Not trying to turn this into a CL fan blog or anything, but shoot, her verse on the new will.i.am album just leaked and proves 1) 2NE1 is holding CL back from really going ham on a track, 2) that she can more than hold her own in English, as shown for the second time this week, and 3) that we need that CL solo album, the 2NE1 US album, and (while we’re at it) a full-blown Korean comeback like right the hell now.
(Rest of the song’s about as dumb as you’d expect, and not even a Bom chorus could manage to clean it up. Skip to 1:30 though for the good bit)
Lee Hi x CL / Rose (Live @ Inkigayo)
In even more exciting 2NE1-related happenings, CL stopped by last night’s Inki to duet with Lee Hi on “Rose”. She dropped some brand new bars during the song’s middle 8, and perhaps most momentously, they were all in English. I’m sure a more hardcore fan than myself could probably tell me, but I believe that’s a first?
There were some pretty clever lines in there (“Heartbreak hotel / Floor number / Twenty one”), and with news that CL has a solo project in the works for later this year, it’s about time we start hearing what she can do outside 2NE1.
2NE1 / Can’t Nobody (Live @ PSY Happening)
As if PSY’s concert wasn’t already the biggest event of the week, 2NE1 was there and performed during one of the intermissions (label-mate G-Dragon during the other). Most exciting however was the announcement by CL that 2NE1 is releasing a new single coming… wait for it… “soon”. Which in YG time could be next week or next year, but probably the latter.
Still, I’m more optimistic this time, and if their performance of “Can’t Nobody” was any indication, I have good reason to be. They haven’t looked this on in ages. They weren’t just confident, they were arrogant - and it worked. CL and Minzy doing hairflips and backflips was one thing, but when CL dropped the mic it felt like the whole place was live wired. 2NE1 is clearly ready again. The question is if everyone else is.
PSY / Gentleman
Oh yeah oh yeah, the Gentleman MV is stupendous. I actually laughed out loud several times, much moreso than Gangnam Style. PSY makes his comeback by doing… exactly what everyone thought he would do, and you know what, it works. I’m still out on what I think about the song, but the MV is well-produced, clearly thought-out, unapologetic pop. And not just pop for critics or forum-goers (of which I include myself), but pop for everyone, coming from the same guy who got the whole city out on the streets dancing. Ga-in is brilliant in it and the resurrection of the hip-swing dance surprisingly really worked. All just in time for Billboard’s chart change which counts Youtube views as part of the formula.
PSY kicked off his big comeback with a concert at Seoul’s World Cup Stadium on Friday night, which for me was the most impressive part of it all. Say what you want about this man, but he is a world-class performer who holds the audience in the palm of his hand. Even if he never has another hit anywhere (unlikely, besides the fact that he’s already been around in Korea for over a decade) he’ll make millions just touring.
Some lovely person has kindly uploaded the full thing (though I’m not sure how long it will stay up) and I highly recommend checking it out. He’s multi-talented and will surprise you.
J. Cole x Miguel / Power Trip
I’ve been waiting a long time for J. Cole to make a single as good as this. Granted, some of his past ones - Work Out, Nobody’s Perfect, that one with Rihanna in the video - grew along the way, helped by a radio culture that still plays “Work Out” like it just came out yesterday (it was released in 2011). But this is really good. It features Miguel returning the favor now that he’s blown up, and the production is some of the bleakest radio rap I’ve heard in a day and age when every Drake single sounds like 4am and too much alcohol (the flute sample helps a lot, too.)
I don’t remember what Cole says exactly, and his flow is still as lethargic as ever (I find I hardly pay attention to lyrics in rap songs - it’s all about the flow for me), but the delivery is believably sad sounding and pensive enough to be the background music of evening smoke sessions. It’s one for the summer playlist, for sure.