From King Records, the bad boys of Korea are back with their fourth installment simply titled DJ DOC 4th Album.
The group DJ DOC is a Korean rap group consisting of three members: two rappers and one singer. They have been around for quite some time now and have delivered more than a few hit singles. They are regarded as one of the best rappers in Korea by both native Koreans and Korean-Americans alike.
Known for their brash comments, unruly lyrics, and total disregard for censorship in Korea, this album does not fall short of the message they’ve been trying to get across for some time now. With songs like “Bbe Guk Bbe Guk” and “Mo Reu Get Su”, the three man rap group come out asking why certain things are the way they are, especially on artistry censorship. However, not everything on the CD is as serious as it may seem.
There are plenty of go lucky and happy songs to bring down the seriousness of some of the other songs. These do not take away from the CD but they do take away from the cohesiveness of it, making the CD sometimes seem like a jumble of random songs just put together.
DJ DOC 4th Album consists of seventeen tracks, including a remix and an OUTRO. There is a variety of types of music found on this album ranging from rap, techno, dance, and some sampling of American oldies. Unlike previous albums, there are no ballads this time around, but that doesn’t hinder the value of the record at all. The 4th release is probably one of their most successful albums of all time.
The album starts off with a rap song called “Bbe Guk Bbe Guk”. The closest translation in English would be the sound that a creaking door makes. In this song, DJ DOC is saying that the world is turning while making this sound, a creaking sound. They say that society is all messed up, not caring for those who are in need and only thinking about themselves.
They talk about how when they watch the news all they see are politicians bickering and making empty promises; that the only way to survive in this type of world is with money and possessions and that being nice just doesn’t cut it. The song isn’t done in a gangster angry fashion, say like Tupac or Eminem. Though, their emotional response to the way the world is seen in their eyes is very apparent. The verses are dynamic as are the beats and they bring up good issues. Some are relevant to American society and others are more relevant to Korean society.
The album makes a shift in focus, as it does many times throughout the life of the CD, to a more somber rap mixed in with some techno beats in the second track. The second song, entitled “Ga Bu Reu” or “Go Away” is a rap song about how the speaker is greatly hurt by a girl that he loved and now wishes to never see her again. Again, the beats and flow of the lyrics are solid. Everything melds together very nicely and is one of the stronger tracks on the CD.
From here, the CD goes on a roller coaster ride when it comes to subject matter. There are a series of club dance songs and more happy songs that are prevalent in the Korean music industry. The one to note would be the seventh track entitled “DOC Wah Choom UelÃ¢Â?Â¦” or “Dance with DOCÃ¢Â?Â¦” This was a number one hit in Korea for some time. It incorporates both rap and singing and is a very upbeat song.
The song basically is a call for everyone to stop what they are doing, take some time and to just dance and be happy. They talk about how certain things have to be a certain way in Korea and ask why they have to be that way as long as the end result is the same. For example, one of the verses talks about how the speaker is looked down upon because of the way he uses chopsticks.
He asks, though, why the focus is on how he uses chopsticks instead of the fact that regardless he is eating well. The translation to English may sound odd, but that is because of cultural differences. This track is very upbeat as mentioned before, and was popular in the Korean community, but it could be hard to swallow for American listeners. They might pass it off as being a bit too childish sounding.
On top of the club dance music, with topics like partying and going to beaches, there are the more humorous tracks as well. An example would be track eleven entitled “5 Boon Dae Gee Jo” or “Before 5 Minutes”. The song is basically a narration of how the speaker is whipped by his new girlfriend and that when she calls, he’ll be there for her within 5 minutes no matter what he’s doing.
The rap is humorous as the speaker talks about how all his guy friends make fun of him and how desperately hard he tries to free himself but can’t get himself to do it. In the end, there is even a humorous twist as he marries her and tells her to prepare dinner in five minutes. It’s sexist yes, but it’s meant to be taken lightly.
From there, the songs get to be more serious again with the thirteenth track entitled “Mo Reu Get Su?” or “I Don’t Know”. This song basically brings forth all the confounding issues of Korean morality laws and also calls out some artists in the Korean music industry. Some issues that they bring up may seem trivial in America, but again, these are cultural differences and are hard to fully understand unless you are a Korean or have lived in the Korean culture for some time. Some of the more serious issues are issues of censorship.
They ask how a movie can start and finish with curse words but singers aren’t allowed to use them (in Korea, you are allowed to use curse words in your CDs; however you are not allowed to perform those songs if you do). Another issue they bring up is how there is so much backstabbing and shady business going around. They say that they cannot distinguish the “sheep from the wolves and the wolves from the sheep”.
There are other issues that are not as serious such as why it’s looked down upon kids to wear hip hop pants to school (all Korean schools require uniforms). They also call out an artist, whom they don’t name, but basically ask why they do the things that they do and tell them that they give other rappers a bad name.
The CD wraps up with a remix of the first song and an OUTRO, something popular in Korean CD’s. However, if there is one complaint about this CD, that would be the OUTRO. Basically it is someone they hired to speak for the whole track, sort of like an Intro but at the end of the CD. This doesn’t sound too bad except the fact that the person is speaking English the whole time throwing curse words left and right making no sense whatsoever.
True, these guys are known as the bad boys of Korea, but not like Tupac or Eminem or Dr. Dre. The last track sounds more like a wanna-be attempt at being a hard core gangster, something Korean artists are notorious for.
Aside from the minor cringe of the last track, all the other songs are pretty well done. There are a few songs that I wouldn’t hesitate in skipping, but there are far more songs that I would listen to. The good thing about this CD is that more than half the songs are enjoyable. The inconsistency of the subject matter does take away from a consistent flow of emotions, however that is very typical in the Korean music industry.
Their themes being that of questioning how Korean society works to how much fun going to the beach would be. As odd as it may sound, that’s the way it works. There is however a good mix of music all tied with the unifying rap verses in almost all the songs. There are good techno beats, dance beats, traditional Korean beats, and so on and so on.
All in all, this is probably one of their best albums every. Every track is solid minus one or two. If you’re trying to get into the Korean music scene or just want to try something new, this would be a good album to start. DJ DOC is a well known group in Korea and has been around for quite some time now. Even with their dealings with Korean censorship, they have a huge fan base and people love them regardless.