A. “MFBTY” Drops “Bang Diggy Bang Bang” and “Bucku Bucku”
With an institution like MFBTY, there has been a lot of buzz all over the internet about their upcoming album Wondaland, scheduled for worldwide release on March 19th, 2015. In the meantime, the trio released the track list of the album along with two music videos:

“BANG DIGGY BANG BANG”: It seems MFBTY are taking a page from their idol 동생 (dongsaengs-juniors), incorporating more color, synchronized dancing, which is all done very well, and is appealingly giddyish in this music video. Having incorporated Rap monster in their new album, as well as Tiger JK’s recent positive comment on idol rappers, it only makes sense that MFBTY is seeking some synergy and mild reinvention that way.

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This video is fun with an urban edge, and the music is poppish and contemporary. It also showed MFBTY’s playful side. Especially when Tiger JK hits Yoon Mirae with a pillow during a pillow fight. The music pauses, and Yoon Mirae gives Tiger that “hell hath no fury than what I’mma-about-to-do-to-you” look so prevalent among 여자 (yeoja – girls).

With this release, MFBTY may be trying to appeal to a younger generation. But then their younger fans have always appreciated their position as pioneers. So instead of trying to get a younger fan base with “Bang Diggy Bang Bang”, MFBTY is just trying to give their younger fans what they want.

As the CEO of Live Nation, the mega concert promoter, said recently in an interview, “Rock stars…are the greatest brand managers in the world… These people understand the core of what their brand is and what their fans want.”

Bang Diggy Bang Bang, was released on March 18, 2015.

“BUCKU BUCKU” was the first taste of MFBTY’s upcoming album. It featured three other rapper, noticeably Rap Monster of Bangtan Boys. The video, released on March 15, 2015 has a simple concept with the trio and their posse just standing around doing their thing.

Yoon Mirae’s urban visual and braided hairdo almost signifies that she’s taking it back, and reconnecting with the other half of her roots. And, when it was her turn she let it be known, with some colorful language, that she’s still the undisputed queen of Korean-hiphop. One can’t help but think those were shots at the contestants of the reality show Unpretty Rapster.

When it came to Tiger JK’s turn, he rode out the last few bars like his name – a tiger. The beat and rhyming kicked up a few notches. Bizzy did his thing too. The other two rappers featured are Dino J and EE.

B. CLC aka Cube Girls Debut with “Pepe”
Cube Entertainment’s new girl group, CLC debuted today March 18, 2015. They released the music video of their single “Pepe”, which is a multi-faceted fun single. Easy to dance to, the beat is vibrant and fun. The use of brass elements along with some of the soothing vocals, gives it a little maturity. The rap section was surprisingly stellar. The idol rappers these days are getting better and better, however it was too short.

Their debut concept was girly, sweet and syrupy and delightfully so. The group is made up of Oh Seung Hee (oldest at 20 and leader), Choi YuJin, Sorn Sajakui (who is Thai), Jang Seung Yeon, and Jang Ye Eun (maknae and rapper). The girls also seem to be talented musicians, as in preparation for their debut they went out into the streets, busking. They performed live on various instruments including the keyboard and guitar.

The music video was released on their own YouTube channel, so it seems Cube Entertainment is committed to their longevity and success. CLC stands for “Crystal Clear.”

C. SMTM3 Alumni, “Giriboy” Showers us with “Back and Forth 30 Minutes” and “Take Care of You”

TAKE CARE OF YOU: Giriboy, now of Just Music, dropped a whole album “Adult Ceremony” on March 16, 2015. But, before that on March 13, 2015, the rapper released on YouTube a single “Take Care of You.”

The video starts out in a sleepy lullaby, and Giriboy surprises everyone when he starts singing. He then switches into an introspective rap, and doesn’t even bother to look at the camera. The groovy low-funky beat is gentle, melodious and just beautifully quintessential Korean-hiphop, which can rely a lot on melodies.

“Take Care of You” is a cover of Swings’ “Take Care of Me.” Swings is the CEO of Just Music and is now serving his mandatory 2 years military service.

“BACK AND FORTH 30 MIN” Then when the album dropped on March 16, Giriboy released on YouTube the title track “Back and Forth 30 Min” – a popping ode to youthfulness and puppy love. Label mates CJAmm and Vasco, also alumni of Show Me The Money 3, made cameo appearances. There are funny scenes, including with a gorgeous seductress, that shows the many sides of Giriboy.

What’s evident is that the baby-faced Giriboy is prolific, and going places. At the age of 24 he’s appropriately on his second album – the first, called “Sensual Album” was released last year. Although his appearance in SMTM3 wasn’t exactly stellar, he has a unique style that lends itself to a dedicated cadre of fans – rather than the indiscriminate tastes of a fickle mob. His star will rise, but slowly and steadily. He just has to keep focus and faith.

Compared to “Take Care of You”, “Back and Forth 30 Min” has a more commercial appeal, and was released on 1theK’s YouTube Channel. “Take Care of You” Was released on Just Music’s YouTube channel.

D. Red Velvet’s Does a One-Two Step With “Automatic” and “Ice Cream Cake” Releases”
SM Entertainment released on March 14, 2015 “Automatic” as the comeback video for their newest girl group “Red Velvet“. The smooth-velvet and jazzy-RnB track, melts like butter on a hot knife wielded by these five feline coquettes. But then the very next day, SM Entertainment released “Ice Cream Cake” which was the exact opposite – adolescent and sophomoric.

Why the difference, the polarity, the 2-faces, the dichotomy? It’s as if out of these two songs one of them was not meant to be a Red Velvet song. “Ice Cream Cake” seems more typical, as its girly concept is geared for a girl group that just debuted. On the other hand, “Automatic,” the music and the concept, shows a maturation, and subtle-ness evident of a lady. It’s hard to reconcile the two concepts – are they grown or are they still “younglings” – SM Entertainment, make up your mind.

With Automatic’s 2 million views over Ice Cream Cake’s 1.5 million views, fans may have already picked. Who knows, maybe this was all market research on SM’s part.

E. Korean American “Esna” Released “A Little Lovin'” in English and Korean”
A day apart Esna released her latest single “A Little Lovin” in Korean and English, on February 23rd and 24th, 2015. With the jazzy and acoustic single, in flawless English, Esna takes us back to the glory days of Jazz and blues. In the speakeasy’s of Harlem, you can just imagine her on a stage at “Sugar’s” as Eddy Murphy and Richard Prior scheme nearby in Harlem Nights.

Both the Korean and English versions are beautifully done, and live side by side. Both are a testament to Esna’s abilities as an artist that should be a crossover, and be known across the two continents.

Esna, full name Esna Yoon is from Los Angles, but has relocated to Korea to advance her career. Noticeably her twitter account is followed by a significant amount of the Brand New Music crew, including CEO Rhymer, Verbal Jint, Troy and San E who tweeted the English version of the song. Looks like BNM’s got their eye on her.

F. Rap Monster’s Awakening
Rap Monster is intense! But a little uncontrolled. But that’s probably due to his passionate delivery. He seems to be in a lot of pain. Or someone releasing a lot of angst from a prolonged period of introspection. Awakening is in both Korean and English, and was released on March 12, 2015.

“Yeah f** you! I’m an idol, yeah yeah I an idol” he says, as if suddenly coming to terms with his predicament as both a product of hiphop culture and kpop-an industrialized system. All of which is directed at his run in with Korean hiphop artist B-free, who compared him to a girl, as an idol rapper.

Rap Monster is going through a cathartic moment in “Awakening” – since that whole episode took place about what… a year and a half ago. But, we love you Rapmon so we gon sit quietly and admire the passion with which you delivery this catharsis. But after this, let it drop… and move on.

F. Girls Day Minah Debuts Single “I Am A Woman Too”
Described as “urban R&B” Minah, in her relatively high pitched falsetto released on March 16, 2015, “I am a Woman Too”. Her soothing vocals meld well with the beat, which is lively and upbeat enough without taking over the song.

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