Brand New Stardom‘s girl group EvoL debuted a couple of days ago, releasing their mini-album Let Me Explode, containing five tracks with title song, “We Are a Bit Different.” The group has drawn some interest for the status of their group members, in particular leader Say and main rapper Jucy, as singer-songwriters, and for their hard-hitting sounds and explosive music video.
But the spotlight in this article is on Jucy, Kim Jun-hee, Juni.J (her previous stage name), however you wish to call her. Part of K-pop’s ’92-line, this girl has been popping out music–compositions and lyrics–from as far back as 2008, making her only 15/16 years old at the time. Age shows in her rapping style, but that doesn’t mean her talent didn’t. It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t find English translations of lyrics, but that doesn’t change how the song feels or flows. She has a mixtape and other tracks out floating on the Internet, but here are a couple that show some of her variety and skills with music. Be aware that there is a very small level of profanity in some of her songs.
To begin, let’s start with “I’m Not the Person from Yesterday” from late 2008.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP6c7ikE9jM&w=560&h=315]
The music has an almost vintage sound that gives way to more classic percussion when Juni.J begins to rap. Already evident is that her rapping style is varied, changing in slight ways in the verses and chorus. The lyrics are vocalized with good rhythm and the accompanying beat is nice and simple, letting the rap speak for itself. Though I can only speculate on the meaning of the lyrics, it sounds like a proclamation of the title, that she’s not the same, and she’s going to tell you why and how. The chorus has a good hook, with the repetition of each line in an echoed format really sticking with the listener.
Next is a track that more closely resembles the image that EvoL seems to be putting out with their music video and style: “Punch.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WafA9S9wN5I&w=560&h=315]
The background music is heart-elevating with a simple melody. Her rapping is a little overwhelmed by it, but the overall effect is still rousing and just the type of music you want to hear when you need to get something done. If anything, her stream of rap and expression is a bit above that of the previous track here, which makes sense because of the a three-four month time difference between the two. The song cuts off abruptly, making the resulting silence jarring in comparison to the ringing of the song, perhaps intended to feel the effect of the music.
The third and final track I’d like to highlight here is “Miss,” in which Juni.J samples from Nas‘s song “Hero,” featuring Keri Hilson.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6HyUzjR3HY&w=560&h=315]
I picked this song in part because it shows that this girl has lungs for singing as well as rapping. While her forte is most definitely rapping, she can sing when needed in this husky voice which can contrast with her sometimes higher-pitched rapping. Her choices in each portion of the song–as in when to rap and when to sing–are also interesting, since they vary from the original song from which she sampled. The entire song flows very well between the rapping and singing portions, going from an in-your-face rap to the more mellow singing very nicely.
Juni.J’s style has continuous flow and attitude that powers her music to a higher level. Her expression and arrangement of tracks create songs full of rap that aren’t difficult to listen to or boring at all. A minor downside though is the tendency to be higher-pitched and sound childish. While I find that sound off-putting, this is, of course, up to the opinion of the listener. Her later tracks have less of that sound, suggesting both mental and physical maturity that allow a more mellow and developed sound.
Other highly recommended tracks are “6 Reasons Why You Should Not Leave Me,” “Starry Night,” and “Baby Why Why,” which samples from Mistah F.A.B‘s “Hit Me On Twitter.” Most tracks are short, less than three minutes, but that doesn’t lessen the impact they have. For more of Juni.J’s mixtape and downloads of songs, check out this site. EvoLFrance also has a lot of her tracks up on YouTube.
If there’s anything Brand New Stardom has done well, it’s allowing their artists greater freedom in their works and pushing them to do well with respect to being more involved in their own music. With this debut mini-album, the official website has Juni.J, or Jucy as I should say, contributing lyrically to three out of the five tracks, and amount that can only increase in the future as experience and inspirations grow. With Say and Jucy working on investing themselves in the group’s music and image, it seems that EvoL’s continued evolution has much potential.