DYNAMIC DUO – 'OFF DUTY'
1. 2040 (Ft. MyunDo)
3. Career High (Ft. Chancellor, nafla & Paloalto)
4. Blue (Ft. Crush & SOLE (Korea))
5. Return (Ft. Thama)
6. Massacre (Ft. Yoo Byungjae)
7. Livin’ the Life (Ft. Verbal Jint)
8. Please Baby Don’t)
9. MSG (Ft. PENOMECO)*
10. GoodFellas (Ft. Swings)
11. Hemi's Room (Ft. Oh Hyuk)
12. Flash/That's It*
Dynamic Duo has just dropped their newest release, a full album stuffed with 12 songs, including the title track "MSG." The album is titled 'OFF DUTY,' and on this one, they clearly weren't. The LP features a bevy of guest stars, from Swings and Verbal Jint to PENOMECO, and more.
"2040" is a trap composition, mostly consisting of them rapping about how cool they are. There's a persistent "20-20-40-40" repetition in the chorus, down pitched to sound super-deep. And the lyrics are clever, with a Game of Thrones reference and even likens listening to other artists for inspiration as "rap airplane mode." Most of all, it's a bop. "Desperado" reminds me a little of the music from those Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns starring Clint Eastwood, and I think that's the point. The song is interesting, talking about staying true to yourself no matter what, occasionally fantasizing about cutting loose and being an outlaw. "Career High" is a chill jam, mostly about growing up and finding out that you're not that different, even if your life is more complex. They have some old school sounds in here, too. Listen to this one, even if it's only to figure out what I'm talking about.
"Blue" is a previously released single from back in August. It's a laid-back groove, a stay up all night kind of song, with copious descriptions of a lazy summer day. Appropriate for an August tune, with all that implies. If I thought "Blue" was laid-back, I hadn't heard "Return." This is more R&B than rap, with Thama doing his best Babyface impression on the chorus. It's a pensive melody, with lyrics to match. It's okay, but not my favorite song on here. Different from 50 Cent's offering of the same name, "Massacre" is played entirely for laughs. The guy keeps trying to record a rap track and is constantly interrupted by his family and even a phone call at the end. Needless to say, he doesn't get very far. I love the growly voice in this one, even it is deliberately exaggerated. The comedy is only natural since this track features funnyman Yoo Byungjae.
"Livin' the Life" should be self-explanatory. The interesting thing about this one is that the intro is an autotuned, heavily-distorted sample of a song by none other than Seo Taiji. For those who don't know, he was the idol in the late 80's-early 90's who the girls were drooling over. Besides all that, it's a fun song. "Please Baby Don’t" is a more playful tune. It's played largely for laughs. They don't get really serious on this LP anyway, but this is more of that. It's a fun melody with a piano backing track. And the chorus is uncharacteristically smooth. And an argument with a girlfriend makes it on here as well. Now, "MSG" has PENOMECO as a guest rapper, who some might remember from his collabs with Drunken Tiger and MFBTY (maybe that's just me). He does a good job, spitting his raps like a machine gun. I love rap like that. The first verse of "GoodFellas" is autotuned, down-pitched. They take up way too much time with the autotune, where we could hear something more authentic. But it goes along with it well, despite my issues. And it was good to hear a new one from Swings. Sung to an acoustic guitar, "Hemi's Room" starts out slow. It's basically slow R&B, and easily the weakest track on here. After hearing non-stop rap, it's a little jarring to hear actual singing, and I'm not a fan of the falsetto, either. It's a previously released track, back from 2018. "Flash/That's It" is another one in that same vein. I'm not averse to singing, but sometimes it just doesn't feel right. They structured the raps to accommodate it, but I still wasn't that much of a fan. I much prefer Choiza's parts to Gaeko. Change my mind.
It took 'em long enough. We've only had singles since 2015, so this album is a welcome change. Jam-packed with songs, and a little something for everyone on here. If this doesn't chart, I'll be surprised. It's not the album of the year or anything, but I treasure any chance I get to hear some Korean hip-hop.
The three principal players in this MV for "MSG," -- namely Gaeko, Choiza, and PENOMECO -- are thugs, drug dealers. All of them have been caught, and all of them are being questioned as to their involvement.
Gaeko is the one who starts it out, pulling a kilo brick of cocaine out of his duffle bag, and getting hit on the back of the head. When he comes to, he's upside down, still rapping (which is semi-comical). And it flashes between what happened then, and him giving his account to the cops.
Choiza is one of the guys who strung Gaeko up, having sampled the product to make sure it's pure. They load more bags into a truck. He's taken to a boat, and a bag's pulled over his head to suffocate him. Then the rapper's unconscious body is thrown into the water. He's also being interrogated by the cops.
PENOMECO (with crazy, messy, blue hair) is in the cab with the driver. They drive away with the product and then see the lights of a cop car behind them. Next thing they know, he's captured by the cops. Of course, he's carrying the duffle bag.
When the detective gets the duffle bag, he sits there quietly in an unmarked car, giving you the idea that he was the boss behind it all.
It's a fun piece, with never a dull moment. It blurs the lines between MV and drama, and those are my favorite kinds of videos, frankly. And while mini-epics like B.A.P's "Skydive" and T-ara's drama version of "Day by Day" may be out of fashion, tighter, more compact MVs like "Troublemaker" and AOA's "Like a Cat" are still awesome. And so is this one.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.3