Unpretty Rapstar: Semi-Final Review

I’m going to start this review off with saying that I have watched none of Unpretty Rapstar, so I may not be in the best position to really speculate on the outcome of the show. But after watching a couple of the raps, I felt compelled to listen to them all. What followed were four blistering tracks showing a great range in emotion and tone but all were personal for better or worse. I’m trying to look at these in a purely musical way ignoring the troubling mechanics of the show in order to get a better grasp of these girls as rappers. If we do that, then the show can turn out to be a force for good in giving some of these smaller female rappers a stage to shine on.

The semi final was split up into two rap battles, one between Cheetah and Jimin, the other between Jessi and Jolly V. These were less rap battles and more match ups, as they just performed one after the other.

Cheetah Coma 07

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K-Pop Songs That Should Have Music Videos

Singers usually promote one or two songs from their mini or full-length album. And in many cases some of the songs are left without a music video or the love they deserve. Every artist has at least one song that fans think should have a music video. People’s choices will most definitely differ, but here are a few we think would make great music videos if not just for the extra promotion of the song.

Jay Park I Love You

Jay Park music videos can be extremely sexy and steamy, cute and sweet, or fun and having a good time. I Love You could be one of his sexy ones, or a video that goes the really sexy route, or one that plays with the chance of romance and steaminess. Jay actually did do a video that shows off a killer dance routine for the R&B-inspired song. And based on the dance, the whole music video can just focus on the dance in different settings with different outfits; keep it crisp and simple. The beat and music make I Love You the perfect song to showcase a sensual yet hard hitting dance routine. Sometimes all we need is a great dance music video to give us life.


Also on KultScene: MADTOWN ‘New World’ Music Video & Song Review

f(x) Spit It Out

Any f(x) song would have an equally awesome music video. They somehow manage to make most, if not all, of their songs stick with fans. Spit It Out is a fun, upbeat song that offers many different directions for a music video. An avant garde concept might work best based on the beat, use of ‘80s synths, and the video game sounds that are prevalent throughout. The heavily processed sounds would match a quirky styled music video and the ladies of f(x) can pull off any concept. Out-of-the-box hairstyles, clothing, accessories, and almost cartoon-like settings would create an unrealistic world that corresponds to the lyrics and the reaction of the narrator of the song.


SHINee One Minute Back

In all honesty, SHINee could make a video for any of their songs and it would be well received (in most cases). But One Minute Back has a different sound and musical pattern compared to their other singles. The guys’ vocals sound wonderful together and the chorus is inviting and somehow manages to make everyone sound like a great singer when they sing along. A One Minute Back music video would benefit with close-ups of each member as they’re singing and looking into the camera. A dance routine that utilizes a prop, possibly a chair, would have to be a stop-and-go type dance to match the music and the beat, but the perfect prop can create a memorable dance (similar to Dream Girl with the mic stands) and showcase different performers than what we may be used to.


VIXX B.O.D.Y

VIXX have intense concepts for their songs. They’re mainly dark, futuristic, and creepy in an artsy way. But B.O.D.Y is an upbeat song that’s not too cutesy or sugary. The video would definitely have a lighter theme than some of their most recent ones, but it would showcase the boys’ fun sides without being over-the-top bubble gum pop. For B.O.D.Y, a dance that has one or two moves as basically the whole dance might work best. The song itself isn’t groundbreaking in any way and an intricate dance wouldn’t fit the tone and neither would a super cute one. The guys don’t even have to dance in the video, just having a fun and upbeat VIXX song with a video would be a nice addition to their other singles.


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Seungri Let’s Talk About Love

Seungri did end up performing Let’s Talk About Love, but he never released a music video. In this music video, a concept that uses black, white, and red as the main colors for wardrobe and setting would create a classy atmosphere. Some silhouettes when Seungri sings the chorus and when G-Dragon and Taeyang appear in the song would create a sense of mystery and take the focus away from their facial features. Also close ups of GD and Taeyang as they’re singing/rapping with minimal lighting would emphasize their facial features and play with the shadows and angles on their faces; a sexy yet classy concept for Let’s Talk About Love.


What songs would you love to see have their own music video? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

SHINHWA “WE” Album Review

After nearly two years and a scandal, Shinhwa is back and these legends are ready to rock your world all over again! WE is the group’s 12th full-length album and it was released on February 26th, 2015. Minwoo wrote the lyrics for Alright, Give It 2 Me, and I’m In Love, whilst Eric arranged and wrote the rap lyrics for all 10 songs on the album along with David Kim. The general theme of this album shows their maturity and sophistication but still delivers an urban pop feel.

For most artists, inspiration for lyrics usually stems from good and bad experiences. Since being in the industry for almost 20 years, I don’t doubt that a lot of Shinhwa’s lyrics come from their own personal experiences, whether individually or as a whole. With most members in their mid thirties this year, this album displayed a side to them in which they haven’t fully exposed in their previous albums. Each and every member was able to display a sexy and mature side of them, a side in which was already expected since they’re older “idols”; it is simply just another reminder to the listeners that although they’re in a “boy band”, they’re fully grown men who mean business! Long live the kings!

1. Alright

The lyrics of this song has the members of Shinhwa questioning about whether or not if this fairy like goodness whose in front of them is real or just a figment of their imagination; she’s perfect in everyway, from the “twinkling” in her eyes, to her sweet scent. This track has a feel-good vibe, one in which you’ll continuously find yourself twiddling your fingers and nodding your head back and forth. ChaCha Malone and GRAY from AOMG took part in composing and arranging this song, which lightly sprayed a swag element to the track. Hands down this is my favorite track off this album!


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5 K-Pop Songs To Help You Unwind from the Work Week

Whether you just finished a strenuous week of work or school, it’s time to unwind and enjoy the next couple of days of relaxation and no work. These fives songs will help you release your stress and frustrations from your busy week. So forget about the past and enjoy the present.

1. Mamamoo- Baton Touch

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Rainbow’s ‘Black Swan’ Music Video & Song Review

The forever mid-tier girl group Rainbow returned earlier today with the moody Black Swan. Rainbow has consistently failed to achieve in terms of sales despite nearly always putting out interesting music. From the beautiful collaborations with Japanese producer Daishi Dance on To Me and Sweet Dream to the perfect duo mini albums Rainbow Syndrome parts one and two, they have excelled in many different styles. For Black Swan Rainbow leave behind the cutesy image to adopt an edgy, sexy concept that fits them well.

They also sound like they have left behind recent trends in sounds too, as Black Swan sounds like it came from the 2008-2010 era of K-pop. The lowkey electro pop has been replaced by crashing synths recently so it’s refreshing to hear something different. Especially since this song is weirder than one listen might make it seem.

Song

The lyrics are an interpretation of the story of Swan Lake, focusing on the Black Swan. It’s about a woman who doesn’t know who she is anymore. Like in Swan Lake, she is fearful of who she is or might become. She ultimately finds herself again with the help of someone to tell her it’s all a bad dream.

While this idea of what we can assume is a man saving her is derivative and sexist, the ending of the song is interesting. Instead of a happy ending it feels more like the woman is telling herself a lie in order to feel better and more assured in herself, which is something I’m sure that we’ve all done in times of hardship. It offers a story that K-pop doesn’t give us often, and that is immediately interesting.

Also on KultScene: MYNAME’s ‘Too Very So Much’ Music Video & Song Review

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Artist Spotlight: Fromm

Fromm has been on the Korean Indie scene since 2012 when she released a digital single album titled Wasn’t it Love. Since then, she has released a full-length album and two digital single albums. Fromm’s musical abilities and vocal strengths are present throughout her songs, showing different vocal tones on her songs. She sometimes even sounds similar to female Western singers, but aside from those brief instances, Fromm’s vocals are her own. She doesn’t sound like any one person.

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4Minute’s ‘Crazy’ Music Video & Song Review

Apart from Girls’ Generation, no girl group has been as consistently great as 4Minute this generation. Since their debut with Hot Issue, their popularity has gone up and down even when they went through changes with Brave Brothers over the last two years. They blossomed recently, garnering the biggest successes of their career and I expect them to continue this with their new single Crazy.

Crazy is the type of song that would seem stale and overdone in any other group’s hands. The trap beats and overloaded sound have become regular enough in K-Pop that they’re almost outdated, yet here they feel cataclysmic. The hype of the ‘Revamped’ teasers have been completely lived up to and have given us the best song of 2015 so far.

Song

Judging by the comments of the music video on Youtube Crazy is the kind of song that Blackjacks think 2NE1 are masters of. Of course, they’re wrong. While it is most definitely YG-styled, 2NE1 as a group couldn’t pull off this song even if YG were to give them something so complex. The varied vocals and choreography would be too much and the already busy song would be filled with even more parts.

While the song itself sounds packed with too many components, it is structured perfectly to create something busy but measured. The verses are split into three different parts; a rap, Sohyun’s part, and Gayoon’s pre-chorus. This allows the song to be challenging yet not jarring for an audience. Each part is executed to perfection with even Sohyun and Jihyun getting more prominent, longer solos than usual, and also slaying them for once.

Also on KultScene: Review: Sonamoo ‘Deja Vu’

In particular, Gayoon’s pre-chorus works to bind the whole song together. It acts as a time for the whole song to slow down for a second and build up again. It does so quite slowly for a pop song but works so well in tandem with Gayoon’s vocal. Every second beat is skipped right before the chorus kicks in and creates the most satisfying transition you’ll ever hear in K-pop.

The song is brimming with trap snares, kick drums, sirens, synths and an alarmingly good horn loop in the chorus. That sounds like a lot on paper but thanks to the structure and perfect vocals everything comes together to create the perfect commercial club song. Lyrically, there’s nothing interesting going on but that doesn’t matter as this is a song to get crazy to and it achieves that without any doubt.

Music Video

The video is standard dancing in a box stuff. It works with a song like this though because it’s all about going crazy and looking fierce. 4Minute do not fail at this. Their charisma feels genuine and jumps off the screen. The choreography is badass and the styling (apparently done by Gayoon) is cool. Also this marks the first time 4minute music video is not the Hyuna show. It’s always nice to see lesser members getting attention even if they are indeed lesser.

Dance

To cap off a perfect comeback, 4Minute’s dancing does not let them down. It looks like they went to their local club, took the moves of all the girls on the dance floor and turned them into highly choreographed moves ready for the stage. The girls dance with power and vigour, seemingly making it up as they go along. The dance perfectly matches up with the tone of the song.

Rating

4Minute have taken the most used and popular concept in pop music today and reinvigorated it in 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Everything sounds, looks and feels completely fresh when compared to similar K-pop songs. 4Minute have set the bar for 2015, I’m excited to see if anyone can match it.

What’s your opinion of Crazy? Leave your thoughts on the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Is CL Collaborating With Grimes For Her American Debut Album?

CL’s debut american album has been hyped a lot since it was announced last year. With an anticipated early 2015 release, we just can’t help wondering which direction she will take and who she will collaborate with. 2NE1’s leader has been praised by American media on her versatility with not only her talents, but her ability to transform herself with her looks. Grimes, an experimental Canadian singer-songwriter and producer is a known fan of K-pop, and a recent picture that she uploaded to her Instagram account makes us wonder if they are just friends hanging out together or if Grimes will have a hand in producing CL’s album.

CL and Grimes
There are a very few names that have been already mentioned before that could possibly be collaborating with CL for her album. Diplo, a friend and frequent collaborator may have a big and important part on her album. His beats paired with CL’s fierce rap and vocals create a perfect match that was already seen in their live collaboration for the Style Icon Awards.

Moreover, Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am. has previously collaborated with 2NE1, with an alleged full album, and has featured CL and Park Bom in one of his songs, and has now enlisted CL to join him and Black Eyed Peas on their new album. CL will feature on their 20th anniversary album to be released later this year. Without a doubt, CL is in the right track with the aforementioned collaborators, but what CL needs is a producer like Grimes.

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Grimes had already expressed admiration towards CL before. She posted on her Tumblr the music video for The Baddest Female with a caption, “CL is so cool.” Then when her American solo debut was announced, she couldn’t help but express her emotion via her Twitter. Even Lorde couldn’t resist and retweeted Claire’s (her real name) excitement.

Grimes Posting CL's Music Video

via Lorde's Twitter

In order for CL to achieve success in the American market she needs to come out with a very new and fresh sound that will set her apart from the current Pop artists that reign American Top 40. Yes, she has to have that commercial appeal in order to gain attention, but Grimes can give her that innovative sound that will make stand out. Grimes’ music is so different; she experiments with different sounds and genres that are not that far from what’s being produced in K-pop. She’s definitely not afraid of trying new things.

Take Grimes’ most recent track, Go, which was originally penned for Rihanna. This song is Claire’s attempt to go into the commercial route, but it still has that Grimes feel of her unique music. The song has dubstep, trap, synths, and other experimental sounds that she creates herself. If Claire takes this route with CL, she could seemingly showcase her beautiful vocals and rap on a song like this.

If both ladies want to work on a more danceable track, but with a serious topic, then Grime’s Oblivion would be a perfect example of what they could come up with. Grimes’ tracks usually deal with sexism, misogyny, drug abuse, and alcoholism, and Oblivion deals with sexual assault. Her dark and obscure lyrics create a perfect juxtaposition with the music she does, but also bring awareness to these topics. CL has already stated that she wants to represent Asian women and break the typical Asian female stereotype. “I want to break that. I want to tell the world that there are some badass Asian female girls and that we can be cool. That we’re nothing different. I want to break that standard and stand up for all the girls,” she stated in an Elle Magazine interview. Grimes and CL could make the perfect girl power anthem that we have been longing for.

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Grimes producing CL debut American album would be ideal. Not only producing her music but also giving creative direction. Did we forgot to mention that they are both Jeremy Scott’s besties? Her visuals are always stunning and have a very different approach from what’s already out there. Claire’s music can’t be put in one genre given that her music is very unique, making it the perfect sound match for CL. Both artists are chameleonic in their artistry. What these women could achieve together would be amazing; their personalities and talents combined will be like a match made in heaven.

Would you like to see CL and Grimes collaborate together?Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Gaeko & Yankie ‘Cheers’ Song Review

Gaeko and Yankie have collaborated with Beenzino and Babylon on the new track Cheers for Amoeba Culture’s NEWorkend project. The four artists worked together to give us life during theses cold winter months. Cheers will take you away to a tropical location to forget about the Winter blues.

Music:

The music that makes up Cheers automatically gives off a summer, laid back vibe. You can instantly feel the warmth of the sun and the air of summer nights. The instrumentals are all basic, but the way they are being played adds to the summertime feel. The electric guitar is used in a more subdued manor than in rock and punk songs. It sounds so subdued and calm with the amp turned up. The percussion, again, is pretty simple and basic. It keeps the beat going while adding in some wooden blocks that adds the beach vibe to the song. The exhaling (ahhh) throughout the song is not creepy nor distracting, instead it reminds listeners of the almost automatic reflex of exhaling with joy after quenching one’s thirst. There are trumpets that come in throughout the song, and clapping and a piano toward the end. They all continue to keep the summer feel and only add a little more instrumental thickness to the song.

Also on KultScene: Flash K-Pop Music Video Reviews: Jonghyun, Jung Yonghwa, Mad Clown, From The Airport, Eddy Kim, GFriend

Rapping:

Yankie starts the song off with a smooth flow that adds to the laid back vibe of the music. His verse sets the mood of the song perfectly, which is on the weekend everyone is ready to let loose and enjoy themselves. People are quite different from their work selves and their party selves. Yankie starts out the night, which includes meeting up with your friends at the club.

Beenzino then raps about what happens next in the second verse. In the club drinks are ordered and free flowing, and the lust that comes with the weekend party scene is at an all time high. Beenzino’s rap flow has a bit of punchiness to it, but nothing too extreme or intense to throw off the groove of the song. The tone of his voice gives off the feeling of having a good time and not caring if he breaks the law or not.

Gaeko’s rap is at a slower pace than Yankie and Beezino’s. He crisply articulates each English word with a little more punch than the Korean words. During Gaeko’s verse some of the instrumentals are cut out creating a shift in the song that breaks up the monotony of the music. The change is a cue that tells the listener that there is a slight interruption in the flow of the song, which then encourages the listener to pay more attention.

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Singing:

Babylon sings the chorus throughout the song and his vocals have a higher pitch and vocal tone. Although his tone is higher, his vocals are full and easy on the ears. Babylon’s vocal quality matches the overall vibe of summertime and having a good time. His falsetto oohs at the end of the song briefly show off his vocals abilities. The chorus clearly shows that he is capable of singing and singing well, but his oohs at the end tease listeners into wanting more music from Babylon.

Conclusions:

Cheers not only displays the multiple talents of all of those involved with the song, but it gives listeners happiness and the feeling of being carefree and enjoying one’s self. Whether you listen to Cheers in the summer, the winter, or throughout the entire year, it will always make you feel great and let you escape to a warmer place with friends, fun, and drinks.

Do you like Cheers, do you feel like you’re taken away to a warm Summer’s night partying with your friends? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Flash K-Pop Music Video Reviews: Jonghyun, Jung Yonghwa, Mad Clown, From The Airport, Eddy Kim, GFriend

There’s a lot of really great music coming out of Korea nowadays and listening to every chart-topping song, let alone watching every music video, is near impossible. Here at KultScene, we’re going to try something new: Reviews written in the span of the entire music video, inspired by the idea of flash fiction. Once the video stops, the review comes to an end.  These reviews aren’t in depth, and are essentially just first reactions, but it’s a good introduction to many of the songs that you’ll want to check out this week.

Mad Clown Fire

First things first, Hani from EXID is blatant media play since it’s actually Jinsil singing and Hani is just lip-synching. I like the lighting and Hani’s eyes really are mesmerizing so I guess it’s okay, but still kind of sad for Jinsil. The big-band beat and Mad Clown’s rap nicely go together to create a dramatic song that describes the craziness of the lyrics. As usual, Mad Clown doesn’t disappoint with his rap, but instead delivers every line in an aggressive, statement-like way.The lyrics of the song don’t really match the music video, other than showing their craziness, but it’s really beautifully filmed. Jinsil’s voice isn’t too cloying in comparison to Mad Clown’s intense raps, but instead her raspy voice sounds exactly like how a confused, lover should sound. The bleeping and blurring out curses is really amazing for mainstream Korean music, as if Mad Clown is protesting the clean-cut rapping that is prominent in Korea. Overall, I’m impressed.

Eddy Kim My Love

We’re behind scene, and Eddy Kim takes a pause to look at a piano, sits down, and tells the person he’s talking to wait a minute. This piano medley is nice, like something you’d hear in a hotel lobby, and then Eddy Kim’s voice starts up to sing a sweet, powerful melody. The song is really interesting because it uses an orchestra rather than any electronic beats, which are popular nowadays. The singing into the phone while his girlfriend rides a bus is a really cute touch, showing how Eddy feels his love even though they’re apart. It doesn’t really sound like it, but Eddy Kim’s songs always makes me think of Michael Buble. Between the song looking good and Eddy Kim appearing as handsome as ever, My Love is a winner.

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Jonghyun Crazy (Guilty Pleasure)

A steady beat mixed with classic piano introduces a song that’s like a pop ballad trying to grow up into a hip-hop track. Jonghyun’s acting and the music video are impressive, but these up-close facial shots are a jarring thanks to these jerky camera movements. He’s singing about being crazy, emphasized by the gas mask and being chained up, but it looks like it’s just an excuse to show off his ripped body. Iron’s speedy rap is a completely different sound from Jonghyun’s breathy falsettos and high notes, which is really a different sound than what I’m used to hear from SHINee, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. The song completely shows off Jonghyun’s best skills, dominating high notes, while the video shows off his body’s best aspects to entice any fan of SHINee to watch. A little bit over the top in general, though, with all of the special effects that aren’t limited to explosions and mechanical giant spiders. But Jonghyun’s a singer first and foremost, and this new style really matches his personality.

GFriend Glass Bead

So here’s the Into The New World similarities, especially the girl that looks like ex-Girls’ Generation member Jessica. The athletic styled outfits, the retro-style sweet pop song is really like something that I’d expect to hear from late 2000’s K-pop girl groups, so I see why everyone’s comparing GFriend to Girls’ Generation. But while the images are similar, the dancing is really impressive. None of the vocalists stand-out particularly, but it’s likely that as GFriend releases more music several of their vocalists will stand out. An all around good song, even though it’s nothing that we’ve never seen before. The concept is cute, sweet, and totally needed in K-pop, which is becoming so overly sexualized that it’s losing the innocence that made songs like Gee and Tell Me viral hits in 2009.

From The Airport Sight

I don’t know if this is supposed to be the response, but when I pressed “play” and heard Sight I wanted to close my eyes. The music video almost demands this, by hiding the two members of From The Airport amid shadows, star-like lights, and occasional bursts of light that essentially blind the camera. The song has a bit of a heavier bass beat than many of From The Airport’s songs, with an occasionally heavy handed rock sound as the backtrack to their heavily synthesized vocals. The profiles of the two members don’t distract from the sound of their song, but aren’t really supposed to be the point of this video. The song climaxes with From The Airport being completely dissolved by light, and then continues with mere music, highlighting not the singers but the sounds themselves.

Jung Yonghwa One Fine Day

Clubbing, two people see each other across the room, and then we wake up in a depressing, green and gray environment. A slightly misleading title? This video is really visually beautiful, I actually feel like it would do well as a magazine spread. Yonghwa’s side profile is really prevalent, and changes his overall style and feel as an actor.The cinematography is really the thing that makes or breaks this video, but it’s a little disappointing as a song overall. This is CNBLUE’s lead singer, who is a popular actor, Yonghwa simply… singing and acting? So what is new to this? Nothing. This could just as easily be a music video for a song from the soundtrack of a drama that Yonghwa is starring in. The song isn’t particularly memorable, although Yonghwa’s voice perfectly depicts the emotion described in the lyrics. It’s a heartfelt song, but if you’re a lead singer with such a distinct voice, just going the ballad route is a little bit boring.

Do you like this idea of quick music video reviews? If there are any music videos you would like to see reviewed, please leave suggestions in the comments section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.