Jay Park and Dok2‘s new collaboration ‘Most Hated’ was released on Friday in the wake of the news that Jay had been signed to Roc Nation. The song dropped at the perfect time to capitalise on the pair’s visibility from Show Me The Money 6 and Jay’s individual promotions. The concept of the song appeals to popular sentiments and shoots down detractors. The premise is not unique — ‘stuntin’ on the haters‘ has a long, illustrious history in hip hop — but the execution of ‘Most Hated’ is uneven.

It starts with an early 2000’s style spoken introduction by Dok2. Whether listeners find it cringe-worthy or hype-inducing is up to personal taste. Either way, he makes a bold claim: that the song will be hated but also loved. He begins by cataloguing his wealth beginning with cars and ending with watches. Choosing to name Meek Mill for his Audemars Piguet shout out when Mill’s name is synonymous with losing was a confusing decision. Whether this is a boast that Dok2 will resurrect Mill’s reputation from its hell of internet memes or an indication that he didn’t have Twitter in 2015 is not clear.

‘Most Hated’ fails because the concept isn’t fully realised. Dok2 raps about money and authenticity, which are both mainstays of rap. His bragging doesn’t push the boundaries of lyrical wealth flexing or meaningfully address frauds in the industry. His verse approximately performs hip hop aesthetics but adds nothing to the genre.

The most striking element of Jay’s verse is his voice being digitally altered to sound deeper. This production choice is jarring and adds to the mood of artificiality and posing. Jay is not known for his skills as a lyricist and this song stays true to form. His verse is a litany of cliches, recited without any variation on the theme. He talks about cars, women, money, and his coolness but none of it is said in an interesting way. The closest Jay gets to a memorable line is a reference to his pec tattoo but it still falls short of the poetic self-aggrandisement of a classic. His pop culture references are not current, his subliminals are tepid, and the verse comes off as lazy.

The beat itself is polished and minimal with a subtle shift when Jay drops in. It has a dark, synthy mood and is wasted by the lack of a compelling hook. The decision to have the chorus be a mind-numbingly toneless phrase was probably intentionally antagonistic and it falls flat. Jay Park is a successful singer. It’s frustrating to listen to him limit himself when he could take cues from an artist like Drake, who doesn’t care about genre distinctions.

Visually the MV interprets the concept by showing images intended to provoke a reaction. Obnoxious displays of wealth, like the golden car, are juxtaposed with images of a large Buddha statue, close-ups of Dok2’s braids, and people in boxes. There are also several lingering shots of the tattoos of the people in the MV. The underlying message seems to be that people have a conflicted relationship with these kinds of images. They garner attention and controversy but are also profitable. In the context of the song, the imagery can be interpreted as a challenge. Dok2 and Jay Park attempt to hold themselves immune from criticism by dismissing opposing voices as ‘haters’. They’ll do whatever they want and you’ll like it, the directive seems to be.

The gamble taken with ‘Most Hated’ is it needs attention to adequately live up to the statements made in the song. The mediocre verses, repetitive chorus, and objectionable images would be somewhat validated if the song were commercially successful. To date, the video has received less attention than Jay Park’s summer dance track released only days earlier and hasn’t appeared on local or international charts. ‘Most Hated’ tries to generate controversy with vague allusions to beef and questionable visuals but failed to create a stir. Elie Weisel once said the opposite of love isn’t hatred, it’s indifference. The lack of attention generated by this attempt at musical trolling is an indication that people aren’t haters, they just don’t care.

[Billboard, Gaon, Lyrics via Pop!GasaYouTube]