Tablo and Brown Eyed Soul‘s Naul on one track. Am I dreaming or am I dreaming?

Much buzz hath surroundeth Tablo after the announcement of his official move to YG Entertainment and his intentions of continuing his solo career under the same label responsible for Big Bang and 2NE1, kings of swag and queens of spiked garb. Many were excited for Tablo’s new direction in his career, and others were worried that his contract with a huge entertainment corporation was a sign that he was ‘selling out.’

Well, whatever the case may be, the result is nothing to complain about. Tablo’s first single under YG, “Airbag,” was released a few days ago and it is sounding fan-freaking-tastic. Check it out below:

Though many are reassured that Tablo’s new material still stays true to his original style, it still raises the question of how Tablo’s decision to sign with YG will affect his career as a musician. The biggest concern that has arisen from this turnover is its contradiction with Tablo’s previous efforts to go independent and ‘stick it to the man.’ It seems a little strange that a person who was so bent on defying mainstream management has now done a complete 180 and signed with one of the largest entertainment corporations in Korea.

But it stands to reason, considering Tablo’s now-infamous run-in with the Netizen Mafia® last year and a ‘scandal’ that nearly ruined his career. At that time, it was reported that Tablo’s label at the time, Woollim Entertainment, did nothing to help curb the attacks from netizens bent on defaming him and his academic reputation. That explains Tablo’s choice to leave Woollim, but choosing YG instead? Whatever happened to an “independent label who won’t ever settle at your level?” What was the role of his wife, YG-signed actress Kang Hye-jung, in Tablo’s move to YG? What will happen to Epik High once Tukutz and Mithra return from the army? Whatever happened to MYK and those guys who were originally signed under Map The Soul? And by the way, how’s Tablo’s kid doing?

There are way too many questions with way too few clear conclusions, and perhaps for the first time in my K-popping life, I’m extremely hesitant to make any speculations on Tablo’s latest career move. There’s a lot about this whole situation that doesn’t make much sense in the context of Tablo’s record as a musician. Thus, there’s probably a lot going on within the YG woodwork as well as Tablo’s brain that we, as spectators, can barely begin to understand, let alone cast judgment on.

What does matter, though, is that Tablo’s still making music and is still keepin’ on, despite all the difficulties that occurred throughout the past year. It fills me with an incredible and indescribable sense of relief to hear Tablo’s voice again on a new track – but this time, it kinda sounds even more raw and more real than it ever has before. And how can you not respect that?

Tablo’s full solo album will be released on November 1st. In the meantime, make sure you check out “Airbag” over on iTunes. Did I mention that Naul features on this track? Na-freaking-ul. Get to it, dudes.