BewhY has always been an interesting rapper in my eyes. He came across my radar after his “Show Me The Money” win. His skillful rapping and deep lyrics had different labels trying to sign him. Despite having the means to jump ship, BewhY stayed with his company, Lumin Entertainment and continues to pursue his career his way.
It’s been nearly two years since his last LP, “The Blind Star,” hit the shelves. We haven’t heard much from him during that time, other than occasionally featuring on drama OSTs and a few singles. His fans have been waiting to see the next move from the artist.
His new album, “The Movie Star,” released July 25. On “The Blind Star,” other producers helped with composing and producing. This time, he’s doing both alone. The two lead singles are a glimpse into how well he handles all of this along with his growth as an artist.
“Challan” is the first single and a powerful return for the artist. BewhY starts the track interestingly. Typically, when big artists make a comeback, they start off in a big, bombastic way, listing off accolades, bragging or a call to action. Think Dumbfoundead‘s “Hyung” or Hyuna‘s “Red.” BewhY, however, openly rejects doing that, choosing instead to list his musical influences and what sets him apart in the hip-hop scene.
The rest of the song sounds almost like a State of the Union. He describes the dire condition of rap and calls out rappers who choose to appropriate black culture instead of drawing from their own background and culture. As BewhY was the winner of “Show Me The Money” season 4, he has had to literally compete against rappers who embody this. I’m not going to name names, but as a black woman, I’ve seen artists do this. It’s rarely, if ever, a good look.
The song production is stellar as well. The song begins strong, with a powerful bass line and metronome-esque drums. The further the song goes along and as the subject changes, so does the beat, shifting into a darker and more urgent feel.
He’s worked together these almost futuristic dark synths with more classical instruments, like strings and horns, and a booming bass line. It’s remarkably balanced, and it doesn’t sounds like anything on the radio, both in the States and in Korea.
For the album’s second single, “GOTTADASAE,” the video opens with an orchestra warming up and a scripture superimposed on the screen. While BewhY has been open about his faith in his music, this feels less affirmation of that and like he’s issuing a challenge to his rivals. The grand choir chanting behind his snare-like rapping and the proclamations of greatness give the song a defiant and triumphant air.
In the video, he and the dancers are in horse stables. The imagery stems from how the Korean words for “horse” and “word” sound the same. Even though he’s often in the same quarters as the other dancers, we can only see his face and he’s not wearing blinders. Racehorses often wear blinders so that they don’t get scared or distracted during races.
BewhY, however, doesn’t need blinders as he has locked onto his goals. He can focus past petty and noisy things that may trip up his contemporaries, such as money or egotism. His clothes further set him apart. While he and the dancers move in similar ways, he is the only one fully dressed. He is the only one truly ready.
Lyrically, what sticks out to me is it’s in future tense. It’s not “I am a legend. I am a pioneer.” It’s “I WILL be a legend.” As the listener, it’s uncertain if he sees this as his destiny or if he is speaking it into existence, but he is clearly thinking of his place in history. He sees this future in 20/20 vision, and he’s letting us know about it, both the fans and the unbelievers.
“GOTTASADAE” is a short song, but it has the distinct feeling of him claiming his rights to the hip-hop throne. While I can’t say if he’s won it, these two songs are certainly a great testimony of his skills.
“The Movie Star” is out on all streaming services.