I always feel guilty reviewing Epik High comebacks. I know that they’re beloved for their artistry, and there are quite a few Epik High tracks and albums that I love as well. But over the past years, their music just hasn’t been for me. At a certain level – and especially when it comes to K-pop – my taste tends to crave big hooks, exciting production and hearty melody. Call me basic if you’d like. It is what it is. As objectively good as Epik High’s subdued hip-hop sound may be, I’d much rather go back to their more commercial-leaning tracks like Don’t Hate Me, Run, or even Born Hater. This is all to say, please take my thoughts with a grain of salt. In fact, always take my thoughts with a grain of salt!
New single Rosario enlists CL and Zico as featured artists, and the song benefits from the textures their vocals bring. But on the whole, I find the track too downbeat, even as the performance opts for a more braggadocios flair. The brass undertones are a nice touch and give Rosario plenty of atmosphere, but the percussion remains too generic throughout. The song never really builds toward any moment that captures my attention.
Rosario’s centerpiece is a CL-led, semi-melodic hook that’s meant to come across as a legend schooling her peers. I’ve never been a fan of this thematic approach. I think a song and artist should show their legendary status rather than simply talk about it. It never feels convincing to me, unless the taunts are tethered to a beat as hearty and exciting as 2014’s Born Hater. Rosario is not that beat, despite its welcome flamenco guitar influence.