After leaving Seven Seasons (home to his group Block B) late last year, Zico has gone on to create his own label, KOZ, for future solo activity as well as recruitment of outside artists. This seems like a good strategy for him, as he’s always had his feet in both the idol and underground hip-hop worlds. After several months of waiting, he’s poised to release his first full-length album under this new agency. Thinking is heralded by a pair of title tracks, the first of which is Daredevil (천둥벌거숭이).
To put things bluntly, Daredevil is not for me. It was never designed with my tastes in mind, but I believe in giving everything a chance. I’ve found Zico’s solo work to be extremely hit or miss, and these kind of trendy hip-hop tracks usually fall in the latter category.
For me, Daredevil’s jazzy, trap-infused production feels more like an irritant than a draw. It’s the kind of head-nodding instrumental that seems designed with swaggy hand motions in mind. It’s low on ambition, recycling many of this era’s rap trends, including some truly obnoxious vocal ad-libs in the background. Zico invites fellow rappers Jvcki Wai and YUMDDA to provide verses on the track. While I’m happy for some tonal diversity (and especially happy to hear a female voice), neither leave much of an impression. All three performers have a loose, throwaway delivery that just doesn’t draw my attention. Daredevil’s chorus largely consists of shouting and posturing, as the instrumental amps up a bit but remains fairly lockstep in structure. Zico has managed to harness a similar vibe to greater success on songs like Artist. In comparison, Daredevil is just too forgettable to make much of a mark.