This week marks the long-awaited release from The MOBB, which is the sub-unit of rappers Bobby and Mino (from YG groups iKON and Winner, respectively). But before we get to that collaboration, we’ll be treated to a solo track from each. First up is Bobby, who’s delivered a hype track with a truly obnoxious title. Honestly, when I read “holup,” my eyes instantly glazed over. It certainly didn’t seem to portend musically ambitious or original concepts.
And I’ll be honest, the first time through the track, I was equally unimpressed. Bobby is a tremendous personality, and also very talented. But I’ve always found his particular style more palatable in small doses — as part of a group or collective. HOLUP (꽐라) felt like noise without a purpose, pin-balling from one overloud production trick to another. But while the song was never created to appeal to my taste, it definitely improves upon further listens. I think it’s best to judge HOLUP on a slightly different scale. There’s little melody to be found here, but the track is an absolute explosion of energy. From the beginning, Bobby spits with an unbridled fire, more than holding his own against a raucous instrumental that would bury most artists.
Speaking of the instrumental, there’s actually some interesting stuff going on here. I can’t say I’m a fan of the insistent synth distortion that nags throughout the verses, but I love how the beat occasionally filters out for a more found percussion style. The hook itself is also well-conceived, building energy with a cacophonous whirlwind of sounds rather than deflating it with some tragic minimalist trap drop. Even better are the heavy bass drums that punctuate the second verse, giving the track a sense of grandeur. The entire thing plays like some post-apocalyptic fever dream, catering to Bobby’s strengths as a performer. I wouldn’t want an entire album of this, but the song is far more addictive and interesting than I first gave it credit for.