After leaving boy group B.A.P, Bang Yongguk released a few digital singles and produced two tracks for rookie group Just B. His blend of rock and hip-hop is always a welcome addition to the K-pop conversation, so I was happy to hear that new single Race would bring plenty of guitar. And while this may not be the most easily digestible song of his career, there’s something so satisfying about hearing an artist stick to their guns and release music that feels authentically them.
Race’s distorted guitar hits right from the start, unveiling a heavy, emotional backdrop. A trap beat soon joins the mix, bringing a new dimension to the track. These elements don’t always work seamlessly together, but the instrumental is mostly successful. I especially love when Race pauses for heavy hits of percussion, or when the guitar breaks free of its cage and squeals with full-on fury. As far as I’m concerned, you can never bring too much bombast to a song like this.
With this perspective, Race’s pre-chorus is my easy standout. I love the melody here. It’s slurred but catchy, and matches the production perfectly. With such a great set-up, the actual chorus feels more throwaway. Luckily, the blistering instrumental props up the simple hook, bringing a gritty texture that adds emphasis and character. It makes me wonder how awesome Yongguk could sound if paired with J-pop guitarist extraordinaire Miyavi. Their powers combined seem destined to break both markets wide open.