KARA Mumblecore: Youngji’s Whispery Rap

Fans of KARA’s lush new maknae Youngji (10 kilograms less lush than at debut, supposedly, but she still has an apple hip which, especially against her scarecrow bandmates, really counts for something) may nonetheless scratch their heads over their heroine’s exceptionally reedy rap sequence on comeback single “Cupid”:

For the discerning listener, K-pop has all sorts of objective advantages over Western pop music, but still, we may ask ourselves whether this isn’t pushing it.  This isn’t exactly Hyomin-level rapping after all.

I’ve debated whether to press on and make a bit of good-natured fun at Youngji’s precious rapping skills.  When she debuted with “Mamma Mia”, after all, she was just a glorified backup dancer with only two lines in the song.  Now she’s a tv celeb and pretty much the Hot Issue focus of the group, so they gave her a lot to do.  By formal criteria she’s not exactly blowing us away, but I’ve decided to indulge the pleasure of just letting Youngji be Youngji, which means we can blissfully accept just whatever she does.

And there is– let’s face it– something bizarrely sexy and intimate in all that whispery, fast-paced verbal fluttering.  Like breathy butterfly kisses from babyfat cheeks, Youngji’s rap is (not to sound smutty) the musical equivalent of a tipsy 2am semi-public makeout session.  I don’t know what it means, I don’t know where it’s going; but there’s something that just feels, uhm, right about the moment.  Don’t think:  just let it happen . . . .



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