It always makes me really sad when an artist or a group just stops putting out new music without forewarning or changes things up significantly enough that they update their own image or name entirely. I wasn’t even Garth Brooks biggest fan, but it still threw me for a bit of a loop when he became Chris Gaines. I mean, it’s really their prerogative, they owe me nothing, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m the type that needs a nice farewell so I can prepare myself. But once they go off on their merry way, there will still be a tiny part of me that wants them to come back and will welcome them with arms tentatively held open.
Tiger JK, the stand-up guy that he is, warned us far in advance that he was saying goodbye to one of his personas and frankly, it makes me love him even more. In January of 2017, Feel Ghood Music announced that Tiger JK was releasing one more album in the second half of the year under the name Drunken Tiger. They were clear to say that he would still be willing to perform the old music, it was just that he would no longer put out anything new under this name. He would be focusing on some other solo stuff he has going on as well as on MFTBY. Honestly, I searched and I searched, but I never did find that final release.
Turns out, it was actually put out. Earlier this month, we were told that the final album would actually be released on April 13 and as that was only a couple of weeks away, it seemed like a pretty solid date. But as I write this on April 15, we still don’t have the full album. What we do have is a pre-release single with an MV that is so fantastic I am willing to forgive almost any further delays if it’s any indication as to how amazing this album is going to be.
The lyrics are all about Tiger JK’s life, his debut, and the hardships he’s faced. I haven’t seen a translation of the lyrics yet, nor is the video subbed, but I’ve read a few articles and can pick out enough of the words that the visuals in the MV pull it all together. The video opens with Tiger kind of hovering over the roof of a building watching missiles or meteors falling on the city. It’s got a real end of days feel about it. It progresses with the rapper in different settings interspersed with old photographs and memories from his life. But it all eventually comes back to the burning cityscape. The song is mature and musical. It’s poetry really, and his delivery is as solid as ever. I love the way he uses rhythm and layers his own voice on the track.
This is straight rap, folks, nothing poppy about it. But if you haven’t yet taken the time to listen to some Korean rap because you’re more focused on the pop side of the house, I would recommend giving this a shot. This isn’t some fly by night underground rapper dabbling on the stage. He’s got more experience under his belt than most of us have with anything. He’s an artist. Is he perfect? No. Has he messed up during his life and made countless mistakes and missteps? Yes. But he draws on all of that alongside his talent and developed skill for this song, and I hope for this whole album.
Yet, Drunken Tiger