December marches on with an uncharacteristically steady stream of big comebacks. As we move closer to the new year, Mamamoo’s Moonbyul is gearing up for the release of her new album. Its first tease comes courtesy of pre-release G999, featuring hip-hop artist Mirani. I’ve found Mamamoo solos to be pretty hit or miss, including much of Moonbyul’s work. But from G999‘s very first stab of new jack swing percussion, I knew it would be a winner.
I’d somehow avoided all teasers for this track, so its choice of genre was a pleasant surprise. Moonbyul nails a specific flavor of early-90’s Korean new jack swing-fueled hip-hop. If her aim was to recreate the sounds of popular artists like Deux and Hyun Jinyoung, she has more than succeeded. From G999’s lively beat to its laidback melody, the track is lovingly constructed to evoke instant nostalgia – even among those of us who never grew up in Korea.
Moonbyul and Mirani make a terrific match. It’s refreshing to hear (and see) them simply groove to the feel-good rhythm, free from so many constraints often put on idol groups. Their performance is natural and joyful, and that goes a long way toward selling the song. As you might expect, I’d opt for a sharper melody. There are times when it feels like G999 is spinning its wheels rather than going straight for the jugular. But, that tends to be a hallmark of new jack swing, where beat reigns supreme and vocal hooks are just the icing on top. If this is the direction Moonbyul is going for her solo work, count me in!