One of the selling points upon Seventeen’s debut last year was their unique configuration as three separate units (performance, hip-hop and vocal) within their thirteen-member group. Though the vocal unit delivered a fantastic one-off in February, I’m surprised that we haven’t had releases from the other units outside of side tracks on the group’s albums.
But then Pledis goes ahead and surprises us with a mixtape release from the four hip-hop members. That would be leader S.Coups, Vernon, Wonwoo and Mingyu. The quartet bring a lighthearted edge to Seventeen’s group tracks, but for Check-In they take a departure into material that is far less pop-influenced. There is hardly a trace of melody, but the guys’ charm and charisma guarantees that the track still retains plenty of hooks. Over a repetitive, glitchy synth squiggle and trap-influenced beat, the guys unload a seemingly endless list of the cities they’ve visited in what is quickly becoming a case of global domination.
Though the beat is relatively spare, there are some nice production touches throughout. I love how the vocals pile on in the second part of the hook, seemingly coming from all angles as the members’ voices echo over a strikingly atmospheric hodgepodge of sounds. Just before this moment, the beat briefly speeds up, adding some drive to the track. I wish they would have pushed this tempo change even further. It would have countered some of the song’s repetitive nature with a more freewheeling departure. Even so, Check-In is laid-back in the best way, feeling effortlessly cool and just edgy enough to stand on its own from the full group’s sound.