2021 In Review: Day 12 – Best Collaborative Work

By  | 

2021 In Review

1. Introduction + Best Album Art
2. Song of the Year
3. Album of the Year
4. R&B and Soul
5. Rock and Alternative
6. Rap and Hip-hop
7. Dance and Electronic
8. Pop and Ballad
9. Folk and Country
10. Jazz and Blues
11. Crossover and World
12. Best Collaborative Work
13. Rookie Artist of the Year
14. Artist of the Year
15. Other Recognition
16. Concluding Remarks

Separately from the genre picks, we make a point of recognizing the Best Collaborative Work section each year because it is this space where some of tomorrow’s best ideas are born – and some of today’s best music too, of course. Like in anything else, interaction and exchange of ideas help musicians to be creative and explore things that they could not do alone.

The Collaborative Work section is the only one where works from the genre sections can reappear, and that applies to the Song of the Year and Album of the Year finishers as well. The criterion is somewhat different, though, as we focus on things like synergy, significance, or even the unexpectedness associated with a collaboration.

The “Next 10” and honorable mention lists are alphabetically sorted by artist name.

The 2021 Best Collaborative Work Spotify playlist is here and also embedded below:


Best Collaborative Album 2021

Leesuho – Monika

Monika‘s inventive and freeform sound-making would have gone far even with zero guests, but the fiercely unique character of every artist invited – Balming Tiger and otherwise – amplifies these tracks in just the right direction of weirdness. The inscrutable obelisk that is Omega Sapien, the brusque snark of Kim Ximya and Simo, the lawless spontaneity of Lil Cherry and Sogumm, the mesmerizing (and sometimes infuriating) narration of Chang Kiha, and more: it’s music that honestly belongs in each artist’s solo work, tied together by committed sound philosophy.

The Runner-up

Epik High – Epik High Is Here 上 (Part 1)

Epik High is no stranger to effective and even iconic collaborations (Jisun and Younha being canonical examples by now), and with each passing full-length they lean more into their stature as seniors in the scene. Involving younger rappers as in “In Self-Defense” and bringing in expressive vocals as in “Based on a True Story” is always welcome, but the imaginative flexes – the bombast of CL and Zico bringing up “Rosario”‘s Latin sound, Kim Sawol slipping so well into an uncharacteristically pappy beat – really speak to seasoned vision.

The Next 10 (Alphabetical)

AkMu – Next Episode

BewhY, ChoiLB, Khundi Panda, Son Simba, Une, and Viann as Dejavu Group – Dingo X Dejavu Group: Wrote This Tomorrow

Hwang Puha & Sunji Lee – 답장 (The Reply)

HyunA & Dawn – 1+1=1

Kid Milli & Dress –  Cliché

Misozium – 꽃꽂이 (Flower Arrangement)

Raiden – Love Right Back

Sumin & Slom – Miniseries

Yang Jin-seok – Barn Orchestra

Yelloasis & Nason – Y&N


Best Collaborative Song 2021

ChoiLB – 도망가! (Run Away!) (Feat. Broccoli You Too)
Written by ChoiLB and Yoon Duk-won (Broccoli You Too)
Composed by Archeformw, ChoiLB, Yoon Duk-won
Arranged by Archeformw

There’s a certain extra-musical joy in seeing ChoiLB finally work with his favorite band, an explicit inspiration to much of his past work. Even within the song (and album), Broccoli You Too’s appearance is handled with artistic perfection, helping to spur Independent Music to an uncertain but thrilling conclusion, somehow with more youthful energy than it started with. In the midst of ChoiLB’s reminiscence of friends who had to stop “running” along the way of life, the senior band shows up to give wisdom as people who started running earlier. They tell him: “I got the rear, just go // LB, don’t look back, and when we count to three // Run away”. And so he runs.

The Runner-up

No Brain & Ahn Ye-eun – 나는 우주 (I’m Flying)
Written and composed by Ahn Ye-eun
Arranged by No Brain

There’s nothing obvious that ties these acts together, and so they bridge gaps across generations (give or take 20 years between their debuts), genres, styles, ranges. In Ahn Ye-eun’s warm language and No Brain’s tender arrangement and Ahn and Lee Sung-woo’s rugged and soaring harmony, “I’m Flying” offers soothing comfort that allows the differences to complement rather than stay hidden.

The Next 10 (Alphabetical)

Babylon – Going In (Feat. Mckdaddy, Khakii, Don Malik, MC Meta, Huckleberry P, Basick, QM, Samuel Seo, Ja Mezz, Camo, Reddy, Kaogaii, Blase, Queen Wasabii, Walle, Bruno Champman, Chillin Homie, Earlswish, Kyle Lo)

Cifika & Shin Hae-gyeong – 모두 너야 (All Is You)

Daybreak – 말이 안 되잖아 (Doesn’t Make Sense) (Feat. Heize)

J-Tong – 하하하하하하하하하 (Hahahahahahahahaha) (Feat. Northfacegawd)

Kim Oki – Pour Toi (Feat. Minsu)

Lee Seung-hwan & Sunwoojunga – 어쩜 (How Could You)

Lil Cherry & Hyo – G! Remix

Peppertones – Film Love (Feat. Stella Jang)

Sunwoojunga – Buffalo (Feat. Dami (Dreamcatcher), Song Eun-i, Yu Seung-woo, Yoon Jiyoung, Jeong Se-woon, 15 Oxen)

Uhm Jung-hwa – 호피무늬 (Hop In) (Feat. Hwasa, DPR Live)

Honorable Mentions


Chun Yong-sung – 수몰 (Drowned)
eAeon – Fragile
Liquor Well & Claire Hau – Liquor Loves Claire
Malo, Park Sae-byul, Ubare, Heo Yoon-jeong, Kang Huh Dalrim – 엄마의 노래 (Mother Song) Vol. 1
Owen X Ourealgoat – Brotherhood
Q the Trumpet – Yellow Flower
Sweden Laundry – 우리가 핀 2 – 조각 (Lyrical 2 – Pieces of You)
TakeOne – Commercial Art
Thama – Don’t Die Colors
Toil – Curtain Call
Vangdale – Mojo
Various Artists – Rewind: Blossom
Viann & Son Simba – 전설 (A Tale About the Legend)
Yoon Hansol & Saevom – 곁 (On You)


AkMu – 전쟁터 (Hey Kid, Close Your Eyes) (With Lee Sun-hee)
Amado Lee Jaram Band – A Year 2020 (Feat. Sleeq)
Baekhyun & Seo Moon-tak – Hurt
Byul-yang – 3:45am (Feat. Lee Ja-ram)
Changmo – Beretta (Feat. Ahn Da-young)
Colde & Jeon Soyeon – New Vision
Crucial Star & Ji Chanel – 하얗게 (White Out)
DPR Ian – No Blueberries (Feat. DPR Live, CL)
Don Mills – 대박인생 (Daebak Life) (Feat. Northfacegawd, Uneducated Kid) (Prod. Imeanseoul)
Don Sign. – 황혼에서 새벽까지 (From Dusk till Dawn) (Feat. Hangsuk, Nucksal, Kim Oki)
Dusky80 & Band Nah – 망상가 (Délire) (Feat. Son Hye-eun)
eAeon – Null (Feat. Jclef)
eAeon – 그러지 마 (Don’t) (Feat. RM)
Epik High – Leica (Feat. Kim Sawol)
Epik High – Rosario (Feat. CL, Zico)
Epik High – 정당방위 (In Self-Defense) (Feat. Woo, Nucksal, Changmo)
Epitone Project – 불면증 (Sleepless) (Vocal by Younha)
Gaeko & Kwon Jin-ah – 마음이 그래 (I Feel Like)
Gwangil Jo – 난세 (Anarchy) Freestyle (Feat. Boi B, Sikboy, Bruno Champman, Brown Tigger, Yonge Jaundice, Hangzoo, Walo)
Ha Dong-qn & Junny – Me.N.U
Ha Sung-woon – Strawberry Gum (Feat. Don Mills)
Heju – Are You in a Dream? (Feat. August Charles)
Horim & Ha Heonjin – Barment Blues
Hyo – Second (Feat. Bibi)
HyunA & Dawn – Ping Pong
Jang Hye-jin & Ha Dong-qn – 감사해 덕분에 (Special Thanks To) (Prod. LA Park PD)
Jang Hye-jin – 내게로 (To Me) (Duet. Kim Sejeong)
Jang Pil-soon & Baek Ji-young – 그 다음날 (We’ll Find the Day)
Jeon Jin-hee, Kang Asol, Park Hyun-seo, Shin Onyu – 여름의 마음 (Summer’s Eye)
Jeon Soyeon, Bibi, Lee Young-ji – Is This Bad B****** Number?
Jiselle – Language (Feat. Changmo)
Jung Jae-hyung – Dance of Phrase (Feat. Qim Isle)
Kang Daniel – Misunderstood (Feat. Omega Sapien)
Kid Milli & Dress – Kitty (Feat. Miyeon ((G)I-dle))
Kid Milli & Dress – Leave My Studio (Feat. Sunwoojunga)
Kid Milli & Dress – Midnight Blue (Feat. In the Endless Zanhyang We Are)
Kim Bada & Lanalogue – Caffeine
Kim Jong-guk X Ateez – 바다 보러 갈래? (Be My Lover)
Kim Yeji – 21 (Feat. Hwang Leen)
Kim Yuna & Wonstein – 진심으로 너를 위해 부르는 노래 (Song for You) (Prod. Rocoberry)
Lee Hi – 빨간 립스틱 (Red Lipstick) (Feat. Yoon Mi-rae)
Leesuho – Ninja Sports (Feat. Kim Ximya, Simo)
Lim Heon-il X Jeon Jin-hee – 울어도 돼요 (It’s Okay to Cry)
Lucy & Lee Su-hyun – Love Me Love You
MC Meta – 석봉가 (Song of Seokbong) (Feat. Geun-hee Kim)
Min Kyung-hoon & Kim Hee-chul – 한량 (Hanryang) (Feat. Bibi) (Prod. Dindin)
Moon Jong-up – Headache (Feat. Yunhway)
Moon Su-jin – 저 달 (The Moon) (Feat. Taeil)
NCT 127 X Amoeba Culture – Save
Nafla – Run! Remix (Feat. Kaeoh626, J-Tong, Huckleberry P, Soiree, Dok2)
Nuol – 나랑 (With Me) (Feat. Sound Kim, Boi B)
P-Type – 신도시 (New City) (Feat. Don Malik, Kirin)
Park Moon-chi & Young K – What a Wonderful Word
Pinodyne – Universe (Feat. Lee Juck)
Seori – 긴 밤 (Long Night) (Feat. Giriboy)
Sole – 곁에 있어줘 (Stay with Me) (Feat. Wonstein)
Suzanne – Want You! (Feat. Thama)
Sweden Laundry – 다 사랑 같아 (Everything Is You) (Vocal Zitten)
Tiger JK, Paloalto, Woo, Maniac, Los, YDG, Bizzy, Yoon Mi-rae – 호심술 Remix (Love Peace Movement)
Toy, Jung Seung-hwan, Sam Kim, Jung Jae-hyung, Lucid Fall, Peppertones, Park Sae-byul, Kwon Jin-ah, Lee Jin-ah, Yun Seokcheol, Jukjae, Chai, Seo Dong-hwan – 겨울의 우리들 (Our Christmas Wish for You)
Ultramodernista – FNIO (Feat. Uju)
Way Ched – Riders (Feat. Chin, Uneducated Kid, Jay Park, Tiger JK)
Wings of the Isang – 그림자 (Shadow) (Feat. Aseul)
Woo Tae-woon, Ione – 백신 (Vaccine) (Feat. Yoon Bomi (Apink))
Yoon Sang X Daybreak X Kim Eana – 말 되지 않을 건 없잖아 (Does Make Sense)
Youra – 하양 (RAL 9002) (Feat. Heize)
Zitten & Shin Ji-hoon – 다 말해도 돼 (You Can Say Everything)

Lyric translations by author. Album cover image and header images from Bugs Music.

Read our past series:

2020 In Review

2019 In Review

2018 In Review

2017 In Review

2016 In Review

2015 In Review

2014 In Review

2013 In Review

2012 In Review