NC.A…is coming back…again…

I…

This is literally the fourth single from her this year. And I don’t know if she is still promoting Vanilla Shake or not…

What is catching me off guard is that, NC.A, who for all I know is not under a big company, has managed to comeback more times than most groups of greater status. Now these comebacks have not gotten her any sort of major traction…but…at least their trying. I commend her and her company for taking a proactive stance in her career.

NC.A’s next single Instinct is slated to be released at noon August 24, which will be tonight around 11 for me.

JYP won’t do anything with 15&, so Jimin decided to make a group of her own

In the midst of everything that is happening in JYP, you would almost forget that they have a couple of acts that are not exclusively K Pop. Baek Ah Yeon’s success was strictly her own, so yeah…good for her. Everyone else who doesn’t do intricate dances and are labeled idols tend to have a harder time getting that same love (2PM excluded because yeah).

So in the middle of her busy week of…After School Club…she decided she was going to carry the weight of doing a music related project. Oh my god the stress right now.

The group is called M.O.L.A

Make Our Life Awesome…cute  name

Anyway the group consist of Park Jimin (of 15&) Luizy (Seungyeun of UNIQ) and Nathan (a rapper and friend of Jimin). This already sounds like too much work for her so thankfully she has other people there to help her out.

They released a song titled My Way yesterday. Here it is.

You can hear the strain in her voice from how overworked she is. Oh my god JYP why are you doing this to her? Let her rest.

Sarcasm aside, this song is actually cute. M.O.L.A. probably won’t pop off like that, but I do hope they don’t stop. Obviously My Way is just following the trends, but it feels like something that can be appreciated. Nothing grand or amazing, but I could ride along with this and not get bored by it. I think the biggest thing I like is that the talent is used well enough. Jimin was just regulated to the chorus. She was given an entire section to herself where she sung. The two rappes, who I cannot distinguish, did well enough and got me hyped a little. The song did it’s job and I am satisfied with the results.

The unfortunate thing is that because this is not a company related project, the matter of consistency is an issue. I want more from them, to see how they could grow as a musical entity, but we probably won’t see that happen for various reasons. Shit I’m still waiting on Yerin to update her soundcloud.

Anyway Jimin is tackling far too many projects with her MC’ing and…this. A noble effort though. Have to applaud her on that.

 

250th post and small update!

Hi! These last few days have been a lot for me. I have been getting back into the swing of things at school (Senior status in college…going to be a super senior). So I am just really trying to get my life together and stunt on this year. That means I need to dedicate more time to me and outside activities. Now why am I telling the five people who actively read this blog this?

Well because blogging about K pop does take time. That time I don’t always have. That is the main reason album reviews are so scarce right now (Even though I have several started). It is a lot of work sometimes and I cannot always articulate my thoughts without taking weeks to get that point across. Like Wonder Girls new album was a great album that fit together perfectly and was a step forward in them honing in on who they are as an act as well as a new beginning. But I cannot write a full post saying just that, with small opinions about the songs for some reason.

So this weekend I am going to try and get a couple of big post out of the way. But come the next week, I am taking a small hiatus. I mean I take them all the time, but like now it will be on purpose and for a good reason.

Anyway thanks for riding with me for over 250 post if you ride like that!

arianaappreciate

Hyorin follow up: It’s not just the hair…

I feel like I need to do a follow up post about the whole Hyorin debacle because…I don’t think I was articulate enough the last time. I’ve seen fans who have been battling each other over this, so I know this is a “hot topic”.

I wrote this post in a very bad, stressed and tired mood so a lot of the original post was me basically cursing and shit. But I got a full night’s rest and my life is on the right path again. So let’s give the edited version of all this.

The issue that I am having with Hyorin as of now, is not the hair. Now I am not going to speak for others, but if you roll your ass onto my blog, understand these feelings I am having are very negative, but are not just directed at her hair. The hair is just a part of the problem I am seeing.

That said problem is the fact that Hyorin, who has never once dressed in a fashion outside of casual street wear off stage, and was a glammed up idol on, is now taking a new direction as a rapper. And instead of actually just leaving all well alone, her ENTIRE image has suddenly been dressed up/down to look like a thug. She is giving off the vibe that she is hard as her image as a rapper. Now here is the thing…she did not have to. Everything in those pictures, from her nonverbal cues, to her clothes, and yes her hair is saying something to me. I’m hardcore gangsta rapper. Starship, her stylist, her did not have to take on this image. She is not about no life.

“But it’s a concept”

Yeah and that’s not the best argument to make in this case. I have the biggest issues with a lot of Hip Hop based concept groups because often times they take on this same exact image. They are dark, brooding, dangerous bad boys (Girl groups tend to not deal with this for…well reasons). They wear clothes that are exaggerated and baggy. Street wear reminiscent of the hood of yesteryear. You want to know why they do that? Because they are saying that in order to be a k pop group doing a hip hop based concept, you are going to be edgy and not the norm (Your Shinees, Infinites, B1A4)…no you gonna look like G-Unit circa 2005.That’s transparent to me. They treat a culture as the bad and dangerous, and everyone secretly wants the bad boys (also note that a lot of their songs tend to be loud and aggressive). And that is in fact a tiny bit racist. Because not only are you picking and choosing from a culture that is not even yours…you are saying that this is how we can be edgy and dangerous and bad boys. That this is not the norm.

That is what Hyorin is doing. It doesn’t feel like Hyorin is just embracing hip hop because she wants to. Now she has actually said she would love to do more hip hop and rap flavored music…I will give her that. I love her sense of adventure musically (Even though Starship does their best to suppress just that). But Hyorin has worked with several rappers who never have dressed like this. She has access to so much in terms of resources and this is what we are getting. The way I see it, she isn’t embracing the culture, but is more or less a job that needs to be done and dressing up as this or that because it is a simple stereotype (which has some racist implications).

Hyorin is less of someone that needs to be condemned (however she is absolutely not above criticism), and more of yet another example of how an entire culture and in some ways Black people are viewed and consumed. Over here in the states there was the whole big thing with Kylie Jenner and them ugly ass cornrows (they were terrible). Or how Zendaya’s faux locs were basically compared to weed and patchouli oil (yet somewhere Kylie was lauded for her locs). I know for a lot of y’all that ain’t from over here don’t understand why this leaves us feeling a way. For us to be condemned for these styles (being called ghetto and hood) only for it to become fashionable in the presence of whiteness (ghetto=urban) is a lot to us.

But I’m not here to give a lesson on racism and how it can actually be more than just calling me slurs, lynching, *apparent* segregation. Y’all obviously don’t care.

Now yes, Hyorin, a young woman from South Korea, has no ties to the Western ideals and the implications can get hazy. However that does not excuse shit. They get their visuals from somewhere. That look didn’t just pop up (no this is not where you get to sit there and try to shift blame onto the west, that’s not the point of this…keep going). They have no obvious ties to that aspect of a culture, yet and still they are consuming it and fashioning themselves after it so they can make a statement/profit.

Now do I think Hyorin is racist? No. Do I think she is the problem? Not really. That’s way too simple logic. It also completely ignores that this is a larger problem in seated in racism (there’s that word y’all don’t like hearing unless convenient or apparent). She is more or less yet another example of how they (media of any form) will simplify aspects of a culture (in this case hip hop) for mass consumption and profit.

I love her to death, but I can’t stand by this.

 

 

This look was very much thought out. It takes well over a a good minute to braid hair like that. They didn’t just stumble onto this look. It was thought out for mass consumption because they don’t believe Hyorin was hip hop enough. Instead of just letting her be, they turned her into a caricature as if it was just another “strange” concept.

And that’s it.

 

Hyorin to collaborate with Paloalto and Zico, and I am going to have to drag my fave

It is a sad day for me because I never thought I would have to be critical of a fave. Starship is pretty deadset on Hyorin changing up her image…I don’t know why seeing as people like her well enough and she is known in the public as a top vocalist of her genre.

YET…we are having to sit through her becoming a rapper. Why? I don’t know.

So on top of Unpretty Rapstar, Hyorin is doing a collaboration with two well known rappers, Zico and Paloalto.

Here is a teaser.

HyorinPaloaltoZico

 

This is a lot. The problem here isn’t the two guys…no it is all on Hyorin herself.

I casually glided past this very issue with 4Minute’s last comeback Crazy (which was a glaring issue in that video itself), and I just don’t have the time and patience to keep talking about it…but let’s do this now.

Everything about her look is super obvious. Actually her look seems to be heavily reminiscent of singer Aaliyah

Aaliyah during Aaliyah Fans Pay Tribute in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
Aaliyah during Aaliyah Fans Pay Tribute in New York, New York, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)

For anyone who doesn’t know anything about Aaliyah, she was a singer from the early 90’s to early 2000’s, who was a big part of the R&B revolution. Although her sound was crafted by other people, she was still very synonymous with an edgier hip hop inspired sound of R&B (another singer who basically pioneered this was Mary J. Blige). Chances are if you see a female singer wearing clothes with obvious inspirations/connections to hip hop…, they probably have a hip hop infused sound, or presenting a more down the way kind of image (Ciara, Mary J. Blige, TLC, SWV and Xscape for anyone who needs references).

Is there anything wrong with these ladies taking hip hop and incorporating it into their music? NO! Just like I don’t have a problem with K Pop doing the same. HOWEVER, the difference between the ladies I mentioned and Hyorin is that Hyorin is going full monty rapper (for however long this will last), and instead of working her image and sound to be cohesive, it seems like she is just straight up cosplaying what is assumed to be a rapper.

And before anyone hits that, it’s just clothes/hair blah blah blah…

sistar19

 

She wore an outfit that is assumed to be more Hip Hop based, but it was just one of several styles Sistar19 worse. Was there a problem here? No? Why? Because Hyorin wasn’t showing any type of pretense. She was still singing Main vocalist Hyorin. It was just clothes and lacked any sort of context that her new teasers have.

Now she is trying to be a rapper and guess what is happening? They put her in this outfit, with that hairstyle on a song with two other rappers. They are trying to make a statement. And unfortunately it is coming off a lot of ways.

What’s worse is that a lot of MAINSTREAM female rappers don’t even dress like that. They don’t have to present some cliche image of what rap is??? Like…you have Missy Elliott, Salt N Peppa, YoYo, MC Lyte, Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, Rah Digga????

ALL OF THESE WOMEN ARE WELL KNOWN RAPPERS, AND STARSHIP IS PUSHING THIS?

There is nothing wrong with Hyorin wanting to become a rapper. There is nothing wrong with her being on that show. There is nothing wrong with her adding hip hop influences to her music, or even engrossing herself into the culture. There is nothing wrong with any of that. What is wrong is when she starts trying to project a stale ass (and often times racist) archetype of what a rapper is for obvious commercial and public appeal. They knew what they were doing with that look. The hair, the clothes all of it was meant to invoke rapper, and sadly that is…not cute.

 

 

UnPretty Rap Star coming back with a season 2, contestants being revealed

After the success of the first season, of course a second season of the all female emcee competition show would happen. After how much press and coverage Jimin had brought to the show (be it good or bad for her), of course there would be more idols appearing.

However MNET and the people who are behind the decisions decided to take it a step further. This season we are not only getting more idols, but…we got a vocalist!

News had broken out about certain people showing up for the show…and the reactions were not completely satisfied. Now…we have some names to our contestants

Wonder Girl’s Yubin, Sistar’s Hyorin, Fiestar’s Yezi, KittiB, Kasper, Gilme, Ahn Soo Min have been confirmed so far. There are four spots left, so I am guessing another idol and the rest underground.

San E. is coming back as the MC/Host.

Let’s just get some complaints and thoughts out of the way.

More Idols!

I think that was obviously going to happen. AoA’s Jimin brought in a lot of attention (because of her legitimacy as a rapper, her being an idol, etc.), whether good or bad, people wanted to see what she was going to do.

Those views matter to MNET no matter how they were gotten. To me, it makes sense that they added more idols because then that means more people. Especially when you have to high profile acts such as Hyorin and Yubin. Also another thing to take into consideration is that we don’t give female idols the same…respect…as we do male idols.

Maybe it is just me, but I somewhat sense the fact that people will not question the legitimacy of certain male rappers immediately. Like would we talk shit about Rapmon or Zico (as rappers)? However we do have female rappers who do take their craft seriously and have just as much prior experience as the boys. But once again…I feel like we would question them no matter what. This is also a problem of the industry not utilizing their female idols in the same way as they do their male counterparts.

But that’s mostly speculation that I can’t confirm one way or the other.

Idols on this show isn’t that big of a problem. If this show cared about the integrity of rap they would have altered the way the show worked, hired female judges and producers and discussed the actual sexism and misogyny rap music…but no. That’s not what this show is about.

I saw it coming after Jimin. They were going to look for more idol rappers and focus on this whole legitimate stance (in the most shallow context possible).

But that’s just my onion.

Hyorin the rapper

Hyorin is the best definition of a performance idol. She can sing, dance, has presence on stage, is rarely off her mark…and…she isn’t a terrible rapper. In all honesty, she does better than quite a few designated rappers in k pop.

HOWEVER…

Hyorin is not a rapper. She is not even an idol rapper.

Hyorin seems like what Jimin was the last season. She is the obvious shit stirrer of controversy. Her very presence makes you question the legitimacy of the show. With Jimin, she was an idol rapper who had to prove she was just as good as the other women of the show. Hyorin takes this a step further where she is going to have to prove that she can indeed hang period.

I personally see her being on the show as just for controversy.  I don’t think she is bad, and is better than a lot of designated rappers (the ones who couldn’t cut it as a singer, so were just thrown in that role). However I don’t think she is here because they take her seriously. I love her but she has maybe rapped all of three/four times in Sistar’s music, and has done a few fly bye covers of other people’s verses.

Whatever it may be, I don’t really care. At first I was like no…simply because Hyorin really didn’t need this show. To be honest I want more of her singing, and her next album please. This show just seemed like a waste of time for someone who wasn’t a serious rapper (idol standards or no). However I’ve gotten over it, and well…as much as she is my true fave, I don’t particularly care. If her ass flop, her ass flop. If she does well, than great. But that’s truly on her. She is going to have to prove herself now because this show will put a label on her.


 

Unpretty Rap Star is sadly just going to be like every other competition show, and we are going to enjoy it because it is such. We will have our faves, there will be moments where we are in awe, and other times when we cringe in disgust/embarrassment. That’s what this show is for in that sense. However I do hope that the ladies who come on this show can at least profit off of this and build their careers (or redefine it in some cases). There is absolutely nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

 

SNSD look for balance in their new comebacks

I am currently in the process of getting my life together (second day of my senior year of college), so a lot of what has been happening in K Pop has just been irrelevant to me. But trust…we getting post (be prepared for a long ass post about the M.A.D.E. series). However SNSD’s second comeback of the year has sparked my interest enough that I have to just say something.

First up: Lion Heart

Lion Heart went about as well as I expected it to. It’s definitely not bad, and I don’t think there is anything that could have made the song any better. It’s safe predictable, and I am sure this was the song SM was banking on being the success. It’s so…casually unspectacular, that it fits what a lot of us seem to think is passable for a hit in K pop. I think if I were to listen to this on the album, I would appreciate it just as much.

The video is cute, humorful fun. It actually helps the song a little bit. I was fascinated with the idea that they were cool with bestiality. That on top of them shifting through several decades (the 30’s-50’s) made this already pleasantly boring song a lot more workable.

You Think

I remember saying I thought this was going to be meh. SNSD and “Fierce” don’t mesh well, especially when it is someone else’s fierce (The demo version of this song is floating around somewhere). I am happy to say that I am eating my words. I think I ended up projecting this idea on SNSD, because I have always wanted them to grow up. And they have. The issue with me is that somehow it never completely comes together. Here, everything fits a bit better than most of their other attempts. The only issue I can see is that we should have just done a straight dance version. The extra shots of them in that pink room only gave the gifmakers something to do. However I think this video could have just been strong on the dance alone. Sooyoung and Hyoyeon as rappers aren’t terrible so yeah.

Video wise, SM should have just done this shit in a parking lot. The sets look bad, and honestly kind of take away from the severity. Also I would have been just fine with a straight dance version (hoping we get that at the very least).

I think SNSD did well enough with these songs. I think they lack the edge that I have come to like from their last works (the electronic pop was a good fit for them), but here they work best with minimal musical flaws. Lion Heart isn’t much to flock over, being safe yet still likable in its own way. You Think is the stand out, that I thought wouldn’t be a stand out. Maybe a little more depth or something overly dramatic could have happened, but it’s better than I anticipated so…yeah.

SNSD’s Lion Heart album is out now, the second half will be out soon.

 

Someone made Doctor Pepper worse with a video + more ranting about CL’s US thing

For some reason…someone…anyone thought that Doctor Pepper needed a video. As if that was going to save this monstrosity of a song.

This is bad. Like the song was bad on its own, and this is bad because it is a poor visual with poor graphics. Intentionally poor graphics to look like some sort of tumblr aesthetic blog. There is nothing about this that is worth getting into. This isn’t even trendy Trap music, this is a poor man’s attempt at that.

There is no way that anyone could actually justify this to me.

Now I have to rant about CL’s American stuff because…like…where is it?

Say what you want about the Wonder Girls, but at least JYP had the intelligence to actually get the girls into the public eye. Same thing happened with SNSD, and the five minutes they were in the states. Both of them were on shows that people watched. SNSD GOT ON ONE OF THE BIGGEST LATE NIGHT TALK SHOWS????

CL has access to an actual insider into the industry with Scooter Braun…has no responsibilities in Korea to hold her back…YET…here we are…months later after this so called move has even been announced and she ain’t doing shit. Like you can not sit there and tell me that it takes this long for actual planning. It cannot take this long.

Outside of K Pop, CL does not truly exist and that is the problem. She doesn’t necessarily need a hit. She just needs to make a name for herself and seven months later…nothing.

Of course this all takes time, but to actually take time in getting some where…you have to go. CL is stuck in some weird pre-development stage (if she is even meant to get out of this) and Doctor Pepper just feels like some way to bide time. This of course makes Doct0r Pepper an even bigger waste of resources; not only are we given trash content, but said trash content is possibly just a place holder and false start.

CL (and the people in charge of her career right now) need to start making moves somewhere. She is doing things (she has been at some performances, which helps put her name out there), but overall nothing feels like it is going in any direction. It just seems like we are still waiting for her to do something, when she has been here for what feels like six or seven months.

B1A4 hit a sweet groove with Sweet Girl

I can tell you right now that this group will probably never be on my radar of fucks to give about. Still they are back in the fun month of August so why not.

B1A4’s contribution to this month’s slew of comebacks will probably go down as the least intense one yet. The entire song seems built around the idea of how long can I listen to this song and not zone out. The song is really good because it lacks any sort of big or high maintanence parts. Everything seems to work together in making the song a meandering experience. The vocals are soft and lack any sort of intensity, even the high notes at the end just hit you like a soft down pillow. On top of that the beat is like a light funky R&B that is meant to make one feel good. The only intense part of the song is that guitar near the end. It kind of kills my vibe a bit, but nothing that really does all that much harm. Also shout out to Baro for not rapping like he got beef with the world. Thank you Baro…with your cute self.

The video reflects the fun and laidback nature of the video. The group wows a girl in different fantasy like areas. I really didn’t care for the video much, but it didn’t take away from the song so…

Sweet Girl is the type of song I would play at any given moment just to relax. There is something so chill about the song that lets you get lost in it without it losing appeal. And that’s just nice.

Hyuna contirbuting to the August comeback extravaganza

I had predicted earlier in the year that not only would we get a Wonder Girls, comeback, but former member and now Cube artist Hyuna would be making one herself. Who would have thought this would have been in the same month…

While I am currently mulling over my love for the senior group’s album, Hyuna decides to release a trailer for her new album.

I’m surprised we got this as early as we did because she just put pictures up of this not too long ago (in fact it was just last week). I thought it was for a music video…instead it was for a teaser. Anyway I love the party and trashy glamour vibe of all this. Hyuna looks amazing, and I can’t expect much else from her. But this is just a trailer basically saying she is coming back…not the actual comeback itself. If she actually keeps the video like this, I think I will love it. Mostly because the reactions from everyone else will be a load of bullshit and hypocrisies…but I don’t think we should get into that.

I am thoroughly convinced that July was cluttered with meh so we didn’t die from the hype that would be August. A lot is happening right now, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Hyuna never really dissapoints musically, so I don’t have reservations about this.