Bigbang’s G-Dragon has some serious guts. The K-pop phenom’s return to the solo stage comes during a tumultuous period for the Korean boy band.
Those who follow the South Korean music scene know that there has never been a more scandalous fall-from-grace as fellow band mate T.O.P.’s marijuana use and drug overdose episode. Bear in mind this is the same industry that vilified a girl group member for using a Japanese flag emoji.
But what does G-Dragon do amid all this chaos? He goes on with his scheduled solo comeback like a boss.
It’s a gamble that definitely paid off. The eponymous Kwon Ji Yong is G-Dragon’s first solo agenda in four years, and it’s also his most personal yet.
Lead single Untitled, 2014 sees the 28-year-old mournfully reminiscing, as he sings – instead of his usual rapping – about an old romance. It’s a no-frills piano ballad with evocative melodies.
The rest of the record follows this vulnerable disposition, albeit with a bit more of that signature flashy flair. Colourful intro Middle Fingers-Up has the music maestro at his playful best, omitting his usual brash persona for a head-on fun number.
Just as one thinks that all grit has been abandoned, G-Dragon immediately follows up with the profanity-filled Bullsh*t, which brings together unexpected rhythmic swerves and an electrifying chorus. Originally slated to be the lead single, the high-octane hip hop track throbs with plenty of swag.
The following Super Star pales in comparison to the other bold experiments on display. Despite its flavour-of-the-moment tropical sound, the bouncy number stretches too thin on new ideas.
Outro Divina Conmedia provides a deft save as G-Dragon packs sharp attitude-ridden rapping into the unlikely R&B-infused banger. It’s a great end to a record made of emotional catharsis.
Kwon Ji Yong