I have a sort of aversion to critiquing artists like HyunA, because I do not want my opinions to be taken as “hating,” “censoring women,” “slut shaming,” or anything else along those lines. As a result, over the years, as HyunA has pushed further and further passed, let’s call them society’s, boundaries, I have maintained a tight lip. That is until now. HyunA’s latest music video, “잘나가서 그래 (Because I’m The Best)” (a.k.a “Roll Deep”), has, as usual, stirred up fans and netizens alike for it’s…less than family friendly content.
I don’t have any real problems with this video OR it’s sexual nature, but, I do have HUGE problems with the quality. A+, her latest album, is for the most part actually very good. “얼음 땡 (Ice Ice)” is a great continuation of the girl power, rap collabo “Blacklist,” and “내 집에서 나가 (Get Out Of My House)” took her a bit off mainstream to remind her long time fans that the all around talent we remember from her early 4minute (and even Wonder Girls) days is still there.
This is actually where my issue with “잘나가서 그래 (Because I’m The Best)” lies. Because she had such great songs to choose from, and the opportunity to show that she has some versatility, tey still chose to go with the lackluster lead single that she did, shows that HyunA, who admittedly considers herself more a performer than a rapper, is now looking more to shock than to wow, which, as a fan, is disheartening.
In an interview The Korean Herald, HyunA claims she is worried about being repetitive with her sexy concepts but still insists on sticking to sexy because not only would she be terrible at the cute and innocent bit, but she has already come too far with the sexy concept and anything else wouldn’t be believable:
“I do worry that my concepts might be repetitive…I think about that every time a new album comes out… [about an innocent concept] I’m so bad at it…It’s so awkward. I don’t think I’ll do well if I target that concept. And I don’t do anything that I’m not confident about….If I hadn’t shot that trailer, and I hadn’t done something like ‘Red,’ maybe I could give it a try…But I’ve come too far. This image wasn’t created overnight. It was built up, and upgraded. I can’t change it all now.”
I for one would not want to see HyunA try to parade herself in one of those awful all white, cutesy, cliché music videos, but I also don’t want to see her releasing the same sounding, same looking music videos all in the name of sex. There are ways of being sexy besides showing as much skin as possible while performing the sexually suggestive dance moves. Though few and far between, Kpop has managed to pull this off.
All that being said, I still wouldn’t say HyunA is a one trick pony, the quality of the rest of this album proves that. However, I’d argue that if she keeps putting out this super sexual, poor quality songs, she’ll soon earn herself the label.