Outsider: a name so synonymous with rapping at the speed of light, that any other fast rap seems as slow as a turtle. If you are eagerly expecting Outsider’s comeback to burst out into his usual blink-and-you’ll-miss-it style of rapping, you might be disappointed. While not exactly slow, Outsider lays off the pedal in order to provide the proper emotion for his latest comeback, “Hands.”
After 10 years in the industry, Outsider decided to dedicate a song to his father, who became hearing impaired. “Hands,” lyrically, is a metaphor. Sometimes bad things happen, and while they can cause great pain, they can also serve as reminders of happiness and comfort. Just like hands. They can be used to do great harm to others, but can also be used to provide help and care.
Musically, “Hands” is equal parts hip-hop and rock ballad. During the introduction, you are led to believe that the sounds would include electronic instruments, like a turntable, but there is a pleasant surprise. A piano provides most of the instrumentation, with guitars and drum set layered over the piano. And that’s all the instruments you will hear. No frills or extraneous sounds. Just nice and simple.
Vocally, Outsider presents an emotional performance. Given his speed, the feelings associated with the song could have been lost. However, by adding emphasis on certain syllables and slowing down his phrasing, the impact is still there. The inclusion of a (currently mysterious) female vocalist only furthers the emotions of the track.
While the MV may initially throw off viewers, it’s very well done and unique. With additional scenes of Outsider incarcerated, “Hand” is actually done as a graphic novel. According to Outsider’s label, ASSA Communications, this is the first MV in Korea to use the genre. With a MV done more as an actual movie, and less as a MV, there is a nice effect. What sets this apart from the usual movie-as-a-MV types is that it’s actually completely done in the duration of the song. You get the story and the song without having to go through a 15 minute film.
Although no expert on graphic novels, the MV seems to be very well done. The illustrations are sharp and accurate. Even without knowing what the captions are saying, you truly can understand the events and emotions.
The opening scene depicts Outsider, handcuffed in the middle of a prison hallway, his eyes glowing. Lest we forget the title, the first illustration is of a bloody hand, with missing fingers. Of course, the title of the song then appears on said hand. The ending also depicts the same scenes, but in opposite order.
The graphic novel serves as the story-telling of Outsider’s memories. You see the story of his character and the events that led him to be incarcerated. However, some may not be able to follow story, so here’s a rundown.
As the graphic novel portion starts, we see a man (the father) being killed by a police sniper while holding someone hostage. We later learn that the hostage is a gangster, who would lead you to believe contributed to the current predicament of the father and son. Afterwards, we see a young man (the son) being arrested for selling drugs. The father visits his son in jail, and emotionally charged from the encounter, he tries to exact revenge. However, his plans are stopped by the police.
Further along, the father’s tale is also told: he cut off his own fingers in association with gangster activity. Following the death of the wife – whom the son found after she didn’t show up to his graduation – a painful toll is taken on the family. This pain leads to the current situation between father and son.
To remind audiences of the good aspect of hands, we see the family when the son was younger. They are happy while on an outing. The father is there to hold the hand of his son.
The MV has a 19+rating. However, it is not be confused with typical rap videos. There are no scantily clad women, suggestive lyrics/movements, pimped out rides, and heavy gold chains to be found. The MV graphically tells the story of pain and anguish for a father and son. This is what makes the MV so nice.
There is a second version of the MV that is a few seconds longer. I guess the first version was released to get by those pesky censors who don’t like credits to roll at the end of a MV. There may also be a part 2, so hopefully we’ll get more of the story.
Either way, viewers and listeners are in for a treat. Outsider lays out another great rap track, with an even greater MV.
Song and MV Rating: 4 out of 5