Earlier this year, San E committed the cardinal sin of being in the same room as someone who did something when, if you looked at it from a certain angle and squinted, could potentially be interpreted as something that might resemble an act of disrespect toward a YG artist. This led the loyal army of Mino fans to call for his head, or something to that effect. Little did they realise that he was one of the few things that made "Show Me the Money 4" watchable and actually seemed to be enjoying himself. What annoys me most about people getting pissy about the lineup change in "SMTM4" is that hate could have been far better directed if it had been pointed in the general direction of the album that Mr. E shat out this year: "The Boy Who Cried Wolf," which was unforgivably poor and lazy. That's especially obvious when comparing it to previous album "NOT Based on the True Story," which ticked all the right boxes in that it was good, whilst his new album ticked all the wrong boxes in that it was shit.
|San E and Fred Durst got along famously.|
So anyways after coming to the conclusion that I liked a lot of what San E does but detested the direction his music had taken, the awful thumbnail that you can see but a couple of millimetres above the article greeted me when I logged onto YouTube. I needed to take a few hours to contemplate how someone could knowingly allow another human being to do that to their own hair; it doesn't bear thinking about lest I have an attack of shock or something. As soon as the song starts, everything falls into place: the stupid hair, the dumb contact lenses, the mixture of guitar and rap. San E is a 14-year-old circa 2001. Now, nu metal is hardly unexplored within Korean music as B.A.P brought their own oddly satisfying brand of it with their early work before they got shit and then went back to the nu metal but in a shittier fashion. I guess San E's feels more explicitly focused on rap, and I would be unlikely to draw the comparison were it not for the stupid fucking aesthetic choices that went into this cheap music video, especially when San E has in the past been very fuckable (an opinion which I doubt will be popular. Doesn't matter — more of him for me). That said, he doesn't help his case with randomly thrown lyrics about smoking a hookah and how he "just wants to rape," which are words reminiscent of the preteen who has just discovered 4chan, truly a throwback to the most wonderful time in which to be alive. Expect his next video to be a cover of "Butterfly" with San E decked out entirely in Hot Topic swag.
It's really incredibly easy to make fun of this song at the start because of what is projected by San E at this early stage. I cannot quite fathom just how easy it is to talk shit about almost every aspect of it on paper. Perhaps then, the most annoying thing that San E has done this year is create a song that I really like, when it had all the makings of something I could simply take to the cleaners and wail on it to relieve stress, something that didn't deserve to have any apologists. What San E has given us within the #edgy guitars and horrible design choices is a timely return to form, rapping with a dexterity listeners won't have heard from him since undoubtedly his best song: "Jiyeong's Momma." The lyrics translate horribly, but they may have been horrible when he first delivered them for all I know; I just enjoy the fact that his voice and delivery sounds pretty excellent against the beat, without caring too much about what a "bag man" is or why his rap is "a sorta gum."
|San E showcases his future plans|
I guess what truly matters about San E's parting gift to 2015 is he made a song that sounds distinct from the generic swag song archetype that has very much dominated this year in Korean hip-hop. He is far from the first to use guitars in rap music. He even gave Vasco a hard time for doing a similar thing last year at one point (though he should have chided him because the song was shit, not because it had rock instrumentation). But this might indicate a new sound that he is moving toward on his next project. If this isn't a move to a new sound, then who even cares. He straight up says on this song that he will probably make money regardless of the songs he makes, so he may just see how much he can get away with. Here's hoping that when Death Grips' "Bottomless Pit" drops, San E scores a feature verse.