Catching the public eye in 2019 with his “foreign language swag” infused rap style and exuberant stage performances on Mnet’s Highschool Rapper Season 3, 20-year old rapper sokodomo (real name- Yang Seung-Ho) has since then taken the K-Hiphop world by storm!
His 2nd EP “…—… (S.O.S)” released on May 11, 2021, is his latest release to carry on his work of musical experimentations that inspire awe in listeners and artists alike. The 6-tracked EP is a view into the stifling realities of humans and the sensational real-time play of their coping mechanisms through sokodomo’s lens. It also sends an SOS signal requesting help to deal with these distresses.
All tracks in “…—… (S.O.S)” are produced by rookie producer Sesåme who had previously worked with sokodomo on his 1st mini-album, ‘WWW.III’. This 2nd EP also utilizes a skilled squad of featuring artists like Artist of the Year, Jay Park, MC Huckleberry P, Japanese rapper LEX, etc. to spice up the eccentric flavors that the sokodomo-sesåme duo bring to the table.
SLATT (ft. Haeil)
“When the killers in the night come/ Don’t you be afraid/ I’m the killer with no knife gun /I will save the day.”
‘SLATT’ or ‘Slime Love All the Time’ may have been a popular adlib being used in the global rap community for a long time but for the K-Hiphop world, it seems to have trended this year only as we saw the appearance of the term in numerous rap verses in Hiphop reality shows and even several song titles.
Sokodomo however gives this term a very “sokodomo-esque” twist in his track with fellow labelmate and singer-songwriter, Haeil. The opening track, ‘SLATT’ starts off with an idiosyncratic high note declaration of “SLATT, SLATT is my thing” which perfectly sets the stage for sokodomo’s outlandish, ‘#weirdokpop’ (as Jay Park puts it) sonics that are to follow this track in the EP.
Adding on this setting, the consistent heavy DnB beat with its electrifying rock electric guitar infusion, flows in and out of the almost 3-minute refrain track and gets the listeners’ blood pumping with its bewitching, reverberating quality.
PEGASUS (ft. Huckleberry P)
Kicking off with the gritty sounds of the Korean dialect in a typical “alien language” which captures the attention of the listeners instantly, ‘PEGASUS’ features a catchy trap beat on which sokodomo and renowned MC, Huckleberry P, take turns to flow on. Sokodomo’s expert usage of his unique vocal tone sprinkled with cool inflections and the following lyrically powerful verse from Huckleberry P which shows off his elite rhyme-scheming abilities, make ‘PEGASUS’ a loop-worthy track.
“You talk too much/ Blue Friend, Why are you like that?/ Smile at me for one time, put you in an empty car/ I’m feeling great, screw you/ And you be going round and round.” – Sokodomo’s catchy hook.
The lyrics of Huckleberry P also address the jealous streak running through the world because of the success others have earned as he raps, “Feeling relative deprivation for rappers’ success/ This place is filled with losers sucking each others’ scars/ Here they come.” This meaningful lyricism hence adds substance to the track which otherwise might have been undermined by some as just being a “trippy trap” composition.
This next addition to the eccentric EP ‘…—… (S.O.S)’ is an “only sokodomo” track which seems to be the stage-setter for the upcoming title track, ‘MM (MURDER MIND)’. Enunciating the murmurs of a conflicted psyche in lines like, “I gotta kill these motherf***ers for some money/ Gotta go steal the creativity 100%/I have to lose everything and then live again/ Karma kill, so I don’t need a f***ing body”, sokodomo wittily employs ruptured-yet-alluring sonic switches from auto-tuned, distorted vocals to a normal toned one. This helps bring even more focus to this oppugnant human spirit voiced out in the lyrics.
Sokodomo also draws on a killer rhyme scheme in ‘OTHER WORLD’ to put out a catchy, groovy flow that makes the listeners bob their heads along to the track. This stands testimonial of his fine penmanship and ceilingless musical sensibilities which he seems to have refined since his debut in 2019.
MM (ft. Jay Park)
Packaged like a Netflix thriller movie with its Oscar-deserving performances, ‘MM (Murder Mind)’ gives the listeners a look into sokodomo’s defense mechanism as his “distressed to the point of losing control” subconscious tries to break out into the world of the rational, conscious being.
The electro-rock-infused music production by rookie producer Sesåme astutely brings out the suffocating realities that made the human psyche cling to such an adaptive strategy. Sesåme first employs ambient sounds of gurgling water and an unsettling piano melody to create a metaphoric drowned and sinking in water effect. This then transits cleanly to a loud, erratic ticking of the clock which gets sucked into a vacuum as the drums kick in – hence, perfectly illustrating the haunting, unstable life the listeners’ are about to delve into. The accompanying music video is also very evocative of a 2015 crime-thriller Korean movie titled ‘Office’.
Going through the menialities of everyday life that get mixed with the imaginary psychic world of sokodomo’s “Murder Mind”, ‘MM’ displays sokodomo’s sublime musical sensibility and raw lyricism that shines dazzlingly even though he is standing beside the Young Godfather of K-HipHop, Jay Park. The way he uses his vocal abilities and the musical equipments which are at his disposal in the best possible way, to portray the theme he had decided on, is what makes this “God-tier” sensational music possible.
EGO (ft. 645AR)
“Feel like I’m in the water/ Swimming pool full of models/ But my pain don’t go away/ Trying to wash it off again/ But the liquor got no power.”
With the most intriguing featuring – one which would leave the first-time listeners of this artist totally dumbstruck, the track ‘EGO’ is the common playground of two unique rappers (sokodomo and 645AR) as they flaunt their bizarre-yet-trendy rap styles. The signature squeaky quality of 645AR as he delivers his well-polished and explicit bars, in addition to the melodic opening and hook of sokodomo, have a stimulating synergy that forces the listeners to stop and pay attention to the bop playing in front of them.
The lyrics however add another heavy, romanticized dimension to this track (continued from the above tracks) – “Let my soul just go to waste /I just gotta accept it/ What if I don’t?/ Let me be and go away/ I just gotta leave here”. These elevate the qualitative and connective value of the track and the EP even more so.
FUNKY DON (ft. LEX & XINSAYNE)
“Making too many excuses/ Money bitch rich hoеs no snitchy snitch / Fuck the other mans with no respеct for the motherland/ Because money might be everything.”
” Seungho and I go as we like /Just go with the funky-ass don flow/ It would be eternal.” – lyrics that bring out the double entendre of ‘don’ which also means ‘money’ in Korean.
There are also several transitions in the track – from the opening playful (almost nursery rhyme-like) melody to the piercing shrieks of the aggressive Japanese verse, and then onwards to the exceptional display of cadence and the melodic rhythm-play of sokodomo. These smooth, catchy transitions hence make this staccato track, an exciting flexed-out closing act!
The 20-year old artist has hence managed to pull off splendidly his 2nd big project after the intense roars of ‘WWW.III’ (his 1st EP). “…—… (S.O.S)” EP also has once again proven that his unconventional pursuit of music can lead to the opening up of musical doors that one never even knew existed. This is what makes the agonizing wait for his music and the experience of finally listening to it, so delightfully thrilling!