What is your knowledge of Korean R&B like? Let’s ask an easier question, how do you feel about the following: Jay Park; Bumkey; PHANTOM? One think they all do well is fusion between hip hop and R&B, and we have an Alternate Listening Album Review that might just interest you if you’ve ever enjoyed anything by those artists.
R&B soloist Crush finally debuted outside of the hip hop scene two months ago after a long period as a featured artist on the tracks of others.You may recall Crush from tracks such as Zion T’s Two Melodies, Kang Gary’s Shower Later, he’s even done YouTube duets with YG’s Lydia Paek.
His debut came in the form of single Sometimes, a track that stormed the real-time charts, and now he’s released his eleven track album, Crush On You, featuring Sometimes and new title song Hug Me.
Crush On You features nine collaborating artists, three from his own label Amoeba Culture, former collab partner Lydia, three AOMG friends, and two fellow masters of hip hop soul fusion.
I Fancy You
Setting the tone for a solid R&B album that will take you on a musical journey through time, I Fancy You brings Crush On You an unquestionably strong start.
A Little Bit feat. Lydia Paek
We’ve heard the pair team up before, and Lydia can easily be overshadowed by more impressive male vocals, but A Little Bit allows the YG songwriter to hold her own, even if she only does sing ‘a little bit’. The vocal duet is stronger here than their previous venture, and it shows that Crush won’t be a one trick pony throughout Crush On You.
Hey Baby feat. Zion. T
This is the ear worm of the album. The music builds and there is an ‘MJ Baby‘ thrown into the ad-libs of this track just before the two minute mark by Zion T and you won’t question why. Hey Baby has the markers of an infectious Michael Jackson pop track as it reaches its end.
By track three Crush is defining himself as a solid composer and producer, his skills not restricted, and certainly able to make something that would take the pop charts by storm.
Whatever You Do feat. Gray
The first AOMG appearance comes from Gray, Crush’s link with AOMG comes via Gray as the pair are both in the hip hop crew VV:D, who although has shown his abilities in R&B himself before now sticks to his hip hop rap comfort zone to show us just how flawlessly Crush can fuse the two.
Annoying (밥맛이야) feat. Kumapark
Kumapark’s work lies in the R+B and soul genres an this shows in Annoying. This track feels like a journey into the past yet so incredibly contemporary. With hints of blues and jazz, old-school hip hop vibes you could feel transported back through the decades. Though, with groups such as label founders Dynamic Duo taking sound pointer from the likes of French House duo Daft Punk this couldn’t sound any more on trend.
Beautiful You feat. Choiza
Again going back through the decades to the era of disco Beautiful You employs repetition, hand claps and stunning falsetto to capture the genre. You may think disco is far from Dynamic Duo rapper Choiza’s realm of expertise but he too delivers well, his style adapting and blending well to the style presented.
Fusing both Crush’s skills in R&B and hip hop Want You is essentially what it says on the tin, a song of want, that wonderfully showcases his range and ability within styles.
Hug Me (feat. Gaeko)
Not that Crush On You gives much room to doubt Crush’s lyrical ability but Hug Me really shows off his smarts for lyrics and sounds.
Hug Me presents a read between the lines double entendre. His rough pronunciation of hug is intentional, you are supposed to hear the suggested alternate word.
The visual supports this too. Anyone with a little knowledge of art and Georgia O’Keefe will know why Crush probably doesn’t just want a hug.
Give It To Me feat. Jay Park, Simon D
Again showing us the strong links between the two companies Crush teams up with the CEOs of AOMG.
Another track with charged lyrics, Give It To Me certainly gives off AOMG vibes, Jay even sampling Welcome lyrics – sexually charged lyrics are his forte after all. Unsurprisingly, KBS have just banned this track from air play.
Crush and Jay Park make a perfect team where this track is concerned. If you liked Metronome with the contrast of smooth Jay Park and deep tones of Simon Dominic you’ll love Give It To Me.
Friday Ya / It’s Friday feat. Jinbo
Another collaboration with a master of R&B, Jinbo, Friday Ya begins the final showcase of Crush’s skills in his main genre. Crush is putting all his abilities out on the table for all to see, showing his potential and power. If Crush had let you forget he could write an addictive chart topper, he’s closing with a reminder.
Laying out his skill beautifully in the close is Crush’s debut single Sometimes. Sometimes is a brilliant example of Crush’s R&B styling, thus he debuted with it, and thus he closes his album with it.