Review

Song Review: NCT 127 – 2 Baddies

NCT 127 - 2 BaddiesAbout a year ago, NCT 127 dusted off their screechy flute for the polarizing Sticker. I’m still not a huge fan of that song, but I admire its chutzpah. For me, the most concerning thing about the NCT project is how predictable their music has become. More than almost any male SM group, their title tracks have settled into a sound-alike groove that seems to recycle the same energy over and over again. Many of their peers have adopted this same style. It’s like the “ITZY effect” for boy groups. When everyone’s aping your sound, even the original version starts to lose its bite.

New single 2 Baddies (질주) is certainly a modern NCT title track. If you’ve liked their past few singles, you’ll probably enjoy this song too. It’s got a fun, rubbery beat and the performance explodes with energy. Once again, NCT’s rappers are given the greatest spotlight and they drive 2 Baddies forward with plenty of character. Had the song been anchored by a chorus that didn’t feel like a dentist drill to the skull, we might have a weird little highlight on our hands. Unfortunately, “2 baddies, 1 Porsche” lumbers in like a drunk uncle and dominates the entire track.

I just… can’t with this. I don’t think I’m the target audience, but even on a technical level the sound of NCT shouting in a monotonous tone doesn’t make for a pleasant listen. It’s an obnoxious little earworm, wasting the potential of 2 Baddies’ cool production with a bare-bones catchphrase. Hip-hop hype songs can be so fun, but they need to have levels. You can’t just shout and bluster all the way through. The noisiness loses its potency and becomes dull.

Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve been excited for NCT-related material. I fear 2 Baddies sets them back even further in my mind.

Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.75

70 thoughts on “Song Review: NCT 127 – 2 Baddies

  1. And this is why we can’t have nice things! Everyone complaining so much about Sticker, and then we get this. I mean, the songwriters stuck dull ass rap triplets in the verses with no imagination whatsever. (onetwothree four onetwothree four). Pfft, two “baddies” and a Porsche as if they or their Porsche would survive five minutes in the south Bronx.

    Bring back the Sticker! Stickaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

    Liked by 10 people

    • LMAO. I always think about that when I see kpop boy groups huff and puff. That what makes it hard to be down with them. I doubt they can relate to my experience from the place that birthed hip hop

      Liked by 5 people

  2. My rating rn might stand around 6+ to 7- (which in your style of rating is about 8 to 8.25).

    The beat is really nicely compressed so it gives just enough kick without being overbearing. The constant sawbass that runs its little melody is super staticky and actually sounds bouncy as fuck.
    The lines translated honestly pretty witty (for kpop standards that is) and pass they by nicely if we’re talking about rhythm. However I will say the mixing in the chorus is painful at points but I think it could be much worse.

    Overall it might be one of my favorite title tracks they’ve done

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Like this song, the whole NCT project is a mess. What is even happening with WayV? Are Mark and Haechan just gonna keep getting overworked with 127 and Dream’s activities happening back to back, until one of the groups goes inactive? And don’t even get me started on NCT Hollywood.

    The members (especially vocalists!!) are incredibly talented and it sucks seeing them waste their potential. SM made a mistake here; NCT was unsustainable from the beginning.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Some of the WayV members teased that they’ve been recording songs for their upcoming album! So I think it’s safe to say the guys are coming back soon

      Liked by 3 people

    • Judging from a marketing perspective, actually we should say SM is completely right: (less than) minimum effort, (more than) maximum result. If millions of people keep on buying the same bundle of “skrrr skrrr / choo choo” over and over again, why would SM stop?

      The only different album they delivered, Superhuman, was by far their absolutely best act but it was a complete flop as well. So, once more, why would SM change again?

      I guess in this case we should silently admit that the main issue with NCT is not their artistic production but their sales.

      Liked by 7 people

  4. I love 127’s music so this is very much my shit. I love how fun it is, how campy it sounds, how goddamn catchy “2 baddies 2 baddies 1 Porsche” is. I’d even argue this is their most easy-listening title track since Kick It. Maybe my only complaint is the vocal line isn’t given much to do.

    Knew from listening to it that Nick won’t like it; it’s definitely not his style anyway but I appreciate the write-up. I think you’ll enjoy the b-sides when the album comes out tomorrow, seems like the classic 127 R&B jams and feel-good songs are there.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I feel like this is going to be one of those songs that all the YouTube reactors cream themselves over because of the sheer amount of posturing and Willy waving but I’m really disappointed with this song. I reckon it might work it’s way into my head over the next few days but not quite a classic.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. it gave me Cherry Bomb 2.0, and judging by SM’s track record (Hot Sauce – Hello Future, Glitch Mode – Beatbox) let’s hope the repackage track is better

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  7. i actually really like this one?? maybe its because i know 127 can sell anything but genuinely enjoyed it this time around. i think its also cuz i got used to the 2baddie 2 baddies 1 porsche hook and now its just stuck in my head…8.25 or 8.5 for me 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I really like how intense everything is and how they don’t hold back in any aspect. The only thing keeping me from actually enjoying it is just how douchey the entire presentation is. The mindless attempts to appeal to western tastes by being shallow and materialistic feels tasteless. I do not for a single second believe that any of these guys or the people who wrote this song have ever used the word baddie unironically in their lives. None of the ideas in this song or the music video feel original, and it’s just a hollow attempt at looking cool that only makes them look super goofy.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. “2 Baddies, 1 Porsche” sounds/looks like the title of a certain notorious video on the Internet… Sorry…

    The song… I don’t hate that much, but I do agree that we are getting diminishing returns on these shout-a-thon choruses. I have little reason to listen to this over “Kick It” or “Cherry Bomb”. There’s a good song in here somewhere, but it’s filler overall and inessential to this project. Mid-to-high 7s, I guess.

    Also, are we getting a Nirvana Girl review?

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I……don’t know if I like this or not. The chorus gives me a splitting headache but I’m repeating it all the time in my head. Also, wth is “2 baddies and baddies 1 Porsche” supposed to mean lol. I might come back to this just for a laugh or something, but don’t see it growing on me like Cherry Bomb or Sticker.

    Speaking of Sticker, my 2021 top 10 has heavily changed (GHOST9’s W.ALL and Bad Love are fighting it out for first place), however Sticker still sits comfortably in the top 5. What a song

    Like

  11. I’ll preface this by saying I am not at all familiar with NCT 127’s discography, though I’ve heard one or two songs, snippets of others, and have a vague idea of what their title tracks sound like much of the time. Their style isn’t generally my thing since the rap is usually (with a few exceptions) my least favorite part of any KPop song. So I’m coming at this without having listened to any of their prior releases and from the perspective of not being particularly excited about going through their entire discography when it’s finally their turn in my thorough survey of the SM groups.

    This was not bad. It also wasn’t good. It could have been a lot worse! It’s heckin’ catchy, and I do like the bounce it has. I also like what I hear in the melody line when there is one, but there’s sadly so little of it. As I mentioned, rap’s not something I particularly enjoy, but this one isn’t that bad, and past the repeated “2 baddies, one Porsche” bit that I don’t particularly enjoy hearing repeated, I’m not too bothered by the rest of the chanted chorus. Overall I think I come out neutral on the song. We’ll see if I tip one way or the other eventually!

    Like

    • When you start to wade through NCT127 you will find much that sounds familiar because so many other boy band tracks have mimicked or outright copied their particular flavor of brittle braggadocio. And then you will find that it is hard to distinguish NCT127 from NCT Dream from NCT XYZPDQ, and for that I say welcome to the club. To be honest, I have given up on figuring out who is who or which is which and have renamed all in my itunes as simply NCT.

      The early NCT127 stuff is recommended for starters – “Fire Truck”, “Limitless”, “Cherry Bomb”. “Boss” is also particularly influential (which looking up right now) is from NCT U (which has some members from 127).

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hahaha, I actually do know a couple NCT Dream and WayV tunes (and even like a couple of them)! That’s part of what’s daunting about starting the massive tangle that is NCT. Who’s singing what in which group now??? I’m not all about the braggadocio typically (this descriptor of yours made me grin), but I’m still looking forward to finding out what they have that I like!

        I do plan to start at the very beginning when I my in depth survey of NCT’s discography. I like listening through chronologically when I do that so I can hear the development over time. Musically, but also vocally. First I have to decide if TVXQ!, f(x), or NCT gets to go next though. Decisions, decisions…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ha ha ha, there is a chart in Wikipedia for who is where. There is a chart?!!! There is a chart. I don’t know if that helps or matters. It doesn’t matter to me. I can pick out Ten visually and aurally in any, and that is all that matters to me.

          I usually point people to SHINee’s back catalog, just my personal suggestion.

          Speaking of Ten, here is the part-Thai version of Baby Don’t Stop you didn’t know you need, but you do.
          ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo5RayWmtgE

          Liked by 2 people

          • I just finished working through SHINee earlier this year actually! LOVE them.

            Thank you!! I most definitely did need that. SuperM introduced me to Ten, and he is fantastic – he’s part of what I’m looking forward to about NCT’s discography.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the song. The production here is particularly appealing and gives me a driving initiative to keep listening to it even though the chorus threw me off at first. I’m really liking the rap verses as well, most notably Jaehyun’s, who pleasantly surprised me with his great execution. I personally think that the song owned its own goofiness which adds to its appeal. Yes, two baddies two baddies one porch does not really make sense but it is the whole point of the song. It is not to really make sense anyways. It is stupidly catchy too, I can’t bring myself to hate the repeated chorus. Maybe it is also the effect of the music video, but this is among my favorite boy group come backs the whole year (along with Future-Perfect HAHAHA). All in all, it is a yes for me. In your style of ranking I would give it something like=

    Hooks – 9 (stupid catchy)
    Production – 9/10 (I absolutely love the instrumental here, leaning more towards 10 tbh)
    Longevity – 9 (I see this going the same route as cherry bomb, where I was a bit thrown off by the repeated chorus but loving it eventually, although I admittedly like two baddies more on my first listen, probably because of more exposure to this style of song)
    Bias – 10 (cause I am a sucker for NCT-ish songs in general lol)
    Overall – 9.5/10 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  13. A few thoughts:

    1. This is less grating than Sticker.
    2. I didn’t know Jaehyun could rap.
    3. Did they just give a shout out to Blues Clues?
    4. Their vocalists must be so, so bored.
    5. I wish they had added more of a melody behind the last chorus to make it sound fuller.

    Liked by 11 people

  14. Not to mention that their MVs are getting “everytime the same old story” as well.

    BUT: do we have a release date for the repackage (with 2 more songs, including the usual better title track) yet?
    I expect it in no longer than 2 months. Let’s see how much they can be predictable in these terms too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Nick, I think my history on this site has demonstrated two things. A: You and I are both very passionate about this genre; sometimes too much so. and 2: We don’t always agree with one another on a song by song basis; which is exactly how it should be.

    And yet, your review (above) is almost a word by word match for my feelings on this drop. I’ve very few favorite boy bands that I follow, so I tend to be a little forgiving when one of them slips up a bit because I can’t afford to cut any of them loose too easily. But man.. ..NCT 127 is really stretching the leash lately.

    While the machine gun rapping with periodic melodic vocals should be entertaining, it’s starting to turn into a waterboarding session with small calming breaks where you falsely assume, “Oh God, is it over? Is it finally over?!”

    Like

  16. This is a performance piece, and it’s shiny and noisy. The video is absolutely luscious to my eyes and everyone looks ridiculously good. However it is not the insane deconstructed ghost salsa that was Sticker and its video, so I am a bit disappointed.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Well, I’m not the target audience for NCT, and I didn’t have as much of a visceral reaction on my first listen compared to Sticker, but… that chorus chant 🙁 Especially when I was enjoying Doyoung’s and Haechan’s prechorus lines…

    And isn’t “Porsche” pronounced “Por-sheh”? The mispronunciation kinda takes away from their baddies credibility, though I’m probably thinking about it too much.

    Like

  18. Made it up to 1:35 and then turned off the song. Because of that chorus being an earworm in a super cloying way, it became so damn annoying just after the first listen. Yes, I appreciate the fact that NCT were the founders of this sound, but damn….I’m fucking done with hearing ’em monotonously shouting all the time. What’s worse, too many boy group releases of 2022 were limited solely to this kind of sound. C’mon, K-pop where’s the novelty?

    Nick’s rating is too high, as usual, I’d give it a 5.75 at best (5,6,6,6).

    Liked by 1 person

  19. The chorus is so grating that my ears hurt. Not a fan and goes right in with top 3 nct songs I don’t like:( I haven’t like a 127 title track since Kick It and dislike how they are an example to a lot of boy groups because this style will just repeated over and over again. Also don’t find anything neo about the song considering this has been done so many times.

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  20. I saw comments (and Nick’s post) about not being NCT’s “target audience” which got me thinking. Who’s NCT’s target audience? Does anyone really know? The subunits are easy to classify, but like NCT as a whole, who are they marketed towards????

    Anyways, I don’t like this track. 127 does better with vocal heavy songs than rap heavy songs so it’s just frustrating that they keep releasing shit like this. At least in Kick It we got a high note…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Taeil had a high note at the beginning of the final chorus in the song but it was overshadowed by the shouting smh.

      Tbh Kick It wasn’t that bad and we got a great bridge and a cool dance breakdown right afterwards. But I do agree that they do better overall with songs that utilize their vocals more, which is surprising considering that NCT 127 has some of the best rappers in SM Entertainment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I like Kick It as well, I just couldn’t think of another 127 song lol.

        And I listened 2 baddies again and damn the mixing sucks if I believed there was no high note.

        Like

  21. Well I think the most complimentary thing I can say about this song is that it does indeed sound exactly the way you would expect a song entitled “2baddies” to sound, so they got that right I guess.

    The chorus is not good and it just gets worse the longer it goes on. The rest of the song is fine but certainly nothing new even if your only considering NCT 127’s discography and not the horde of 127 copycats in the industry.

    At this point I have kind of gotten used to the NCT shoutathons, especially for 127 but I’ll still never get it. They can sing, very well but for whatever reason they shout instead. All of the NCT units have strong vocalists and 127 might arguably have the deepest roster of vocalist among the units but they don’t let them sing, its truly baffling. I mean if you wanted a shouty hip hop unit NCT certainly has enough members to do that too, yet they cram some of their best vocalists into whatever this is.
    Suffice to say I don’t see myself listening to this song in the future. I’ll just replay highway to heaven (which has never lost its appeal).

    I am also quite curious if the repack will continue the trend of being better than the original release. The last time I liked a secondary release less than the initial release from an SM album was when Taemin released Criminal followed by Idea, which was two years ago now.

    Interestingly I also saw someone mention (in anticipation for this) that SM has a history of releasing iconic 4th albums for their groups: Shinee’s Odd, TVXQ’s Mirotic, Girls Generation’s I got a Boy, Exo’s The War. Now I’m sure this album will sell a bucket load but it will be interesting to see how this album stacks up down the line.

    Like

  22. So one of my judges of various songs is to look at how they might be viewed 10 years from now. For this, and many new NCT songs, the answer is “dated.” The unfortunate fact is that NCT are so popular that their style is imitated often, and unfortunately, their music has to work even harder to beat trends. Starting 2020, I feel that they have been falling behind the general trends, instead of pushing what they could be. The end result is this song feels quintessentially late 2010s or early 2020s without adding something that will be remembered 10 years from now.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I really don’t know what to feel. Like, it’s decent at all, but that chorus is… ugh. I dont know if I am really supposed to like this or not. I can see it grow on me, but Favorite will always be the superior title track.

    I might give this a 8 (8,8,8,8) but I dont know how well it will age, so we will see.

    This is another song that falls into NCT’s hit or miss releases for 2022.

    Like

  24. love or hate this song u gotta hand it to 127……they have so many songs where they lie through their teeth and sell the shit out of it. like if i know anything abt those men theyve never experienced the body heat of 2 baddies-hell even 1 baddie!-porsche or no porsche…….do u really think these adult men who stan justin bieber and play fortnite get bitches? no way. and dont get me started on the whole of regular eng ver

    Liked by 1 person

  25. It has been the same old song and dance since Kick It era. Neo Zone was a huge success, and their producers apparently decided that they have discovered a formula for the group’s success.

    Like

  26. I had to come here as I know this is a safe space and fear of malicious comments and trying to support the group didn’t make me post on YouTube.
    I did not like the song at alllllllll, there’s been a shift in recent Kpop releases for me since Sticker era which isn’t my cup of tea and has seen me shift from kpop gradually. As much as I’m an SM Stan the song didn’t do it for me, I was enjoying the climax to the chorus (only) with the vocals and vocalist only to be disappointed with 2 baddies rhyme, all I was thinking is and this guys recorded this tune happily?
    The only thing I enjoyed was the bridge and the third chorus only cos there was vocals backing the “Chant”.
    Loyalty (to a fault) made me watch till the end and liked the video also.

    Liked by 4 people

  27. Lol, it’s funny that NCT (whatever edition) and Blackpink’s comebacks are so close to each other. In a way, they are very similar to me. Their music is obnoxious, brash and screams “Look at me, look at me” like a bunch of overeager wannabes trying very hard to get into the cool club. Sadly, they in fact have the talent to lead the industry but their material keeps them at the very back of the line. I am just glad that we had some real knockers over the past month that I can keep replaying (Thanks to twice, new jeans, IVE and Nayeon)

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I usually hate these kinds of shouty, beat-drop boy group tracks because the chorus always sounds like a hulking mass, but for whatever reason in this (and NCT in general) I can pick apart all the different shout-ers, which makes it sound like an awesome, ridiculously catchy chantfest. Plus the rappers got attitude, the vocalists sound great, the beat is electric. Despite all my musical sensibilities I love it.

    Like

  29. I actually quite like this one. Probably my least favorite (now that’s a chorus lol) of their tts but I guess I’m just into 127’s sound.
    7.75 for me(for now).

    Like

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