Sunday, October 19, 2014

[MV Review] Epik High - Born Hater

Epik High have finally made a comeback!! CELEBRATE!!

Buuuuut, since they're still under the YGE label, many people were very skeptical about how good this upcoming Shoebox album was going to be. After all, a lot of people were not happy with their YGE debut album, calling them YG-ified/shit and anything in between. From this preliminary offering, it seems like Epik High have struck a comfortable balance between their roots and their new company.

WARNING: Excessive amounts of GIFs ahead. Sorry m8s.

First of all, the biggest thing that popped into my head was the goddamn aspect ratio. If you've ever filmed or watched anything using a cellphone camera before, you know how shitty the vertical viewing angle makes everything. (Just think of how much better those fancams would be if they were just turned horizontally!!) At first glance, it really irritated me. But after going through the whole MV, I realized it was a rather creative framing device for the action of the video. As you may have gathered, this isn't exactly your standard MV. It IS a rap song, so the standard tropes don't really apply.

Welcome to KPop's first ever (I don't care if it's actually not) dance rap-in-a-box bathroom MV. From what I can gather (and many illuminati kpop fans seem to agree, or I wouldn't have stolen refined this theory), the 7 rappers that feature in this MV are representations of the 7 deadly sins.

Tablo doesn't give a shit about the old greats, he thinks he's better than them.
"Dali Van Picasso / I'm Velazquez, Millet, El Fuckin' Greco /
You got the feel of a VJ? Shit, you’re all cheap versions of Blo, my imitators"
All Beenzino does is fish, hangout with with his bitches, and collect nice
kicks. Sounds like a great life to me, but that's pretty slothful by definition. l0l
Pretty straightforward. Verbal Jint tempts poor little BI with porn mags and turns him into
a deviant pervert. Here's how that exchange went down:

BI: Hyung, I told you I'm a boob man. I love the titties.
VJ: *passes mag* Oh?
BI: T-that ass tho... IS THAT REAL??
Mino, one of the new YG babies debuting soon, is wrath cause he smashes shit up.
IDK man.
Bobby, another one of the new YG babies, makes it rain in a bathroom and doesn't
give a shit. He's also surrounded by a bunch of bling and a championship belt.
Tukutz is envy because he doesn't get to do anything but drop the (admittedly awesome) beat.
No bitches, no fun toys, no nothin'. :/
So where does that leave BI, the last little member of our motley crew? He's the blank slate. He's wearing ALL WHITE in a not-so-subtle visual metaphor for an innocent boy that gets corrupted bullied by sin. YG IS A BUNCH OF ILJINS, PROOF:
"Don't touch my shit, you little bitch."
"Since you're working so hard to sweep up my mess, you can have some of the money
that I just used to wipe my ass." 
"Put some FUCKING elbow into it or I'll shove this up your ass."
"OI, don't touch the shoes, you clumsy fuck."
Like I mentioned earlier, the vertical aspect ratio is a deliberate framing method for the MV that focuses the viewer's eye on the little bathroom and centralizes the action. It's a clever take on a music video, but I wouldn't want to see more of this kind of thing in the future. At least it's easier to watch on a cell phone while you're taking a shit or something. heh.

It IS rated 19+, but for the most part is fairly tame from what you'd expect. The rating probably comes from all the swearing the rappers do (in both English and Korean!), Verbal's porn magazines, and all the middle fingers in this MV. Seriously, there's a couple of good ones to add to your KPop reaction folder or whatever it is that kids call it these days.

B-beenzino-oppa... *~*
Not a middle finger, ok, but still a fokin' cheeky cunt m8.
The song itself is FANTASTIC. I love the beat, it's deliciously old school with a bass line that makes you bang your head in awe. God bless Tukutz.

The rappers all do a great job with their verses. My favorite were Beenzino's and Verbal's. Beenzino drops sick burns all over the place like "I’m sorry but even your ex is my fan" or my favorite bars:
"I don’t need your feedback, honestly /
Why do you and I have to talk about music? /
The only thing you did to me is judge me with a click of your mouse /
Man, fuck you, no fuck your ID, no fuck your IP / Man, I’m sick of you geeks" 
LIKE O SHIT MAYNE. Is that not a verbal nuclear strike upon netizens or what??

Verbal Jint proceeds to drag his haters up and down the mud with a systematic listing of the types of haters (spoiler--> Type 1: those whose careers he ended and the close people he knew in this industry, Type 2: unsuccessful scrubs who vent their anger and frustration on him, Everyone else: mosquitoes) and reasons why they suck.

But that isn't to say everyone else was bad. There's a ton of verbal wordplay in everyone's verses, and a lot of cool stuff being said. 

Tablo for instance gives a shout out to TaJinYo 
TaJinYo, you’re cute, I’m trying to love ya
Mino talks about his terrible early career
"Left Block B, debuted as a ballad group, fucked up" 
Bobby makes some nice social criticism: 
In the olden times, experience gave you a high position and seniority was everything (what)
If time is the fund, hurry and declare bankruptcy boy
And even BI who sing-talks his way through most of the song (more on that in a bit) has some choice words to say:
Yo, watch me on your TV to see how far I go, stupid
Yo, whatever I do, wherever I am, I’m better than you all sitting still, stupid
On the stage are machine-like kids who all look the same, trying so hard, let me just say one thing, that’s no no
Haters who hate even when I donate, let me just say one thing, that’s no no
DAMN. Say what you will about YG and their authenticity (or lack thereof), but I think the YG kids more than held their own with the OGs. I will have to say that BI's sing-talky hooks were kinda unnecessary to the overall structure of the song. It was working quite well as a cypher of sorts, so why not just expand his rap at the end to a proper verse?

Overall, it was a great song that I've been replaying over and over again. If you hadn't heard, YG apparently banned Epik High from using YG facilities during the making of this album (sorry for Allkpop link, can't find the interview anywhere else :/). Apparently even YG heard all the shit talking the 99 album got, so he told Epik High to get the fuck out so no one can blame him for them (potentially) fucking it up. At any rate, it seemed to have worked like a charm so far, even if the YG featurings still followed them to their secret underground recording bunker. I'm eagerly anticipating the release of the Shoebox album now.

TL;DR: Great beat, great raps, great song.


  • the beat
  • everyone's verses were great
  • special shout-out to Beenzino-oppa cause he so fly *~*
  • Verbal Jint's porn mags
  • uncensored cause 19+

  • why BI gotta sing-talk hooks for
I give this song a 4.5 out of 5. JJANGBAK

PS: Does anyone know who this cutie is?



  1. Replies
    1. I thought it was omittable like Mithra v. Mithra Jin. :/ Fixed

    2. IIRC Verbal is a completely different guy, from Japanese group M-Flo.

  2. That girl is Somin from Baby Kara/Puretty

    1. God bless. Does this mean she got swooped up by YG from the wreckage of DSP?

    2. There's no article saying she switched but I'm thinking she did because why would a DSP trainee be in a YG mv? It just makes no sense. Hopefully she did switch and will be debuting in the new YG girl group.

    3. If she is, then YG's girl group just got that much more hype for me. *~* Maybe this indicates that there's hope yet for this girl group in terms of looks at least. Gotta go check her out on Kara Project now... (PS: #freeMinzy)

    4. Yeah, Not only is she cute but she doesn't sing half bad either.

    5. Actually no she didnt switch. Cause the choreographer from baby kara was in this music video too. (As what i heard from twitter) also, somin updated her baby kara cafe a few days ago. Shes still in dsp. Thank god.

    6. I was about to say she looks like Hara with a rounder face.
      It's pretty much what I thought about Somin when I first saw her. haha

  3. That shit was pretty tight. I especially dig the aesthetic and the whole direction, I mean has anyone else done an MV in this cellphone style before? That's dope as hell, that juxtaposition between a contemporary schtick and the old school sound.

    They should have put Seungri in there though instead of these nugus, him and VJ would have been real friendly.

  4. I actually really liked this song, except that one rapper that was putting on a growly voice (that annoyed me)

  5. "so why not just expand his rap at the end to a proper verse?"

    Cuz he's wack, kekekekekekek. Seriously, his singing and "rapping" ruins the song for me.
    I was impressed with Bobby's verse.

  6. Glad you linked the video, because I can't watch it on YT because of age restrictions. It's so stupid I'M SEVEN FUCKING TEEN I CAN SEE R RATED MOVIES WITH WAY MORE THAN A LITTLE CURSING AND CENSORED PORN IN THEM! I really liked this song, reminds me a lot of 80's stuff.


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