Drunken Tiger - YET
Drunken Tiger is a legendary hip-hop group that shouldn't need any introduction. While I may not have been actively listening to the music back when they helped to initially pioneer and shape Korean hip-hop, I have certainly learned about them and listened to their music consistently since I got into the scene. I even got to see them live last year and I can happily say that it was one of the highlights of my life thus far. That being said, I was not expecting a music video to be dropped until next week, so this release was a joyful surprise.
It takes little more than a few seconds for "YET" to validate itself as a Drunken Tiger song, immediately drawing listeners in with a wavering flute that signals the introduction to an amazing journey. There's a lot of experimentation with the rhythm of the instrumentals, with lots of odd cuts and distortions that all culminate into a strangely addictive melody that Tiger JK effortlessly raps over. His voice and flows are as impressive and fixating as ever, and they demand your attention and respect without question.
Yoon Mi-Rae crops up here and again in the song as well, and she's always a welcome addition for extra hype. Speaking of which, this song is a near nonstop train of energy. The only time it slows down is for that anthem-like chorus that has you wanting to scream along, and that's a staple for Tiger JK that you expect by now. All in all, this song is a fantastic lead-up to the final album that he'll be releasing under the name of Drunken Tiger, and I'm so stoked to check that album out and grab a copy for my shelf.
"YET" has a music video that has a few more subtle points being said here than one might actually expect. The scenes of him on the roof with meteors falling from the sky seem to signify the end of the world, which should be clearly read as an allegory for the end of his time performing as Drunken Tiger. The way that he's simply meditating and watching it happen shows that he is content with it ending this way, and that he's come to peace with it. The shots of him rapping in the empty auditorium stand combined with the clips of his past are a representation of him looking back on what's led up to his current status in the industry.
We've got shots of him rapping in front of his DJ's who get little recognition in comparison to him, which was a nice touch for sure. Bizzy makes a short cameo here and there, which wasn't too unexpected, though I didn't catch Yoon Mi-Rae if she snuck in there. There's some other things like the Feel gHood music label name on the wall, the MFBTY album cover, The Cure album cover, and other references littered throughout. Mostly it really seems like a fitting way to look back and close the chapter on this portion of his life, and I certainly appreciated that.
Drunken Tiger is well-respected and highly revered for a reason, and it's on full display here with this track. There's an undeniable atmosphere of undiluted intensity that Tiger JK has a sharp command over and brings to his music, and "YET" doesn't disappoint those expectations one bit. It's a perfect fusion of the classic sound of the Drunken Tiger of the past and a more modern take on the genre. It feels like a really natural progression for their sound and I am so hyped for the album now. If you're a fan of hip-hop, you'd be doing yourself a disservice to miss out on this one.