Mixtapes: If it Ain’t Broke… Let Zico Make it Better

First, I need to apologize to TOP of BigBang. Sorry babe but Zico has now become my favorite rapper.

TOP_macro_1_by_BigBangPictures[1]Recently I’ve been listening to K-Indie and K-Rap more than idol K-Pop. I’ve been listening to artists such as Swings, Drunken Tiger, Verbal Jint, Vodka Rain, and Bye Bye Sea. But the most recent artist I’ve been listening more to is Zico from Block B. Now I’m not talking about his works with Block B, such as Nalina and Nilili Mambo, which are both good respectively ( especially Nilili Mambo cause it was filmed in Vietnam, shout out to my mother land) but I’m talking about his older works, back before he was a K-Pop idol.

Before Zico was a K-Pop idol he was an underground rap artist, much like TOP was back in his day as Tempo. During his underground rap days he developed a “don’t give a rat’s bum” attitude to his rap. Im not saying he didn’t care about his rap but more like he didn’t care about if people thought his rap was “politically correct”.  Well back in 2011, Zico released his series of Mix tapes, also known as “Zico on the Blocks 1.5”. Many of his songs contain sound bits from various media. For example in his song “Who am I” Zico used a sound bit from the movie Scream, “The question isn’t Who am I, It’s Where am I”.

Zico also reshaped songs entirely, such as 4 My Town by Birdman Ft. Lil Wayne and Drake.

You might be saying that Zico is just “copying” other artists and that he has no originality but isn’t all art just imitations of the art that has come before it? Back in the day when Hip Hop was emerging, artists would take already existing songs that they liked, mashed them together and made mix tapes out of them. Many artists do their own renditions of songs all the time. Furthermore many of the newer genres of music take old sound bits and put their own spin on it(Dupstep).

Here are some more songs from Zico that I like:

Battle Royal:

For this song, as I looked at the comments, I saw a lot of comments toward Zico cursing in his song. For me I’m not a fan of swearing, even though I have the mouth of a sailor when I’m not controlling myself, but in a song I believe there are different circumstances. Sometimes an artist needs to swear in their song. Not because its cool or that’s all they can say (BTW Songs where the artist curses every 5 seconds, that’s not even a song anymore, it’s just a hissy fit) but because it conveys the message that the artist wants to convey. For this song, Zico is talking about his life as a trainee in the k-pop industry. In the beginning of the song he drops the F-bomb. In this case his use of a cuss word is fine. It shows how much stress he is going through and like many people out their all we can do when we are going through a hard time is curse under our breath (or to some, out in public) and just keep going.

No Limit:

In this song, Zico used a beat from a song called Rich by a group from Holland called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But what I want to talk about the most is the cover art Zico used for this song. For this song Zico used a picture of a Korean Nationalist named An Jung-geun. Now this man isn’t your average Korean dude. He actually is a highly controversial figure. To Koreans he could be called the man who freed the Korean people from the Japanese, while to the Japanese he could be considered a murderer/assassin. During An’s lifetime, Korea was held under Japanese rule. Ito Hirobumi was the Japanese Resident-General of Korea and committed many wrongs so the Korean people. Some that An listed were : killing the Empress of Korea, forcing 14 unequal treaties onto Korea, obstructing the education of Koreans, Burning Korean texts, and massacring many innocent Koreans. In order to free Korea, An assassinated Ito. Afterwards, An was taken to jail where he was executed for his crimes. Before An was killed he actually received a message from his mother. This message depicts all of what An has accomplished. “Your death is for the sake of your country, and don’t ask for your life cowardly. Your brave death for justice is a final filial regards to your mother.”

Wake Me Up:

I can’t say much about this song. Just that I like it. It’s calming and really nice to listen to when your feeling a bit lonely.

I’m Still Fly:

Zico used the same track from Drake.

Here is a very good compilation of segments of rap pieces that Zico has done.

What makes mix tapes so awesome is their ability to bring people together. Back in the times where there were still hostility between African Americans and White Americans, African American artists would take sound bites from White songs and change them. With music, what matters is the sound, the emotions you feel when you listen to it not who made it or what the color of their skin was. Music allowed for Whites and Blacks to mingle a bit more. Now in Korea, Koreans are trying to connect with audiences around the world. They have begun using English in their songs, quotes from significant figures (ex. MBLAQ’s It’s War used a quote from Malcolm X), and sound bits from other songs. With Zico using American raised sound bits, he is directly linking Korea with American audiences. Allowing them to better relate to the song.

There is so many other things I want to talk about Zico. But for now this will be adequate. I hope you will enjoy his flow too.

-Daramji

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Comments
One Response to “Mixtapes: If it Ain’t Broke… Let Zico Make it Better”
  1. almostannika says:

    i really really like this post! your detail is amazing and very accurate!! 🙂

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