Contributing writer drowningn00b reviews ‘Go Easy’ by Verbal Jint!
Anger, heartache, sadness, love and positivity. These emotions don’t always go together, let alone make for an interesting album to listen to, but they all fit perfectly in Verbal Jint’s latest record, ‘Go Easy’. As a hip-hop and R&B artist, VJ straddles the fence between singing and rapping very well, pulling off both with ease not seen in rappers trying to sing or singers trying to rap. That said, ‘Go Easy’ is a brilliant record, full of emotional, well-produced tracks that makes for one of the best rap records of 2011.
The record begins with “원숭이띠 미혼남 [Single Man of the Monkey]”, a guitar and drums track that sets the pace for the record. The rap flow by VJ as well as Zico from Block B shows a sense of urgency, only to be brought down by the calmer rhythm of the chorus. Going up against Zico’s rap prowess, VJ holds his own, which is evident in the years he’s had in the business. Moving on to the lead single, “좋아보여 (You Look Good)”, the same production is followed, adding electronic touches to add drama to the track. The result is amazing. VJ throws it out of the park on this track, and the entire song gains from it. The production is dramatic enough to make its point of love lost, but restrained enough for comfortable listening. Cheong Chi-ma’s chorus isn’t much to speak of, but bridges the rap segments well enough to get by. Still, “좋아보여 (You Look Good)” is one of VJ’s crowning achievements as an artist. A must for any lover of music.
For what it is, “넌 내게 모욕감을 줬어 (You Insulted Me)” is a good track. A solid rap-rock track with a laid-back feel. It works and benefits from Koonta’s nasal singing. But ultimately, it feels like an up-beat bridge between the lead single and the next exceptional track, “우아한 년 2012 (Elegant Bitch)”. A slow tempo burner, “Elegant Bitch” is angry. It is one of those heartache songs that feels like a back-hand slap to the face. VJ sings with hurt, leaving the anger to the hands of rookie rapper Okasian and the exceptional San-E. Speaking of which, someone needs to tell San-E to smile every once in a while. Since his single “Please Don’t Go” earlier this year, San-E has rapped about being hurt in every collaboration. Still, San-E delivers that final punch on “Elegant Bitch” that’s more punch to the face than the cherry on top. The track itself grooves slowly with piano and string loops making for a smooth track overall.
Slowing things down, VJ brought in one of my new favorite female voices, Cho Hyuna from Urban Zakapa, for “약속해 약속해 (Promise Me) 2012”. This a remake of the mid-tempo hit of the same name featuring G.NA. Where the latter was full of aegyo, Ms. Cho is no joke when she wants that promise from VJ. She sings with range, control and power that was missing last year. The track is paired down this time around, opting for an intimate, acoustic remix that’s easy on the ears.
Following that is the duet with Lady Jane, “Available”, a mid-tempo tune that’s similar in approach to “Promise Me”, though this one has a piano. Both are very nice, classy even, adding a soft touch to ‘Go Easy’. But no one does the soft touch on this record better than VJ himself at the helm of “깨알같아 (It’s Adorable)”. This ballad is beautiful, quiet, and romantic. This is perfect for a sexy night in, VJ’s vocals lulling you into a bliss only ballads in this form can do.
As amazing as this record can be, ‘Go Easy’ is heavy. The beats, the rap flow, and the singing can really bring you down if it were not for “긍정의 힘 (Power Of Positivity)”, and the album-ender, “우리 존재 파이팅 (Fighting, Our Existence)”. The latter two are uplifting tracks that make you celebrate… whatever you’re happy about at that moment. “Power of Positivity” features hand-clapping and a nice two-step beat that makes sway from side to side. For a more vigorous exercise, “Fighting, Our Existence” is faster, though similar in style. This is the perfect album-ender for ‘Go Easy’, because what better message for someone going through a break up? You got to stay strong, you got to hold on, a message we can all use in down times.
The Korean hip-hop scene is extensive, with new releases coming out in multiples every week. It’s hard to shuffle through it all to find the best, but boy was the work worth it. Since its release in August, Verbal Jint’s ‘Go Easy’ album is on constant rotation on my ipod, and with good reason. VJ is true to the material and loves each track, something that is lacking in some releases. The beats, the style and the overall package have made ‘Go Easy’ one of the best releases this year.
Hi! My name is Xtian, and I’m a total pop music whore. I’m from NYC and can be seen dancing in the streets with headphones permanently glued to my ears. I may not have had a musical background, but I’m a lover of all things music, so I’m excited to be bringing a new voice to the McRoth’s funhouse. Y’all can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or better yet, follow me on twitter, where I do most of my social media-ing, @drowningn00b. See y’all lataz!