K-HIPHOP / K-POP / REVIEWS

[Review] [Album] Jay Park – “FreshA!R: Breathe!T”

written by: drowningn00b

For better, not worse, Jay Park is one of those ‘artists’ that the label serious doesn’t fit. His debut EP, Take A Deeper Look, lost the impact of that title by featuring the ex-2PM member’s oiled and chiseled torso on the cover. The lead singles to the debut EP and his first album were attempts at seriousness, but trumped by tracks like “Tonight” and “Wasted”. Things for Jay Park are all on the surface, with no substance to any of it, and it all came to a head in Jay Park’s renegade English mix tape, “FreshA!R: Breathe!T”. And by no means should it be overlooked.

The superficiality of Jay Park is all there. From shitting on other rappers and his haters, to picking up girls from parties and making them “twerk” on his lap – there’s no escaping it; Jay Park is obsessed with himself. On “William Hung”, his narcissism is clear early on:

My flow hard, I gave it Viagra/Try me you will fall, Call you Niagara (sic.)/Disrespect you, Whoops where are my manners?/Jay Park be the words all in your girls grammar.”

With metaphors like these, Jay Park won’t be winning song writing awards. And when he wants to have sex, it’s hard to believe that’s what he wants. The lyrics are laughable, prompting chuckles instead of moans.

Yup and I’ll fuck yah tatts off once in a life time girl you’ve earned the last spot/Hit that ass raw and I’mmah make you gasp huhhhhhhh/Yeah your embedded in my head so get embedded in my bed/Young cat but I’mmah veteran of sex/Gonna bust that in the middle center of yah legs/Fuck rap better get ready for what’s next.” [“Be With Me 2Night”]

“FreshA!R: Breathe!T” goes on like this for its short 20 minutes, but considering the music landscape he plays in, Jay Park’s lyrics are welcome.

As it stands now, K-Pop is a sterilized version of itself and Jay Park knows this. You don’t put out a mix tape with curses and drinking and sex references without thumbing your nose at the squeaky clean exterior of K-Pop. A song like JYP’s “Kiss” could not come out now without the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family banning the sale and play of too many tracks to list. Hence the release of this mix tape for free on the internet with the title “Fresh A!R: Breathe !T”. Like Jay Park’s approach to music, K-Pop, and our fascination with it, is all on the surface. It isn’t love we have for it, but a series of quickies.

Was it really love that we were falling into?/Or was it just that we were comfortable/And the sex thing was so fun to do/And we thought we were untouchable.” [“Hopeless Love”]

Every month, it seems, the censors come down on any number of songs, fearing the corruption of the young’ns by vague references to sex (like in After School’s “Funky Man”). “FreshA!R: Breathe!T” is just that, a no-holds-barred hip-hop and R&B mini for those of us adult K-Pop lovers who are past our corruptible years.

Jay Park, unlike other artists who’ve rebelled against the powers that be in K-Pop, owns his badassery with a smirk on his face. Only the guy who, frankly, said fuck you to JYP can release a song with the corny metaphors, “Your girls legs split like Kris and Kim Kardashian/Her wand is my dick and she be doin’ magic tricks” (“You Know How We Do”). But mix tapes aren’t new to South Korea, yet Jay Park is the biggest name in K-Pop to have released one.

Say what you will of the lyrics in this mix tape, but give him credit. In a music space where BEAST’s “Rainy Days” gets a censorship challenge for including alcohol in its lyrics, “FreshA!R: Breathe!T” is a defiant yell: “If there’s a fuck, I don’t give it” [“William Hung”].

No other K-Pop rapper, after signing with a label, has had the balls to release a mix tape this ridiculously ballsy, and “FreshA!R: Breathe!T” is the culmination of what Jay Park does best: blowing himself.


==

Scorecard

You Know How We Do
0.75
BODY2BODy
0.50
Do What We Do
0.50
 Points scale
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
Be With Me 2Night
0.75
William Hung
1.00
Hopeless Love
0.50
Total Points
4

Points to stars conversion: [(4/6) x 5] + 0.25*

3.6/5


*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.

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5 thoughts on “[Review] [Album] Jay Park – “FreshA!R: Breathe!T”

  1. Thanks for your review!

    Jay Park’s mixtape grew on me. The first time I heard the tracks, I was like, meh.. beat was good but the lyrics were laughable. I’ve read a review criticizing the lyrical content and I couldn’t help but agree.

    His APAHM tour made me take a deeper look at his mixtape. When he performed it live with some moves on stage, it was actually good. I listened with a more open mind to his tracks and I was convinced that overall I can live with this mixtape. It’s not great but it’s not horrible like what some people said.

    I don’t know why at first I wasn’t so impressed. Probably because I have had high expectations from him. I really liked his 6’7 cover; his rap in Clouds by Clara C and Dumbfoundead; his collab with Brave Brothers. Even his Bestie rap was good.

    Now, I listen to You Know How We Do a lot. I especially like listening to his songs while driving. I don’t know, there’s just some kind of feel good feeling with the beats and all. And I learned to appreciate his lyrics as well. Some are really hilarious when taken out of the song but if you think about the whole concept/message of the song, those lyrics fits in to what he’s trying to portray.

    I am not in any way offended by the sexual content of his tracks. Yes, it’s baby making, it talks about sex sex sex ego ego ego. Well, aren’t most of the raps nowadays about those things?

    I read a lot of people complaining how Jay Park constantly raps about how great he is or how he’s so fly and fresh that he becomes to overrated. I actually believe that a person’s ego is the only thing that’s left of you when everything else crumbles. He’s been through a lot; his name smeared like he’s some kind of criminal; his whole person mocked, ridiculed; and stepped on. Until now, his craft or artistry is not fully recognized because of some cockblockers shit. I think that’s what’s behind his ego boosting lyrics. He prolly wants to keep on emphasizing that no matter what people do, he’ll be out there doing his thing coz he believe he has the package to make it.

    This post has been too long. Sorry for writing it too long.. Anyway, I hope people keep an open mind with Jay’s mixtape. He has improved so much and will improve further. It’s a great thing that he’s expanding his range, genre, skills… If he keeps on doing these, he will hit the jackpot someday or soon.

    And I totally agree with this post that Jay’s mixtape is a shoutout to you know who that he doesn’t give a fuck.

    • Damn son! You were not kidding that this was long! Lol, but since you put in the time, I’ll do my best to reply.
      I have to agree with the live idea. It’s interesting how seeing music live changes your perception of the recorded stuff, whether for the good or bad. I only wish I had seen him during that tour when he stopped here in NYC. Where did you see him?
      A man after my own heart! His 6’7 cover was exactly the reason I loved Jay Park in the beginning. I didn’t know about his 2PM past then, and that cover was the reason why “Level 1000” grabbed me the way it did.
      Its funny you mention the sex and ego bit because that’s exactly how my brother put it when he heard “William Hung” for the first time.
      Lolz, you go boy! “Some cockblockerz shit”. Couldn’t have put it better myself.
      I enjoyed reading your “essay”, so thanks for commenting. Peace, Mikhel!

  2. This shit is why I don’t listen to the English versions of Kpop, or most English rap/hip-hop to begin with. Being able to understand the god awful lyrics completely ruins it for me. Definitely dislike Jay Park, he needs to fade back into obscurity.

  3. Eh, I wouldn’t give him too much credit for being “ballsy” by releasing a crude and embarrassing mixtape for free on the internet. Being an English release, and a relatively obscure one, only his fans are really going to pay attention to it. Give him a few months, he’ll be back in SoKo singing cutesy song for OSTs.

  4. Pingback: [Review] [Single] Jay Park – “JOAH” | McRoth's Residence

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