Despite the title, this EP is far from being a debut: it’s a return, a comeback of one of the most highly anticipated groups of this generation of Hallyu. Despite this EP being so short, it’s sure to leave its mark on this year’s releases. Released on 22nd May 2017, YG presents iKON’s EP “NEW KIDS: Begin”, a heavily hip-hop focused pop EP with an A-side, ‘Bling Bling’, and B-side, ‘B-Day’. Both tracks are perfect for a club setting, with their heavy hip-hop and extensive rap-lines. However, stylistically they are both very different as well. If this EP doesn’t get you moving, then nothing will!
The opening track, ‘Bling Bling’ fits iKON’s style more closely that the B-side. It’s a more hip-hop heavy rap track, with a heavy synth bass and use of lots of electronic sounds to keep the momentum. The track is more focused on solid rap-making than vocals (though there are some great vocal moments!). The constant beat makes this a very easily a solid club track that will make you move to the steady rhythm and beat. The chorus is a great break from this rhythm and gives us something different in the track to hold onto. Overall, it’s a great track and one that totally suits iKON.
‘B-Day’ is a track that I think puts iKON up there with their sunbae group BIG BANG: it has a similar energy, similar feistiness, and similar attitude, yet suits the times and the demographic of late teens-early twenties who are familiar with the current trends in music and club styles. Musically, there is a lot more going on in ‘B-Day’: more vocal lines, more instruments such as a noticeable guitar, drum, and so on (though still a lot of it is electronic drums and synth), but with hip-hop undertones that makes it more accessible to the less hip-hop inclined of us! The chorus is also interesting, but the lack of engaging vocals gives focus to the verses and bridges which is unusual. Overall, this is another great track and slightly different from what we’re used to hearing from iKON.
This is a great comeback from iKON. They’ve updated their sound, style, and sass and found a way to access clubs, which is where they want to be! However, the underlying K-Pop sounds are definitely there, which makes it accessible to newly welcomed Hallyu-stans! Overall, this is a great EP and one that gives us a lot of promise for iKON’s next steps.
Review by Tariq
Release date: May 2017