From the first breath, Drunken Tiger’s “Yet.” packs a punch that does not let up for a full three minutes and twenty-six seconds. Joined by Lee Hyun Ki, better known as Loptimist, the song revolves around not only the trials and tribulations of Tiger JK’s early years of the group, but also the later betrayals of those he trusted and the added heartaches of a dying father.
I came to K-pop via the suggestion of someone on my Twitter timeline, as I do so often with all the music I now enjoy. It makes perfect sense, then, that I would come to Drunken Tiger in much the same way. While the in-your-face flow of the song is initially what drew me in, it was the allusion to an obvious story within the music video itself that led me to dig deeper.
The music video begins on a rooftop, one man in a meditation pose, mystically floating and surveying the city spread out before him. As meteors begin to rain down, Tiger JK’s flow kicks in and the scenes begin to shift. From shots of concerts past to a club with the crew, from one lone figure on the rooftop to another in an empty venue, Drunken Tiger spends the first verse speaking of the early days. They are words that draw back to an industry not quite ready for his brand of truth, of facing accusations and harsh words, while always doing his best trying to remain to true to himself, and to the music that ran through his blood.
The rousing chorus brings a nice levity before the song shifts into the second verse where we see mention of betrayal within his own company, of trusts broken. And to add further to heartbreak, a beloved father falling victim to cancer. Drunken Tiger angrily laments, “While the scum that receives lives well, Why is it my father that has to go?”
There are a number of blink-and-you-might-miss-it shots during this verse that adds even more depth to the lyrics. The photo above shows such an example, flashes of childhood overlayed against the shadowed outline of Drunken Tiger as he walks the hallways of the hospital where his father lay dying.
Whether it’s music itself that moves you or the depth that lyrics can bring, “Yet.” offers something for both types of music lovers. Or, more simply, come for the flow and stay for realness.