Rap­per Zico’s dou­ble life

The Korea Times - - CULTURE - By Dong Sun-hwa sun­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Rap­per Zico used to live a “dou­ble life.”

He was rough and free-spir­ited on stage. Sport­ing glam­orous out­fits and ac­ces­sories, Zico over­whelmed the au­di­ence with ag­gres­sive raps and out­spo­ken lyrics. But when the rap­per went back to be­ing ordinary man Woo Ji-ho (Zico’s real name,) he was ut­terly dif­fer­ent.

“I looked quite delin­quent on stage, but in re­al­ity I was re­served and pas­sive,” Zico said dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view with The Korea Times at a res­tau­rant in Han­nam-dong, Seoul. “I don’t want to deny my wild im­age as it has high­lighted my pre­vi­ous mu­sic style. But from now on, I will ex­hibit my au­then­tic char­ac­ters.”

In fact, most songs that pro­pelled him and his group Block B to stardom — such as “Nillili Mambo” (2012) and “Her” (2014) — were bold and vi­brant.

But Zico, 27, re­vealed he has been lock­ing up Woo Ji-ho. The rap­per has been a worka­holic who de­votes him­self to mu­sic and gigs.

“I was ex­ces­sively into ‘Zico’ and wanted to sat­isfy ‘him.’ So I vir­tu­ally ne­glected ‘Woo Ji-ho,’ not even know­ing how to live as Woo,” he said. “But now I am seek­ing the bal­ance be­tween the two iden­ti­ties. As I con­tin­ued ig­nor­ing Woo, I reached an un­bear­able point where I re­al­ized there would be trou­ble if I didn’t open up my gen­uine emo­tions.”

Hence, he un­veiled his hid­den sides on his first stu­dio al­bum “THINK­ING Part.2,” which will hit shelves Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“The al­bum is less en­er­getic and wild than my pre­vi­ous tracks,” he said. “Some peo­ple might ex­pect me to re­lease the num­bers that match my orig­i­nal im­age, but I couldn’t con­tinue what I used to do in the past. I wasn’t in the mood for it.”

As he said, most tracks in his new 10-song EP are gloomy and maudlin. The PBR&B-fla­vored “One-man show” re­volves around fu­til­ity, while the groovy “Dystopia” cen­ters on pes­simism.

The calm lead song, “Be­ing left,” is a nar­ra­tive of a man feel­ing an ir­re­sistible yearn­ing af­ter a breakup. The lyrics sug­gest that his life has vir­tu­ally stopped since the sep­a­ra­tion. It reads: “Time seems odd these days. I am still liv­ing the day we parted. It’s right, I am not be­ing cool but I will alone keep the prom­ise that we will stay here.” The lines are poignant, but the melody is gen­tle.

“I would give 90 points out of 100 to my prod­uct this time,” Zico said. “It is com­posed of the num­bers that suit my taste and I’m con­tent with it. Although I was not gen­er­ous about my per­for­mance in the past, this time, my greed has been re­duced.” Still, the rap­per is ag­o­niz­ing. “As I worked on the EP, I distressed my­self over my thirst and hap­pi­ness, but haven’t fig­ured out the an­swers. I still can’t de­fine them, but dis­cov­ered some clues.” But he did not elab­o­rate.

When it comes to Zico’s mu­si­cal prow­ess, he has been ac­claimed since he was an un­der­ground rap­per. He is also dubbed one of the best rap­pers on the K-pop scene, with many peo­ple pick­ing his ear-catch­ing rap and skill­ful beats as virtues. None­the­less, as a celebrity, he also has fallen prey to ru­mors and ma­li­cious com­ments.

“Life as a celebrity is some­times de­mand­ing, but this is what I have to take,” Zico said.

Rap­per Zico

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