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  • Cy White

VIANN x HOFGANG: FREEEEZE!!!


I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this one.

On the one hand, FREEEEZE!! is the same try-hard "hip hop" most of South Korea is known for. It opens on a sound so grating to the ears that after15 seconds I had to skip to the next song. To be fair, that's when the album actually gets started in earnest.

Which leads to the other hand: some of this shit is exactly my type of grimy. Dirty beats that are so warped by feedback they seem like they've been rolling around in the mud. A fight between the beat and the rappers, where the latter came out covered in blood and bruises. At times, VIANN and the guys of HOFGANG offer some genuinely immaculate delivery ("Nonda," "Purple Kimchi," "spare the rod and spoil the child"). Even further, there are moments when the rappers and the music are actually in perfect synch, creating music that's not only entertaining, it's just damn good.

The two most powerful songs on the album, "Go Down" with CHOILB and "Cough up!" While the former has an intriguing melodic thread that reaches its zenith at the bridge, the latter is just straight gulley. It's menacing, aggressive. Without knowing 100% what's being said, you can get the point pretty easily. There are moments of eerie anticipation broken up by autotune distorted vocals and filtered and warbled screams a la Tyler's "Trash Wang." There are also some truly interesting and unexpected moments (as in the final 20 seconds of "Don't give a damn if you like.").

But this highlights exactly why I'm so conflicted. My mind is just annoyed with all the posturing, false narratives of people who genuinely have no idea what they're talking about, but the "cool factor" keeps them regurgitating something they heard on the radio.

Every other part of me is buck and ready to knuck!



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