When E’Dawn left Pentagon and Cube Entertainment, it seemed like a career-killer for both him and his former band. At the time, he was arguably Pentagon’s most well-known member, yet not established enough with the general public to ensure solo success. But soon after, PSY scooped up both him and HyunA as artists under his new P Nation label. Today, both have released their first music since signing with the agency. For HyunA, this is a meaningful comeback and fresh start. For Dawn, it’s a debut.
Though he was a vital part of Pentagon, it was Dawn’swork with sub-unit Triple H that hinted at his true potential. An all-around entertainer, he seemed equally at home delivering an impish croon as he did with more straightforward rapping. In more ways than one, he reminded me of a young G-Dragon. Solo debut “Money” sees him taking the composition reins, co-writing with a team of producers (including agency-head PSY). The result is an odd little song, perched halfway between melodic pop and mopey hip-hop.
This is a smart blend for Dawn, and shows promise. However, I don’t think that “Money” is a knockout. Much of it sounds like a standard YG Entertainment mid-tempo, down to the slurred phrasing and gloomy energy. Its first minute is pretty uninspiring — downtrodden and too close to straight-up trap for my taste. But things improve as the chorus hits. The instrumental is joined by resounding percussion that gives it needed drive. This arrangement sticks around until the finale, which throws in some angsty chanting for good measure. “Money” begins to find its groove here, and it’s a generally satisfying one.
IATFB says: Not an attention-grabbing debut, but definitely a sound and image that just feels right for him. Even if it’s generally not my cup of tea, this does seem like a vibe that other artists have had success with in Korea and Dawn could be the next.