Zico‘s return with “Anti” provided me with a reminder of why I liked him to begin with, getting away from the rap ballad bullshit, returning to things with a bit of edge that isn’t faux gangster bullshit either.
The sublime rapping carried the track for the most part, with Zico’s skill providing listeners with a nice reminder of the gap between somebody like him and the generic idol rapper who is able to speak decently fast. And while that was nice, it’s the delivery and the content that helped this truly excel. “Anti” is as the title says, from the perspective of a Zico anti, which required some introspection on his part.
It’s sort of like Zico’s version of Eminem‘s “Stan“, but from somebody who sees themselves not deserving of an artist’s love but deserving of being able to hate on an artist. And rather than just writing another haters suck sweg type of track, Zico turned it around a bit, making the listener see how absurd antis are by doing it from their perspective instead of having himself just yelling to the camera about it like most others.
At the same time, behind every point he makes absurd through the anti’s eyes is a kernel of honesty or concern about the personas celebrities have to put on, the way they’re beholden to fans, and the fleeting subjective nature of fame. While most people understandably picked the lines about fans waiting for them to fail to hold it against them or the media’s crushing weight as their favorites, my preferred line was the one about how positive comments will only come after his prime is done. It touches on a something I noticed over time in K-pop, where people are exponentially less terrible to celebs once they are no longer deemed threats to the top-ranking favorites of others.
Meanwhile, G.Soul‘s hook is a quality signature to all this, with his high-pitched (almost feminine) voice providing a needed musical contrast to the feeling of dread and seriousness to it (not unlike what Dido did for Eminem, but I digress). The haunting and menacing instrumental definitely helps set the atmosphere for “Anti”, but the relative simplicity of it definitely puts the emphasis of the focus on Zico’s performance. That makes sense since it’s ultimately what makes the track a success.