that anything this man touches is gold and becomes so iconic, so these 11 raps are just a small portion of all the things he has done as a rapper and a songwriter. However, these ones are simply unforgettable.
‘Hellevator’ (Mixtape, 2017)
Let’s start off with an absolute classic.
‘Hellevator’ was Stray Kids‘ first song, and what an impact it had. Even four years after its release, this song hasn’t ceased to be one of the greatest pre-debut songs ever. And Changbin’s verse definitely helped this song be the iconic and timeless song it is today.
While the song starts off slow and almost soft, Changbin’s verse hits like a train with its aggressive and unique tone. In this rap, Changbin explores the pains and insecurities of the trainee life. Even if most of 3RACHA’s discography dates from before the release of this song, ‘Hellevator’ was in a way the first introduction Stray Kids to the industry and Changbin sure made a mark just with this jarring and unforgettable first verse that sets the tone for the rest of the song.
‘Easy’ (GO LIVE, 2020)
Now, ‘Easy‘ is a more recent release. The GO LIVE b-side on its own was iconic for so many reasons. It is no exaggeration to say that this song (performance-wise, lyric-wise, vocal-wise, rap-wise) is absolutely title track material.
But let’s get into Changbin’s verse more in dept. This part of the song was first teased during 3RACHA’s stage in KCON in LA in 2019. In ‘Easy’ itself, it’s the second verse of the song. While at first, it might seem like what you might expect from any K-pop song, Changbin’s goes into this super-fast, almost mumbled, rap. It’s similar to what he did in ‘Double Knot,’ but he takes it to a whole other level. This is a perfect example of the kind of raps only Changbin can pull off.
‘Broken Compass’ (Horizon, 2017) / ‘Mixtape#4’ (Clé 1: MIROH, 2019)
This one could not be left out under any circumstance.
‘Broken Compass’ is such a special song for so many reasons but that’s not why we’re mentioning it right now. Originally, it was released as the fourth track in 3RACHA’s third EP, Horizon. Changbin’s verse is so refreshing with the way he plays with the rhythm creating this never-ending sentence. It is absolutely insane. Not many could do that. The lyrics are also incredible and so worth checking out.
But let’s not forget about the Stray Kids’ version: ‘Mixtape#4.’ This version was first released in the 2019 mini-album Clé 1: MIROH as a CD exclusive, and later on, it was also included in Clé 2: Yellow Wood. In this version, Changbin’s verse shines even more with the dynamism and uniqueness he brings to the track. It is by far one of the main highlights of ‘Mixtape#4.’
(Worth noting this is also the verse that was at the origin of Bang Chan‘s iconic quote “does he even breathe?” in one of his Chan’s Room.)
‘Any’ (IN LIFE, 2020)
In 2020, Stray Kids did their second comeback of the year with a repackage of their first full-length album: IN LIFE. The album included 7 new songs, and ‘Any’ was one of them.
In this very hip-hop track, Changbin follows Hyunjin’s and Felix’s more lowkey and subtle back and forth with this impactful and energetic verse. This song is incredible for many reasons, but it’s almost a given that Changbin’s verse is the best part of it. The confidence this rap gives off is insane, and it totally switches the narrative of the song as it breaks from the initial expectations the listener has of what the song will sound like.
‘MIROH’ (Clé 1: MIROH, 2019)
‘MIROH’ is one of Stray Kids’ most important releases as it not only earned them more recognition and more fans, but it also earned them their first-ever music show win. And the raps in this one are a key element.
What leads to Changbin’s full verse is a back and forth between him and Hyunjin. That part is iconic that it even got referenced in the ‘Easy’ choreography. But after that part, Changbin’s verse serves as a build-up for the explosive chorus in ‘MIROH.’ It is one of his fastest raps, and that rap alone and the energy it builds makes you want to play the song over and over again.
‘We Go’ (IN LIFE, 2020)
Changbin’s lyricism in this one is unprecedented. It is such an addictive and witty verse. It adds to the song such a special vibe and a tint of humour. It is one of those verses that truly let us see Changbin’s personality. His unique tone and unique way of writing really make this verse such an iconic element of this song.
‘Runner’s High’ (J:/2017/mixtape, 2017)
And keeping up in the 3RACHA tracks: the next one on our list is the 2017 track, ‘Runner’s High.’
This is one of the most known tracks by 3RACHA – and rightfully so. Changbin’s rap is so dynamic and makes the song so fun to listen to. He starts off with his usual “yoh” and then goes into this insanely fast rap, nothing to be surprised off. However, the number of changes of flows and the way he plays with the rhythm makes it so unique. The production complements it so well, it truly makes it unforgettable.
‘God’s Menu’ (GO LIVE, 2020)
Ah yes. How could we forget about one of the most iconic openings of a song in 2020?
When Stray Kids released ‘God’s Menu,’ they clearly weren’t playing around. The song opens with a hit – Changbin’s powerful and bold verse. The power this verse holds is no joke. Not only does it open the song, but it also closes it. It’s hard to explain just how much this impact this verse has had, but let’s just say something: not a lot of things hit as hard as that “어서 오십시오.”
‘Matryoshka’ (Horizon, 2017)
Would it really be a list of Changbin’s most iconic verses without this one?
Apart from the fact that this is a pre-debut song, which makes it all the more impressive, Changbin‘s rap in ‘Matryoshka’ holds all the best aspects of his rapping style. This verse is so powerful and fast, and there’s such wittiness in the lyrics. What makes it even better is Changbin’s tone and his overflowing energy and confidence. This rap is top tier, whether it comes to rap in K-Pop or outside of K-Pop. Just with the way he starts the verse, you already know it’s going to be a banger.
This verse is so iconic that there was a time the video would go viral on Twitter basically every month – and rightfully so. Changbin and Han actually performed this during the Stray Kids survival show back in 2017 and if this song wasn’t impressive enough, it’s even better to see them perform it live.
For as much as we absolutely love Changbin’s bold and energetic verses, there’s also a whole other side to him. Because no, Changbin isn’t just a fast and aggressive rapper. He also is an incredible lyricist and if you actually look into Stray Kids’ songwriting credits, Changbin is the sole responsible for songs like ‘Neverending Story’ (aka Stray Kids’ first ever ballad) and ‘On Track.’
And that leads us to ‘Streetlight.’ This was Changbin’s first-ever song for SKZ-PLAYER or SKZ-RECORD. ‘Streetlight’ shows a whole other style of rapping, a more emotional and jarring one. It is powerful in a very different way to any other of his raps. In this song, Changbin opens up about his personal struggles and his mental health, making it so personal yet so important. It is simply such a beautiful and incredible song that showed a different side to Changbin in more than one way.
And the final rap in our list is, of course, Changbin’s solo track: ‘Cypher.’
This song was released in late 2020 and it sums up everything we love about Changbin’s rap. ‘Cypher’ is an entire rap song that has so many switches not only in its flow but also in its tempo. It also refers to Stray Kids’ ‘Maze Of Memories,’ which is a song we could have easily added to this list. It has the power, the witty lyrics, the shade, and everything you would want in an all-rap track.
Just as a reference, a cypher is usually done by many rappers or musicians, yet Changbin does the whole thing on his own. And if that doesn’t prove how much power he holds, how talented he is, and how iconic his existence alone is, nothing will.
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Featured Image Source: JYP Entertainment