Song Review: Jessi – What Type Of X

Since its release last summer, Jessi’s Nunu Nana has grown on me immensely. And, I suspect I’m not alone. After all, the song became a huge 2020 hit, and recemented her as the queen of K-pop attitude. It remains to be seen if new single What Type Of X (어떤X) will enjoy the same successful trajectory, but Jessi has outdone herself with an even stronger follow-up.

Rock and hip-hop have always been a match made in heaven, and much of What Type Of X reminds me of Rick Rubin’s production on classics from artists like Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Jay-Z. Something about the charisma and forcefulness of a rapper, combined with the unrelenting power of electric guitar, makes for stunning tracks. What Type Of X is wise to frame itself within this context. Not only does it match Jessi surprisingly well, but it sets the song apart from anything she’s done before.

What Type Of X’s verses bring a jolt of melody to the song, but are always delivered with a hip-hop edge. To my ears, the “I can see it in your eyes” hook interpolates an older (90’s?) song that I can’t quite place. Hopefully someone will be able to recognize it, but either way it makes for a great bookend to tie these verses together.

Like Nunu Nana, the track is built around a drop-style chorus. But, What Type Of X is a grade-A example of how to make this approach work. I’m not yet one hundred percent sold on the spiraling synth loop, but that guitar and percussion make for a thrilling centerpiece. Jessi’s ferocious presence ties it all together, and keeps the track moving in unrelenting fashion. However, the moment that truly vaults What Type Of X above the pack doesn’t arrive until its finale. The song climaxes in a heavy assault of guitar and synth as Jessi’s vocal transitions to a cathartic chant. It’s a knockout flourish that makes What Type Of X one of 2021’s biggest and best surprises.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9


17 thoughts on “Song Review: Jessi – What Type Of X

  1. 123 456 seven
    123 456 seven eight nine
    There it is again

    I have great admiration for Jessi. Charisma and chutzpah in spades. That said, this song is not for me.


      • The past year has seen a lot of this kind of cadence in the raps. Regulars have been noted it whenever it pops up again.

        To be fair this one is a bit of a variation, because instead of starting right on the down beat on the 1, it starts a half beat in (the “and” of the “1 and”), so arguably it isn’t two triplets but three couplets, the lyrics are also more like couplets, but its in effect the same.

        Also this one unlike almost all of the rest carries it through a bit more. The others go Onetwothree Fourfivesix Seven. This one on a few lines goes Onetwothree Fourfivesix Seven Eight Nine. This brings it closer to the rhythm of “America” in West Side Story which is quite famous for its mixed meter. Rita Moreno playing the bad ass with sass older sister started her path to EGOT because of West Side Story and “America”. Jessi is playing a similar role here too, good for her.


  2. Was secretly hoping you’d like this! I love the rock influences and they go so well with her whole attitude and image. Such a big and pleasant surprise. I really love the last chorus when everything comes together, energy going through the roof. Wowza.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I definitely like this better right off the bat, unlike nununana. I think the EDM chorus doesn’t work. It would’ve been cooler with electric guitar as the synth is pretty annoying. I wish the bridge didn’t feel so uncool. Regardless, this is still a pretty good song and I hope it gets a lot of attention


  4. Wow, this is awesome! Unexpected, because Jessi’s music was never really for me (Nunu Nana being no exception – I still don’t like it). I am also a huge fan of rock-infused hip hop. Jessi really owns this track though, her tone is so powerful and the production never manages to upstage her.

    The chorus drop reminds me a little of that one Far East Movement hit ( I don’t dislike it but I agree with commenters above that more guitar would have been better. It’s done better in the last part of the song where the synth takes a backseat to more rock.

    Overall, this is exactly the kind of thing I want to see an established and confident artist do: something different, something impactful, something that really shows what they are capable of.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Jessi is one of those artists whose music I know will never satisfy me but goddamn if I don’t have tremendous amounts of respect for her as a performer. She’s always here to make a statement and I can get behind that. I definitely do like this more than any of her past releases probably thanks to the rock aspects.
    I think Jessi is one of the few artists who can get away with those self-aggrandizing songs without earning an eye roll from me. When she says “I’m a different type of beast” I don’t doubt her-she’s more than proven herself.
    I will add that I really love her raspy voice and I really hope (though I know it’s unlikely) that she does more rock heavy songs in the future cause she really suits that style.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. this song was a pleasant surprise. It’s also nice to hear a p-nation song not entirely rooted in a novelty lol.

    for now,I don’t think I will listen to this regularly. but I will definitely enjoy it on the music show. I’m curious to see how it grows on me, cuz I think it willll : )

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This song really threw me off. The instrumental never lets down a second and extends that energy throughout. I’ve always liked rock infused hip-hop and Jessi’s raspy tone is an added bonus. I’m really enjoying this song.


  8. I really like how this turns out, everything is so fierce and badass especially the production, the breakdown, Jessi’s vocals.

    What I find underwhelming for this song is the lyrics, its a bit so-so, especially Jessi is a great lyricist, she writes close-to-home and heartfelt lyrics like in Star, and makes more substantial raps like in Unpretty. I’m just a bit underwhelmed how her intro and rap in the bridge is so shallow… It ruins the vibe for me, if only Jessi had a badass rap before the final breakdown, it would make the song even greater.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.