Title: You’re the Answer to a Guy Like Me (나란 놈은 답은 너다)
Release Year: 2011
[2011.09.29 UPDATE: Translated lyrics are now posted HERE.]
After a few years’ hiatus, the kings of Korean hip-hop have come roaring back with their seventh full album, entitled “AsuRA BalBalTA”. Although this song isn’t the title track – that honor belongs to “Turned Off the TV…” (티비를 껐다…) – it is a powerful song in its own right, deserving of a review.
Leessang is a two-member hip-hop duo that is comprised of Gil (vocalist) and Gary (rapper). Although these two constitute the core of Leessang, most of their songs often feature a guest, and one of their regular contributors – Jung In – is colloquially known as the “Third Member of Leessang” because of her sheer ubiquity in Leessang’s songs.
For this track, they partnered up with Hareem, a wonderful and talented artist in his own right.
“You’re the Answer to a Guy Like Me” starts off with a simple piano melody and then crescendos into a mini-orchestra. Gil’s voice – which starts out the song – is rough, slightly guttural yet polished and refined – the end result of a decade of being in the music industry. Both Gil and Gary were part of a project group back in the 1990’s, called “Honey Family”, before the duo broke off to pursue their own interests as Leessang.
Gil’s voice is soon taken over by Gary, and there’s no other word to describe Gary’s rapping other than suave.
It’s a direct contrast to many of the so-called “rappers” that are de rigour in today’s idol groups, who all seem to suffer heavily from the “Angry Douche-Rapper Syndrome”, whose symptoms include spitting out the lyrics as if you had a layer of distasteful cotton stuck to the roof of your mouth, and scrunching up your face every time you make eye contact with the audience.
I could go on about how many rappers suffer from the “Angry Douche-Rapper Syndrome” but I’ll leave it there for now. What’s important is that Gary suffers from none of the effects of this so-called “Angry Douche-Rapper Syndrome”. On the other hand, he takes rapping into a never-before-seen territory – namely, “calm” rapping. It’s a refreshing change from the usual “RAWR I’M A RAPPER AND I’M MAD SO I’M GOING TO HURL LYRICS AT THE AUDIENCE WHILE MAKING FACES” that seems to be the norm these days, and it matches Gil’s vocals down to a T. This is a real duo, a real example of 1 + 1 > 2. Not all raps need be powerful to get the message across.
Leessang has hit another one out of the park with “AsuRA BalBalTa” – it’s quite the directional change from what the music industry looks like today, and they should be feeling quite proud for managing to place every single one of their tracks on the Top 10 list on the Korean charts – for two days straight.
“You’re the Answer to a Guy Like Me” earns 5 out of 5 stars for its unsurpassed level of quality, amazing levels of effort from both Gil and Gary, and for being a cool breeze of fresh air.