Published on May 5th, 2015 | by deejaymich0
San E: An ode to the haters
San E‘s last record was his mini album, ‘Not’ Based on the True Story’, released in 2013. Thanks to the singer’s frequent broadcast appearances, it doesn’t seem like it has been that long though. He was most recently the emcee for Unpretty Rapstar, and was a guest judge on Starship‘s No.Mercy. His hit collaboration with After School/Orange Caramel‘s Raina, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Sweetness’ (I’m still jamming to that) last year also kept him on our radars for a while.
‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’ is the big boy’s first full album, and like any good hip-hop album, it is chock-full of great collaborations with both mainstream and underground artistes. That said though, if you’re looking for songs like those found in his last mini album, only a couple of songs will fit the bill. In fact, half the songs have as dark a sound as his pre-release singles, courtesy of producers such as Kato and Eardrummer JBo.
Now, San E has been embroiled in a couple of controversies, even before he received flak for his biased attitude towards Jimin in Unpretty Rapstar, and since songwriters tend to get inspiration from personal experience, it’s no surprise that this album is way more serious than his usual wacky and playful singles like ‘Body Language’ and ‘Story of Someone I Know’.
‘#LuvUHater’ is obviously one for the haters, while ‘On Top Of My Mind’ featuring MC Gree and ‘I Deserve Better’ featuring Jessi, illinit, i11evn, complete with San E’s high tone and sometimes out-of-control voice, the songs have a devil-may-care attitude and scream ‘I’m-better-than-you-and-I-don’t-care-what-you-think’.
The tracks that impressed me the most though, are the more haunting tracks – ‘She’s’ featuring songstress Jung In, ‘Using You’ featuring underground R&B artist Joe Rhee, and ‘I Wanted To Be Successful’. The two former tracks are about being taken advantage of and being used in a relationship. ‘Using You’ is definitely darker though, with both parties using each other for material and physical pleasures respectively. Man, where is the love? ‘I Wanted To Be Successful’ is the most honest and thought-provoking track out of the whole album which talks about losing oneself in the pursuit of success.
And it seems like Korea can’t get enough of San E’s sweet love duets – ‘Me You’ achieved an all-kill, topping the 7 major music charts in Korea right after its release.
Given the overall dark feel of this album, this track definitely sticks out like a sore thumb – but hey, the guy’s got to cater to the mainstream audience, right? Together with Baek Yerin, who has been getting love calls from other rappers such as Olltii and Yuk Jidam, San E has churned out yet another adorable love song perfect for spring. As usual, he uses quirky lyrics with cute wordplay to suit his breezy rap. For example, I thought replacing ‘catch up’ with ‘ketchup’ in the lyrics ‘she thinks your lip service is gross like mayo / but when I talk, she gets red, you gotta ketchup‘ was quite clever. Also, the ‘meow‘ from the cat in the beginning – doesn’t it sound like ‘me you’?
This record once again reaffirms that San E is one of the best and most successful rappers to cross over from the underground scene to the pop scene, bridging the gap between two genres of different cultures. Leaving JYP Entertainment was definitely one of the best decisions ever made, and now that he’s wildly experimenting but still sticking his roots, there’s no doubt that San E will remain on top for a while.