Thursday, July 2, 2015

BTS "Dope" and my Love for Rapping Boy Bands

Hey Lovelies! I don't know about you, but along with all the Bigbang, "Dope" by BTS has been my ultimate summer jam! It's so catchy and the choreo is seriously on point! I've always liked BTS despite my skepticism during their debut.

For the sake of nostalgia, I want to repost this essay I wrote 2 years ago after their debit ㅋㅋㅋㅋ.

Bulletproof: BTS Doesn’t Care About Your Criticism

Confession: I have a soft spot for Bangtan Boys.

The last two years have seen a bevy of  boy groups debut on the K-pop scene, all struggling to stand out in a sea of fresh rookie talent. In an effort to make themselves memorable, however, more and more groups seem to be trying a similar strategy. Is it just me, or have these recent rookie groups really been pushing a more aggressive and manly image than the boy group debuts of earlier years? The first name that comes to mind along that vein is B.A.P, who debuted in early 2012 with the bombastic “Warrior.” With a heavy hip-hop influence, B.A.P blew audiences away with their forceful dancing and manly charisma. Let’s just all take a minute to appreciate Bang Yong Guk’s grimy voice and Zelo’s gritty, playful rapping. Wasn’t their sound both powerful and fresh?  

 B.A.P. weren’t the only ones, however—Block B also debuted in early 2012 with the amazingly catchy “Nalina,” which also highlighted the rapping talents of the members. I would place these two groups in a separate category from, say, Exo who also had a fantastic debut in 2012. Though their edgy debut concept (if we’re counting “Mama” as their official debut instead of the fabulous “What Is Love” and “History” which were technically just teasers—thanks for the confusion, SM), the major hip-hop influence of B.A.P. and Block B was absent. Exo’s single “Wolf” has a decidedly more hip-hop/dubstep feel to it and adequately shows off their rapping talent, but I still wouldn’t call them quite the same style as the other two. Anyway, it was “Growl” that best showed off their signature style and made them a household name in Korea.

Yes, B.A.P. and Block B have decidedly different sounds, but their music is of a similar style (come at me, Babyz and BBC!). I’m not trying to argue about who did this new style first or who did it best, but the trend that began last year is unmistakable. More recent debuts from rookies like BTS with “No More Dream” and LC9 with “Mama Beat” seem to continue that trend of gritty hip-hop style dance tracks. In fact, there now seems to be a hazy subgenre of boy groups whose focus has taken a turn towards rapping in a big way with an intimidating image to match. It’s not that these boys can’t sing—it’s just that rapping is their bread and butter. Along with that comes a lot of attitude and a refusal to conform with traditional ideas of male beauty and “cute” male behavior in the Korean music industry. In fact, B.A.P is hilariously bad at aegyo, which this writer thinks is totally charming and refreshing.


            BTS and LC9, the most recent rookie groups in this batch of badass boy bands, have even upped the ante on their seniors who debuted last year. LC9 stands out for their insanely violent MV in which they basically beat the ever living crap out of each other, Street Fighter style. Viewers may not remember the song itself, but that MV was certainly memorable! As for BTS, I was a bit skeptical at first about such a young group, with a leader named “Rap Monster” no less, pulling off such a strong hip-hop concept. However, overused hip-hop clichés aside, their debut single ‘No More Dream’ showed off some legit rapping skills and their powerful stage performances cinched their impressive arrival on the K-pop scene. As for their age not quite matching the concept, what can we do? It seems K-pop fans have a soft spot for cute Korean schoolboys spitting gritty East Coast style rap.

            That choreography though…I’m never prepared. Seriously, aren’t these guys a little young to be moving that way??? Good thing my bias is legal (20 is close is enough, right?) You can get it, Suga. <3

But whatever. WE GO HARD DURING COFFEE HOURS!!! Keep it up, Bangtan. Haters gonna hate.

A/N: Conversation with my friend right before posting:
Me: If I say ‘I have a soft spot for Bangtan,’ does that sound all pedonoona?
Olivia: No lol. As long as you aren’t, like, creepily leching on them. 
*relieved sigh*

Ah, memories! In the past 2 years Bangtan has continued to surpass my expectations and became a group to be reckoned with. I've gotten over their ages and consider them one of the most talented groups out there! 

What did you think of their last MV? For fashion inspired by "Dope" check my recent post. Do you love them as much as I do?

Also, GD won the Bigbang poll, so expect a tribute to him soon! ;)

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