As a fan of unbridled pop melodies, I don’t usually listen to all that much straight-up hip hop. For a song of this genre to really stick with me, it needs to have two qualities. First, the track has to possess a strong, memorable hook. But even more important than that, the song needs an addictive beat. Hanhae’s I Used To excels at the latter.
The song’s hook is just fine. It’s the kind of laidback, easy refrain that doesn’t feel overthought or over-complicated. This blends well with the beat, which is actually more complex and interesting than it first lets on. Triplets of bass intersect with the main rhythm, ascending or descending as the track demands. This gives the production an off-kilter feel that keeps you on your toes and counteracts any of the song’s more conventional notes. It’s a bass heavy track, but not in a typical, linear fashion. There’s some push and pull in I Used To‘s underbelly.
Hanhae is part of vastly underrated hip-hop trio Phantom, and he carries some of that group’s pop cues into a track that didn’t necessarily call for it. This gives I Used To great crossover appeal. Even his rapping style feels somewhat melodic and heavy on the hooks. It reminds me of Gray’s Just Do It from around this time last year, though its hook isn’t quite as addictive.