After four years since the release of his second full-length album ‘Heavy Deep’, Deepflow has returned with the album ‘양화’ [Yanghwa].
VMC’s head Deepflow, who is one of the pillars of Korean hiphop, debuted in 2003 and has simpleheartedly pursued his own music in the underground. He, who has breathed alongside Korean hiphop history, has released his memoirs that contain his impressions and future aspirations in the form of his third full-length album ‘Yanghwa’ that is made up of fifteen tracks.
Following his countless footprints between Yeongdeungpo and Hongdae,
his third full-length album ‘Yanghwa’ tells of the struggle he has felt as rapper ‘Deepflow’ in Hongdae, of the life with his family in Yeongdeungpo and the society’s opinion, and of the thoughts he swallowed everyday when crossing the Yanghwa Bridge that connects the two [districts] as well as narrative stories of the two places. As recently evident by the popularity of ‘Show Me the Money’ and the dispute about it, the Korean hiphop scene has grown by going through ups and downs since its very beginning. Those who have constantly followed Deepflow’s activities, who knows the core of the dispute better than anyone else and who has steadily kept his spot [in the scene], will be able to think about his worries together with him.
On the album feature C-Luv, Sean2slow, 360Sounds’ DJ Soulscape, Just Music’s Vasco, Hi-Lite Records’ Huckleberry P, Soulman, Kayon, Chaboom, Dragon A.T, Satbyeol, Woo Hyemi, as well as Vismajor’s Don Mills, Nucksal, ODEE, Wutan, and VEN. Except for track ten that was produced by Brand New Music’s Assbrass, all tracks were produced by VMC’s TK and Deepflow himself, an impressive fact.
01. 열반 [Nirvana].
The intro that expresses Deepflow’s thoughts about the negative aspect of Korean hiphop as if he was a philosopher. “The Han River that divides my reality and my dreams, I am still standing in between them, Yanghwa.”1)Reference to the Yanghwa Bridge that spans over the Han River and connects his reality with family in Yangdeungpo with his dreams of music in Hongdae. It portrays what ‘Yanghwa’ is about and starts the album off with a heavy sound.
02. 불구경 [Bystander].
Track two takes up the intro’s topic again and intensifies it. Deepflow shows his point of view of the current [Korean] hiphop scene, from whose rappers he wishes that they acknowledge the different tastes that exist in the scene and that they let them coexist [peacefully]. He does so not by taking on a critical standpoint and saying that he will step on them to raise up higher, but by mocking them and making fun of them. It is Deepflow’s very own trap music on a strong beat where he emphasizes his own differentiated approach.
03. 낡은 신발 [Old Shoes] (Feat. Taewan, Sean2slow)
This track expresses Deepflow’s proud footsteps of the way he has come, using old shoes as a metaphor. It is their joint work, they who aim for honest and real swag towards themselves by means of Taewan’s resolute chorus leading to Sean2slow’s straightforward and harsh rap. The following narration in a taxi that starts its drive in Yeongdeungpo, marks the start of the fourth track. Even the taxi driver knows that Deepflow looks good.
04. 잘 어울려 [Looks Good].
By actually referring to the names of current well-off rappers, this pre-released track mentions that their music and Deepflow’s music look good on their respective self. This track has caused an uproar with its mocking rap game after its MV had been released, which looks very good on Deepflow.
05. 당산대형 [Fists of Fury] (Feat. DJ Soulscape, Don Mills, VASCO)
The track tells of Deepflow as the ‘big brother’ of the hiphop scene and features two other big brothers: 360Sounds’ DJ Soulscape, and Just Music’s Vasco. Don Mills, who follows the big brother Sanggoo,2)Deepflow’s real name has also participated, giving pressure by saying “Sanggoo-hyung is here, why aren’t your hands up?!”
06. 작두 [Guillotine] (Feat. 넉살, Huckleberry P)
With a sound on a rough drumline that reminds of shamanic music, the track pictures the three rappers being possessed on the beat. VMC’s ‘nuckleflow’ Nucksal and Hi-Lite’s ‘alter ego’ Huckleberry P feature on this track that shows off a sparking flow.
07. 빌어먹을 안도감 [Damned Feeling of Relief] (Feat. ODEE)
Together with his Hongdae homie, VMC’s ODEE, Deepflow vents on the ‘Damned Feeling of Relief’ that he feels every time he goes to Hongdae, the musical hometown. It is a track about Deepflow’s spiritual home Hongdae, where his same friends are all the time and where he always goes back to, even after going around Itaewon, Shinsa, Gangnam Station, and Apgujeong.
08. 나 먼저 갈게 [I’ll Leave First].
This song expresses the loneliness of ‘Ryu Sanggoo'3)Deepflow’s real name when rapper ‘Deepflow’ leaves the nightly Hongdae for Yeongdeungpo. In this track, Deepflow who came over to Hongdae in track four ‘Looks Good’ prepares to leave for his life’s base, Yeongdeungpo.
09. 양화 [Yanghwa] (Feat. Soulman)
The track deals with thoughts that ‘Deepflow’ swallowed on the nightly way home from Hongdae to Yeongdeungpo while crossing Yanghwa Bridge over the Han River that flows between Gangbuk and Gangnam. It stands in the center of the album and gives it weight. Deepflow’s efforts of the past decade that are carved into Yanghwa Bridge, which links to his dreams, are massively contained in the track. Soulman’s deep voice doubles the track’s effect.
10. 역마 [Itchy Feet]
With a vibe that continues that of the previous track ‘Yanghwa’ by Brand New Music’s producer Assbrass, this track asks the question “What is a ‘realistic’ life?” via Deepflow’s life with itchy feet. For humans, the word ‘move’, transferring one’s residence, has a lot of meanings and within that transfer, the keyword ‘dream’ cannot be missing. In the end, is making that dream come true easier said than done?
11. Cliche (Feat. Kayon, Chaboom)
The track ‘Cliche’ expresses the feelings of helplessness and injustice that Deepflow feels caused by the cliches people have about living in Korea. Same-aged rapper Kayon and Chaboom also expressed being sick of those who live according to ‘how it’s supposed to be’.
12. Deadline (Feat. VEN)
This track, on which Vismajor’s VEN features, is about Deepflow’s resolution to go his way without giving in to the public opinion that decides on success and failure as it pleases. The pre-released lyrics video with Kim Ki-eon’s calligraphy has received favorable reviews saying that it expresses Deepflow’s serious lyrics very well.
13. 개로(開路) [New Way] (Feat. Dragon A.T, Satbyeol)
In this track, Deepflow cheers himself on by repeating over and over that even in the tough environment he grew up in, which he compares to a ghetto, he was able to open a way [for himself]. It is like a confessional hiphop track in which he honestly tells of what he went through, and it is even more eye-catching thanks to featurings by Dragon A.T and Satbyeol.
14. Bucket List (Feat. Woo Hyemi)
After returning to Yeongdeungpo, Deepflow expresses his delicate feelings towards his father as the son of one family’s head. This is the album’s title track. It is an autobiographical track that is completed by Woo Hyemi’s mournful and emotive voice. Due to her characteristic tone color and stage manners on Voice Korea Season 1, Deepflow asked Woo Hyemi to participate on the track.
15. 가족의 탄생 [Birth of a Family] (Feat. Don Mills, Wutan)
The last track depicts the birth of Deepflow’s crew VMC and their tight bond. It finishes the album off by showing a process of growth and with featurings by his as-good-as-real brothers VMC’s Don Mills and Wutan, chosen by a ‘vis major’.
The cover artwork of ‘Yanghwa’ was made by artwork director Row Digga on the basis of an original artwork by Studio Pivote’s Lee Jeongsoo and a calligraphy by Kim Ki-eon. Row Digga not only has produced the album covers for Loco’s ‘높아’ [High], Jay Park’s ‘lotto’, Jang Hyejin’s ‘#BBD’ and various other Korean album covers, but he also leads the label VMC along with Deepflow and Wutan.
By pre-releasing the singles ‘데드라인’ [Deadline] in October 2014 and ‘잘어울려’ [Looks Good] last February, Deepflow has raised hiphop fans’ expectations. On May 23, a release concert for the album will take place at Hongdae’s Sangsangmadang Live Hall and on 17, the album will be released offline.
Deepflow’s profile on HIPHOPKR
Translator Notes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Reference to the Yanghwa Bridge that spans over the Han River and connects his reality with family in Yangdeungpo with his dreams of music in Hongdae.|
|2, 3.||↑||Deepflow’s real name|