An alarming number of artists seem to be jumping ship from PSY’s P Nation label this year, causing the ambitious start-up to face some growing pains just as they’re trying to get their first idol group off the ground. Luckily, they still have the ever-reliable Crush on their roster. Fresh from military service, he’s making his long awaited return with BTS’s J-Hope in tow. This seems like a recipe for instant chart success, and Rush Hour‘s embrace of light-footed funk is right on trend.
This is the second funk-inflected K-pop track in a row, and like Jay B’s go UP yesterday it draws from many of the genre’s early hallmarks. I hear Stevie Wonder in parts of the melody and groove, though Crush’s performance is far more laid-back than that comparison would have you believe. The song vacillates between hip-hop and sung vocals, crafting a groove-heavy showcase that bops by with an easy charm.
Guest rapper J-Hope fits well within this framework. His verse adds an extra dose of playfulness to a track that makes sure not to take itself too seriously. Rush Hour’s chorus is more a series of exclamations than a robust centerpiece, but that’s in keeping with its influences and compliments the song’s laidback energy. Personally, I’m just happy that Crush has returned with a track that’s not an OST ballad or jazzy mid-tempo. His up-tempo work has always been underappreciated, and with any luck Rush Hour will be the start of a new, successful era.