Let’s Hear It for Holke: Block B’s Park Kyung
As Block B recently made their comeback with album Blockbuster and title track “Nillili Mambo,” it seemed to be a good time to delve into some pre-debut work. Since Zico‘s already been covered, I think you all know who’s next: Park Kyung.
This is an article that has been a long time coming, primarily put off for previous lack of relevancy to current events. Everyone’s favorite greasy cucumber has quite the talent, and, as has been said numerous times, is usually overshadowed by the sheer force of charisma fellow member Zico possesses. Though whereas Zico may have a lower pitch and be more recognized, Kyung too has his rhythm and clear pronunciation that makes his raps distinct and just so neat, not just in a cool way, but in a clean and understandable way. Unfortunately, Kyung’s music isn’t as ubiquitous as Zico’s–it isn’t as available as streaming audio, but I’ll bring out what I can.
Prior to debut, Kyung used the name Holke, which means Horse-K. He worked frequently with Zico, back then Nacseo, or Scribble/Graffiti. So honestly, it’s no surprise that in several of their tracks, you can find one featuring in the other’s work or vice versa. The amount of music they’ve worked on is impressive, and I only wish that I could find English subtitles for it all. But for now, let’s get to what is already translated with focus on Kyung’s work.
As always, please be aware that the following content may have profanity or make sexual references.
Let’s start with “Energizer,” off of Lightning, a mixtape that has two tracks by Kyung and two by Zico. The song samples from Dr. Dre‘s “The Watcher.” If I could post all the lyrics here, I would, but since that would take up quite the amount of space, I’ll limit myself to a few lines.
They don’t know what’s good when they hear it
No matter how many girls you say you slept with
Your ears are still virgins
Trust me and invest in me because it’s a win-win for both of us
I won’t lose ever, it’s a fight against yourself
Why? Because even though I work hard, I’m also good
His raps are similar to Zico’s and Phantom‘s Hanhae‘s in that they’re self-appreciating, talking about the difference between talent and whatever other “music” people can make. There’s a lot of confidence here and references to real people–Cho PD, 2PM, Rhymer, Infinite Flow–which helps the message hit home, especially for the targeted audience. And of course, the flow is wonderful; there’s a force pushing the words out that really makes it seem like he’s unstoppable. Another track, “Hot Track,” off of the same mixtape, has a similar message, but over grander music with a more relaxed style.
“Oh” takes a much sweeter turn, displaying more of a genuine earnestness rather than badass confidence. While Kyung isn’t the best singer, there’s a technicality present in those “oh”s that still show he knows what he’s doing. Indeed, the talk-singing portion grounds the song, adds a flavor that’s more relatable and enjoyable. The medium beat suits the content and the mood, and overall, the track adds some diversity to repertoire.
I love seeing you, I just smile and laugh
Please stay with me
Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
Another favorite to check out is “After Break Up.” The lyrics themselves aren’t too long, but the way they’re repeated in a simple canon helps emphasize the content, this cyclic pain that is difficult to get rid of. Also to be noted is how each part is done individually first, but then together they’re particularly catchy. The simple music lets the lyrics shine, later adding a constant beat and melody that helps reinforce the cycle of forgetting and its difficulties.
Lastly, off of ZICO on the Block in 2010 is “Turn Around,”which has both Zico and Kyung. I enjoy this song quite a bit, and it also shows how different the two styles of the boys are just from which parts they take, the lyrics they have, and how their style is and just everything. Kyung has a lot of variation in pitch, where he pauses, and the intonation and speed of his words. It definitely keeps the attention of the listener as the style developed is peculiar to him. It’s also a style much closer to what we hear from him in Block B than the previous tracks.
And if we’re talking about Kyung, and anyone chooses to look further into his tracks, his Ghetto Boys diss track #1 is most certainly going to show up. I’m not going to post a link to it here. It’s aggressive, displeasing and honestly makes me uncomfortable but a little impressed at how offensive the invectives are. But before you judge, remember that it’s a diss track. It’s meant to put you off, be insulting, and get some nasty public revenge through a talent battle. It’s a show of capability but not natural character, a pre-debut response that in no way invalidates Kyung’s talent and how he puts it to use, especially since it isn’t as if he knocks out offensive tracks with utmost joy everyday. And not to mention, there was some reconciliation after this as shown by the existence of the track “A collaboration of reconciliation” by Holke and 11-Otaku. I don’t want to make this the subject of this article, but I did want to give a warning to any new listeners.
What’s similar in all these tracks is Kyung’s voice that has a bit more of a raw edge to it than it does now, in his work with Block B. You can hear a difference that shows development towards mastery of more pitches and tones that help give his current raps more variation. His voice has a thinner tone to it which allows for it to be manipulated in strange ways that help give his raps distinct character that deviates from some typical rapper voices. If you’re interested in more of his work, these two links () can give you a large amount of information as well as download links to quite the haul of music. What I have here with subs is a pitifully small sampling of what’s available, but these are a few of my favorites that I could pull out for audio streaming.
So Seoulmates, how’d you like Park Kyung’s pre-debut work? Are you interested in more of his music? Leave a comment with your thoughts!