kourier > [Op-Ed] Like a Boss: B.A.P Debuts as Warriors
It has begun. The next contender for “K-pop Debuts 2012″ has come forth and lit the idol torch. SM’s EXO, Pledis’ NU’EST, Cube’s yet-to-be-named upcoming male group, TS Entertainment’s B.A.P - these are some of the names that were thrown into the pool of an already saturated idol sphere. First up for the Year of the Dragon, we have the boys that call themselves Best. Absolute. Perfect.
Let’s be honest – who laughed when this 6-membered group decided to name themselves after the Korean word for rice? And who, subsequently, rolled their eyes when they found out what that abbreviation meant? Oh, it was just me then. Fair enough. Nevertheless, I got past that; if I was going to write off a K-pop group just because I found their name ridiculous, I would be left with no one else to stan. Sure, B.A.P dubbing themselves the best and absolute perfect was basically setting the group up for a whole lot of disappointment and with tons to live up to. But, luckily for them, nobody really pays attention to group names in K-pop. Do people check if MBLAQ are really Music Boys who Live in Absolute Quality? Of course not.
It was safe to say that I was expecting the group to go down this manly, rough-around-the-edges route – you just can’t put Bang Yong Guk and his deep voice in something cutesy – oh wait, he already did that with Zelo for Never Give Up. But this time around, TS Entertainment knew better than to play the guessing game with teasers, so they just went out and delivered the goods (hint SM, hint). Admittedly, some elements of the MV – dark alley, smashing of cars, blowing up of random objects, gunshot sounds – came across as all too familiar. But Warrior took those MV basics and brought it up a couple of notches by focusing on the members’ raw talents. There was krumping, stomping, b-boying, military-styled claps and beats – the boys laid it all out on the dirt-filled ground they were trampling on. Everything they did was so in-your-face and hardcore, you could feel the testosterone coming at you in high definition.
Needless to say, a lot of male idols have attempted the beastly concept before – the original beast-dols 2PM raged through Heartbeat, DBSK was fierce with KYHD and most recently, MBLAQ strongly proclaimed It’s War – but with Bang Yong Guk leading his pack, there was a touch of street cred that made what B.A.P did with Warrior, very believable. The rest of the members followed suit and the song’s ferocity could be felt through the strong vocals of Dae Hyun and Young Jae, the very impressive dance break and lyrics that spoke of a new revolution, as opposed to the overused heartbreak card. And the best surprise came in the form of little Zelo, with his blonde curls and baby face, spewing a speedy rap followed by a deep inhale from being out of breath. Nicely done, maknae.
The only worry I had at the beginning was that the song might come across as too animalistic for mainstream K-pop and not catchy enough to warrant replays, but after hearing digidigidum digidigidum a couple of times, I think sing-alongs would not be a major problem. More importantly, this song could easily be the signature sound that sets B.A.P apart from the flower boys of K-pop, the cookie-cutter rookies and the hip-hop idols who weren’t gutsy enough to go hard, all the way through. However, while the group managed to establish their concept well in the MV, the members didn’t quite do that for themselves. Each of them showcased their individual skills, but they were probably better off wearing name tags because fans didn’t know one badass blondie from the other.
Personally, I felt that was a small price to pay for the solidarity that B.A.P managed to portray when they dyed everyone’s hair the same colour. Because that meant placing the focus on the style of music they wanted to be known for, rather than pimping out their cutest member from the get-go. In the rookie world, B.A.P has made a solid start and proven that they have enough masculine roar to possibly become the best male group to debut this year. There, I said it. It’s possible to argue that it’s only the start of 2012, and EXO or whoever else isn’t out yet to challenge that title, but I’ll just say this – B.A.P’s debut could’ve put some comebacks of more seasoned groups to shame. And if B.A.P are warriors and this is war, they’re probably saying – bring on the next contender.