Going into this review, I didn’t know much about DPR Live, a South Korean rapper under Dream Perfect Regime (DPR). DPR itself is a group known mostly for their music videos and the popular Eung Freestyle. And from their website, it seems DPR Live is the only artist currently creating content. About a month ago, he released an album, Coming to You Live, that featured solid talent: Crush, Jay Park, and DEAN to name only a few. Most of the songs are singles and their corresponding music videos, most released over the past half year (for DPR Live, the music videos seem just as important as the tracks themselves in terms of the overall vision). THE CUT has also released this short documentary about the process of creating the album.
I thought Coming to You Live was a good release overall and was most drawn to the Loco/Jay Park feature, “Right Here Right Now.” I think it represents well what DPR Live is all about, mixing blaring synths and basslines (which sometimes left an empty and overwhelming impression usually associated with undermixing, a problem throughout the album) with the latest trends in underground South Korean R&B and Hip-Hop. DPR Live’s style of rap is nothing new but it’s a solid effort and he does it well and can only improve. I really enjoyed Loco’s verse and it added a sort of smooth bumbling to the jarring beat, a nice contrast to DPR Live’s precise and biting style. The musical shift before Jay Park’s part seemed to break up the flow and stumbled a bit with its pedestrian production. But when Jay Park starts singing, I’m able to forget that a little. He adds a smooth sweetness and emotionality to the track in a very Jay Park sort of way and I only wish that he had a longer feature. Though, because the production is a little empty, Jay Park’s voice doesn’t seem to have enough foundation to make as much of an impact as it could have.
I think Coming to You Live is an interesting first project. It definitely feels more like an iteration than a fully realized album but there is something intriguing about its overall impression of being self-produced and the ability of DPR Live to assemble such a strong group of collaborators for his first effort. I am especially into the mix of Korean, American, and Korean American talent and how they craft songs using both Korean and English, creating rhyming schemes and lyrical connections that only Konglish can produce. I’m excited to see DPR Live improve on the next project and make even better songs with talented collaborators.
As for the music video, “Right Here Right Now” has some interesting ideas going on and I especially like the unsettling distortion of images and how they sometimes blend one into another (It seems really reminiscent of DEAN’s instagram posts and I wonder if he is also somehow involved in DPR besides the “Know Me” feature). However, this does seem like a common theme I’m starting to see in South Korean music videos as of late. DPR often uses very aesthetic images and colors, especially the very popular (and common) blue/pink contrast. Doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Just that I’m not sure it’s bringing anything new to the game. From a visual standpoint, my favorite MV from Coming to You Live is the DEAN feature, “Know Me.”