Most K-pop fans know Defconn because of his position as a host on MBC Every1‘s Weekly Idol. But before his stint on the show, Defconn, now going by his birth name Yoo Dae-joon, was actually famous as an underground rapper.
Defconn has an extensive history with the hip hop scene and a long repertoire. Coming onto the scene in 1998, he has built up quite the reputation as an artist, evident even in his last release, a collaboration with comedian and MC partner Jung Hyung-don.
In early August this year, he made a comeback with with party song “Cocktail” featuring Rania‘s T-ae. With its humorous sexual innuendo, the track was fun and catchy with a rather simple but fitting music video to match. Defconn had me singing “I want some cocktail” far more often (and in worse situations) than I’d care to admit.
Following that more typical release, Defconn is switching gears now and returning with soul this time in “N.G. (Notorious Girl)” featuring R&B singer Boni, and it suits him well. The single is a reminder that he can not only rap but can also sing as he wails “notorious girl” about a woman who broke his heart.
While I liked “Cocktail” for its simple catchiness, “N.G.” shows us the emotional side of Defconn through a sexy, soulful sound. The song features a prominent drums and emotive brass combination. When paired with his gravelly voice, it makes for a retro, almost swanky song that reminds me somewhat of artists of the soul genre in the ’70s, such as Al Green or even Otis Redding.
The highlight to me though is the pairing with Boni. The two have worked together in the past, as they collaborated on “Hanshim Cart Bar,” a song off his and Hyung-don’s unfortunately named album Gangsta Rap Volume 1. While the collaboration of Hyung-don and Defconn was obviously for laughs, “Hanshim Cart Bar” was actually a sad love song, and with Boni in the mix, it became more apparent the disparity in the duo’s skills since Defconn is a seasoned artist and Hyung-don isn’t. So it’s nice to hear the pairing of Defconn and Boni work together again in a more refined song, and Boni has such a fantastic tone to her voice that complements Defconn’s gritty voice wonderfully.
The music video definitely capitalizes on the soulful vibe of the track with the black and white smoky aura throughout it, and the anger and frustration coursing throughout it add layers of emotion to the already soulful track. We watch a heartbroken man as he’s torn apart by all of the emotions of his tragic break-up.
He destroys what appears to have been their home. Everything is covered in plastic as though it were being painted, which makes me suspect that they were preparing the place to live. Perhaps they were engaged when they broke up, or maybe it’s been emptied out and sold since they’ve broken up. It’s hard to tell since we have no context for his presence there.
Regardless, he is simultaneously angry and sad, as most people are after a relationship ends badly. He takes a mallet to a TV, throws their picture against a wall, and just destroys everything he can get his hands on. All the while, he is tortured by memories of her and the end of their relationship.
There’s something almost serene to the music video, and that probably comes from the lack of sound effects included in any of his destruction. We don’t hear the crash of the mallet on the TV or the shattering of the picture frame or a single step he takes. The song alone plays, making brilliant use of the silence of his actions to portray the emotion in each motion and scene.
With the interspersed shots of Defconn and Boni singing and the choice to shoot the entirety in black and white, it makes for a compelling music video. I particularly enjoy the styling, such as Defconn’s dapper suit and Boni’s lovely evening dress. It all adds to the old-fashioned elegance of the whole video despite the destruction going on.
Some of the cuts are a bit too closely cropped. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between Boni and the barely shown ex since they are often cropped to just show their lips and jawline. And the transitions between shots are pretty quick, making it more of a task to figure out what certain objects are or who certain people are.
While we could look at the confusion as a symbolic way of portraying the conflicting emotions one feels at the end of a relationship, that seems to be a bit much for this music video. It doesn’t really take away much from the music video, but it does make it a bit confusing, particularly toward the end when the cuts transition more quickly.
Defconn gives us a taste of his class with “N.G.” The song is a stunning marriage between rap and soul, and Boni adds more oomph for good measure. The music video realizes the emotion of the song despite not having an actual coherent plotline, making for a track that’s sexy in a cool but still sad kind of way that I only wish we heard more from Defconn.
(DI Entertainment , YouTube)