written by: drowningn00b
Last year, several hip-hop records came out with long track lists. By long, I’m talking over 20 tracks. Hip-hop records with large amounts of tracks are not new, but the Korean records in question went beyond just one disc. The lead offender of track overload was none other than hip-hop impresario, Cho PD. Not only did he release his seventh album called “The Art of the Business”, but he released two albums, at 20 tracks or more, with a “Part 1” and a “Part 2”. The discs did not overlap, but they weren’t different from one another; as a consumer, you’d be put between a rock and a hard place if you wanted “The Dctors Feat. Swings & San.E” from “Part 1”, and “Family Man Feat. Tae-il (Block B)” from “Part 2”. This is all to say that Cho PD created a precedent for splitting his projects in two for profits’ sake, rather than edit down the 40+ tracks to a manageable 20.
Thankfully, the trend was short-lived, since hip-hop releases are back to single packages.
Before it ended, however, Dynamic Duo did the same thing, but with a twist. Instead of one release, their album, “Digilog,” was split in two and released three months apart. Unlike Cho PD’s grandiose gesture of self-pleasuring, Dynamic Duo’s halves are ten tracks or less and make sense separately, but the result is a record that was needlessly broken up to sell records, rather than packages that exist as separate and unique releases.
Digilog’s first half, “Digilog 1/2,” has a decidedly percussion and brass sound, with electronic elements for variety. It’s good to see this sound transition from the yesteryear of R&B chanteuses to the hip-hop in the party song, “Forever Young,” and the flirty “Girl”. Things turn to a more somber tone on the Mad Soul Child collaboration “In the Line of Fire,” with its somber string and accordion loops underneath the fast raps by Dynamic Duo and the soulful delivery of Jansil. But on the whole, “1/2” is the optimistic half of “Digilog,” with the self-deprecating “Sleep Disorder” and the party track, “Friday Night”. Even though it has introspective moments, “1/2” is largely on the surface, not going deep enough to feel like a complete project.
On the other hand, “2/2” spends too much time in its head. Where the first half focused on the feel good moments of social behavior, the second half is about Dynamic Duo. From the swagger shouting of “Go Hard!!” and the you’re-in-this-party-because-of-me booty shaker “Check This Out!!!”, Dynamic Duo play up the hip-hop cliché of the guys everyone envies or wants to be with. The focus on their own narcissism keeps rolling on with “Innocent Prisoner” and “Misunderstood,” playing with another cliché of the hip-hop underdogs. As insufferable as all this is, Dynamic Duo had the right mind to add in lighter moments. “Be…” is one of the better R&B tracks, with “Art of Love” and its Primary Remix taking the top spots on “Digilog”. Both take the best parts of both halves, the light atmosphere of “1/2” and it’s-all-about-me attitude of “2/2” and builds them up for great effect.
The problem with “Digilog” was not the music. Both parts have their moments, but overall, I wasn’t wowed by the material, the aforementioned trio notable exceptions. The problem was how obvious the split was. Much like the yin and yang, both halves can’t exist without the other. “1/2” is feel good moments all around, with its hints of depth. The focus on self, whether good or bad, makes “2/2” the dark half to “Digilog”, a set of tracks that puts a shade of seriousness that “1/2” was missing. In other words, “1/2” is too soft and “2/2” is too hard. To add insult to injury, Dynamic Duo does not hide this fact, or attempt to disguise it. The artwork runs with the light and dark concept, “1/2” with an art style reminiscent of Shel Silverstein illustrations on a white background, while “2/2” goes with a digital block style against a black background. Add to that the hilariously overlooked placement of the intro and outro tracks, instead of throwing them out, and what you have is what should have been one complete record, but split in two for monetary purposes.
Dynamic Duo’s “Digilog” and its split personality is an obvious attempt to make money. It would’ve been easier to release one complete record and charge slightly more for all the material, but if the precedent was already set, why not try again? What Cho PD did right was to release the two packages without leaving the consumer feel compelled to buy both parts. The two halves of “Digilog” are incomplete as stand-alone material, and its offensive on Dynamic Duo and Amoeba Culture’s part to play their fans for fools by releasing “Digilog” in parts and not making that decision worth fans’ time and investment.