[#38] G-Dragon - "Black" (feat. Jennie Kim of YG New Artist)

From: "쿠데타 COUP D'ETAT"
Released: September
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2009: "Breathe"
Other notable song(s) from 2013: "R.O.D." (feat. Lydia Paek)

If anything, 2013 was the year I learned to appreciate rap more. While in previous years I'd just gloss over rap parts or songs that were rap-focused, this year I took more time out to try and understand them. Which is why "Black" is just one of several rap-centric songs on the countdown. Though I'll admit that half of the reason "Black" made the countdown, like most of the other rap-heavy songs, is because the melodic part is very striking. But then again, if this was 2011 or 2012 I wouldn't see a striking melody as enough to land a song like this on the countdown, and I still don't. What has changed is the fact that I no longer single out the melody as the only part of the song that matters, because it's not.

And while I'm not as qualified to talk about rap, especially Korean rap because I'm not fluent in Korean, I can write about what I hear. And what I hear is a rap part that's a lot less grating than usual GD material (that I've heard), but with angst that gives the pretty boring instrumental -- a piano line playing a few chords over and over on top of a sharp beat -- needed kick. There is rhythm to it, and it's the halfway point between singing and reciting verse, which is what I assume rap is. (correct me if I'm wrong)

But, being a melody person, of course the part of the song that sells it to me is the melody. I prefer the Korean version with Jennie Kim over the Sky Ferreira one because on this song in particular Jennie Kim sounds less whiny and airy, and her timbre is a lot more dependent on her timbre than it is on technique. The richness of the vocals gives the melody, and the flat instrumental, more of the kick it needs. It also helps that it's a gripping melody on it's own, regardless of who's singing -- flat enough to be cohesive with the instrumental, but melodic (and pretty) enough to carry the song.

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