By Paris365 on January 17, 2013No comments
Infinite H is a duo consisting of Dong Woo and Hoya, the two rappers from the Korean boy band Infinite, the H in their moniker representing Hip-Hop. Fly High is their first mini-album, though they released their first single, "Crying," in 2011.
I was having a hard time wrapping my head around this one because hip-hop emphasizes the lyrics more than just about any genre of music and not being able to understand them was really preventing me from connecting with it. So, I hit up Google and managed to find English translations of the lyrics on http://kromanized.com/. And, I was very, very impressed. It was obvious from the sound of their voices that these guys weren't arrogant like so many Western rappers but it was only when I read the translations of their songs that I realized how poetic and romantic they are. And I mean that in a good way. Most of you are probably too young to remember LL COOL J's first hit, a little song called "I Need Love." It was literally the only rap song on pop radio during the days that it ruled the charts. It was different from everything I liked, being that I was mostly listening to rock and metal at the time, but I was fascinated by it. It was so poetic, probably more so than any song I'd ever heard at that point. And it was also so brutally honest, hearing this guy lay his heart on the line, admitting that he needs love. Sure, I'd heard plenty of metal singers say that before, but they never sounded particularly vulnerable and they usually meant it in a very sexual way. LL COOL J didn't sound like he was looking for sex at all. This was a guy who sounded like he'd be happy just to find a girl to hold hands with. I almost couldn't believe it. At the age I was, I was probably feeling the same way, but I wouldn't have dared to tell my friends that, less they think I was a wimp of some sort. Unfortunately, as the years went on, American hip-hop turned into something much darker, something much more sexual and often violent. Suffice to say I found it very refreshing when I discovered that Infinite H's mini-album was full of that sort of innocent, romantic narrative, a far cry from the latest material by Lil' Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Rick Ross, etc. No, this was definitely more like old school LL COOL J or Tupac's more romantic side. In a word, it was, well, beautiful.
Musically, Infinite H's sound often reminds me of early '90's hip-hop like House Of Pain and Cypress Hill with their punchy beats, little bits of guitar and lots of scratching. This is especially true of the jumpy opening track "Victorious Way," where the guys rap about their ambition, their passion for music. Here's a translation of some of the lyrics: "I go on my knees and pray, Lord, that's right, I hope for strength and the skills to win this all." It seems that wanting to be successful is the worst thing you could pin on these guys. And the final song here, which is the title track, is all about being thankful for their dreams coming true, so they're actually modest.
Tracks two, three and four are all about that romantic, poetic stuff I was talking about earlier. Here's a translation of part of the chorus to the Pharrell-ish "Special Girl," which is delivered by guest Bumkey: "beautiful girl, you're smiling next to me, I like you so much, you are dazzling, you are beautiful." And here's a lyric from "니가 없을 때" (translation: "Without You"), which features Zion T: "now if I look behind me, I feel like you'll be there, I feel like your cute hand is in my pocket, the pillow I hug to sleep seems to be just like you." I suppose some of you will find that sickeningly sweet, but I find it admirable. And, hey, if you don't know Korean you can listen to it for the solid beats and pretend they're babbling about sex and guns, if that's your thing. -Michael McCarthy