‘Unpretty Rapstar‘ has served as a platform for many female rappers in the Korean hip-hop scene, but few have truly been able to build off of that platform to attempt a legitimate career. Kisum has managed to rise above the rest of the pack in that regard, and it’s obvious to me now why Cheetah said she was someone to look out for during their season. While I’ve always enjoyed Kisum, “2 Beer” is easily her strongest single thus far.
The track opens with the sounds of busy Seoul city, a light piano, and electronic echoes that eventually lead right into the addictive sung-spoken hook. I love the choice to not have an actual sung hook, as a lot of hip-hop songs feel is necessary these days. It feels very refreshing, even though this is not remotely something new within hip-hop, and adds a lot to the overall feel of the track.
The beat is probably one of my favorites this year, and grabbed me instantly. I’m partial to these types of jazz influenced tracks to begin with, but I think it would be difficult for anyone not to groove along to rhythms like this. It has a throwback vibe without feeling remotely outdated, and while the overall track isn’t exactly about feeling good, there’s something that simply …feels good while listening to this song. The lazy muted horns and somber melody feels almost cathartic as Kisum discusses loneliness in the city and day to day life. That pairs extremely well with the classic snare beat that keeps things consistently moving forward, and also gives Kisum a nice groove to fall into. In addition, it gives an opportunity to have greater emphasis on certain lyrics when these elements are stripped down, or completely removed, as we see in the beginning of the second verse. It’s extremely effective at drawing in the focus to her words and flow, which are on point throughout.
Visually, the music video is kept simple with most of the shots consisting of Kisum walking around the city. I think that choice was smart because anything more would seem awkward or forced for a track like this. Not only does that match with the lyrical content, but it keeps an urban feel that is actually appropriate for a Korean hip-hop artist. She isn’t pretending to know what it’s like being “on the streets” or “hood,” if anything it’s the exact opposite as Kisum appears mainly reflective with her eyes down.
I particularly love the shots of her rapping by the Han River with the warmth of the sun in the background. It’s not new to anyone here that Kisum is a pretty girl, but this is the prettiest she’s ever looked to me. Perhaps it’s the contrast of the somewhat drab casual clothing and setting that made her beauty standout more, or perhaps that she’s grown her hair out again, but either way it’s working for her.
All in all, while the release is somber and reflective over the hardships of everyday life that we probably can all relate to in one way or another, there’s a silver lining among the somberness, and I think the mood is absolutely perfect for the season. A great summer release from a female rapper I sincerely hope keeps rising.