Just four months after their “Senorita” comeback, rookie girl group (G)I-dle switched things up by returning with a new digital hip-hop single “Uh-Oh.” Based on a 90’s hip-hop concept, the MV is both nostalgic and innovative in its timing and ideas. Amidst an era that has groups mostly rely on familiar elements of pop, EDM, and electro, (G)I-dle came forth to re-use a forgotten tune. While it was refreshing to see the members embrace such a distinct concept, the execution of it was admittedly slightly lost towards the end with setting. Nonetheless, “Uh-Oh” marks their fourth comeback since debut.

Once again, (G)I-dle tackled a distinct concept that adds to their unique palette. In addition to past release “Senorita,” both “Latata” and “Hann” have stood out from one another for their differences in genre, musicality, and even aesthetic. While one comeback featured black scorpions, an addictive whistling instrumental and a slightly Arabian theme, another was grounded in Latin roots to follow aboard the previous Spanish trend running in the industry.

This time around, (G)I-dle attempted Western vibes to deliver a rare hip-hop comeback for a girl group. (Though perhaps it isn’t altogether surprising, considering their past senior group 4Minute was also known for their consistent hip-hop presence.) Co-composed by leader Soyeon, the song boasts the girls’ confidence and dominance over haters with a “boom bap” hip-hop beat that was prominent in the 1990’s.

To start things off, the MV was simple but of high quality. It was especially effective in the good use of wide space and props so that they help bring attention to the members. While nearly all MV’s are already known for having group and solo shots, this MV was almost entirely filmed outdoors, with only people and objects to keep a viewer’s interest.

Yet, it worked to the group’s benefit to have the MV flow in this way, as the camera captured the viewer’s sole attention onto the members and their intended vibe. Most of the settings included motorcycles, vintage automobiles, sand, and rustic buildings or walls. The location was also clearly not in Korea, which added to the Western appeal. The frequent movement and crowds surrounding the group and solo shots also kept the viewers’ interest, especially within the wide space.

Although, the shift from rustic outdoors to indoor live club was admittedly a bit misplaced. On one hand, diversity is definitely welcomed, and the idea of having a contrast between light and dark, day and night was effective. But once the girls were placed inside, the 90’s Western concept that took majority of the MV to craft vanished into a mere performance scene. Maybe if even that segment could merge with the rest of the MV’s aesthetic to not seem out of place. But overall, the video inspired a fitting vintage, rustic vibe to accommodate their chosen concept.

In doing so, the aesthetic relies on a different take than the usual “girl crush” concept to shut down haters. Generally in K-Pop, hip-hop has been a common genre for both boy and girl groups to attempt for a comeback. However, 90’s hip-hop is something that has rarely been seen, let alone executed in a way that accommodates the audience well. The track is effective in bringing forth the message of the song while having the audience enjoy its chill backtrack.

The members also make the concept work – altogether, they surprise with how they swallow their concept, considering it is so different from their previous works. Of course, this remains subjective per viewer and per member. But (G)I-dle as a whole has managed to deliver this comeback fairly well considering how distinct it is for a girl group to even attempt.

Another factor to point out is the camerawork, which was a key factor in having the MV stand out. A good chunk of the MV was dedicated to showing the girls from the ground-up, as opposed to simply utilising that angle occasionally. This angle was usually used with all the girls present, as opposed to solo shots which zoomed and drifted in multiple directions.

By capturing isolated shots amid a mostly consistent landscape, the viewer was able to focus on the member alone, having familiarized themselves with the setting beforehand. The camerawork also captured the MV setting’s good use of space. Most shots were wide than close, but each individual clearly had their own stage as well, against an ongoing background that made the edits smoother altogether.

In terms of musicality, the song breathes fresh air into K-Pop’s current girl group discography with its chosen genre. The track makes further use of various instrumental elements, such as drum, bass, strings, piano, violin, and old-school DJ record sounds that somehow even made it into K-Pop. Additionally, the instrumental fortunately works to highlight rather than obstruct or cover the members’ performances, syncing with their distinct voices and parts. Every member’s voices and parts were well heard in the song, making it a solid and memorable listen.

However, it’s debatable whether Soyeon’s brief part between Shuhua and Soojin in the second verse was entirely necessary. To be fair, the lyrics are powerful and spunky, and Soyeon oozes a confidence that not everybody can muster up to. But considering how Soojin’s rapping noticeably stood out as well, perhaps the transition from Shuhua to the rap segment could’ve been smoother. Or, the line distribution could’ve changed to lengthen Soyeon and Soojin’s harmony. Otherwise, the song was chill and uncomplicated in delivering its powerful message, proving to be an easy and fun track for the summer.

Lastly, Soyeon evidently takes the cake for line distribution, followed by Minnie and then Soojin. Miyeon and Yuqi share a similar amount, though Shuhua still maintains the lowest. This comeback delivered a better representation of their vocals, though the distribution leaves some more diversity to be desired. And while it makes sense that – as the leader and main rapper – Soyeon does have a good chunk of lines, hopefully future tracks can disperse more lines towards the remaining vocalists as well.

All this to say, while hip-hop is a true and tried genre even among girl groups, (G)I-dle struck the perfect balance between nostalgic and refreshing. This kind of concept and track couldn’t have come at a better time, when the music scene has been a bit dry in innovation. Following the trend has become a safe habit, both in terms of discography and concept. But hopefully (G)I-dle can stir greater inspiration in newer, more daring ideas for future releases in the industry.

(YouTube [1] [2]. Media SR, Newsen, OSEN, X Sports News. Images via CUBE Entertainment)