One of the most recognized producer duos in Korea and a talented rapper doing an entire collaboration album? Sign me up!
Leellamarz’s previous album Marz 2 Ambition was one of the best K-Hip Hop albums of the year, released only four months ago. It really shows how hard he works on his albums; he rarely stops working and releasing music.
Not only was this collaboration album a very exciting prospect, but the end result doesn’t disappoint either. Of course the album is not perfect, but it once again shows Leellamarz’s flair for rapping, as well as GroovyRoom’s ever growing arsenal of beats and melodies.
As a final note, I’d like to say that for people that do not enjoy auto-tune, this album, and Leellamarz in general, might not be suited for your musical taste.
01. “Room Service”
The song does its title justice as it fits the theme perfectly. The piano and slow drum beat really make you feel like you’re in a room alone, sitting on a couch and slouching off, waiting for room service to come. The TV sounds at the beginning also emphasize this. Marzs easy-going tone sets the mood just as well, his voice doesn’t attack your ears even during his faster raps, and at no point are you thrown off from the chill feeling the song gives off.
A downside is how short it is, at only 2:35, and the song doesn’t start right away either so it’s even less but that is because it’s most likely supposed to be an intro. This can also be seen as a good thing, too, since it doesn’t start feeling stale because of how fast it finishes. You’re left with a quick chill tune that passes you by like a warm breeze.The other thing that bugged me a bit was that every time ‘Room Service’ was sung, it had this strange backing vocal that was a bit off-putting, though it’s not a very big thing when looking at the song as a whole.
02. “도시생활 (City Life) “
Continuing on what the intro had built up, the tune switches from a piano to a soft guitar and a stronger rap from Leellamarz. Just as the intro made you feel like you were waiting for Room Service, this song throws you into the world of the concrete jungle called New York and it’s buzzing city life. The hook is so softly sung with the melody emphasising the relaxing atmosphere even more. It does become somewhat repetitive as you listen to it, with the hook having only that single “shipji-anji” lyric repeating over and over. The rap itself is enjoyable but there is more singing than rapping which leaves you wanting more rap at the end of the song.
The song obviously hits the spot when it comes to the atmosphere, but lacks the musicality and rapper’s touch that might make it even more enjoyable.
03. “In My Room”
Somehow, this song keeps the melow feel of the album while still having quite a bit of stronger rapping, spitting some real bars. The auto-tune is something that doesn’t really fit with this type of music but it nevertheless improves the sound of his rap. The melody is most definitely the thing keeping the feel of the song so easy-going while his rapping goes in the complete opposite direction. Fortunately, they do not clash and instead emphasize each other that much more making for quite an interesting listen.
This song is also a bit on the short side but it isn’t really that noticeable unless you actually read the timestamps.
04. “염색 (Color)”
In Color, the vibe changes slightly from very calm to sexy and elegant enhanced by latin sounds. The feature of the track Youra enhances the sensual feel of the song by adding a feminine voice to the mix, it’s a very well chosen feature, too, as Youra has a really soft voice and delivers it all in her own unique way that is sure to get you into the mood of the whole song even more. Marz stays stable with both his slow rapping and a bit of singing, nothing to brag about but definitely not bad. A solid song throughout, I really enjoyed the style it offered up and I wish more songs would take the sexy and elegant route like this one.
Probably my favorite track from the album, the minimalistic nature of the melody as well as sparing use of the piano enhance how well both Marz and Sik-K rap. The theme of the song is once again perfectly shown to the listener – ‘love and hardship’. The text itself is somewhat questionable… but it gets the message over in its own kind of way. The way the auto-tune is utilized only during the chorus is commendable, as it doesn’t feel overused and really enhances the core message of the song. There isn’t much to say about it as it’s a very enjoyable song. When I look at it, everything fits, from the artists to the melody… this is the type of chill song that I really enjoy, a bit on the sad side but still relaxing (not to mention 2 of my current favorite rappers in the industry).
From one slowish song to the next, in a similar manner to “Pass” this song is down tempo, with a very deep bass. It utilizes the opposite effect from what “Pass” did, with auto-tune being used in most parts besides the chorus, once again emphasizing it. A very enjoyable piece of the song is the acapella part that Marz does near the end of the track, a nice breather from the somewhat monotone melody. “Facetime” doesn’t do as good of a job setting its theme in place and the whole song starts feeling repetitive halfway through but still manages to impress with a catchy hook. It’s not a bad song by a stretch but it’s not the best either.
07. “Pick up your phone”
The moment the song started, I felt like I’d already heard it before, and that is most likely cause it sounds like a lot of the “Coffee” themed songs you can find around. It’s not really a good thing since it already got stale after a few listens. This time around Marz sounds less energetic, particularly in the hooks, but the well chosen feature by Moon immeasurably improves this song. She contrasts his lack of energy with beautiful vocals that fit the melody very nicely. Although the hook is lacking, the rest of his raps are electrifying, with the auto-tune serving as a very nice tool to amplify his voice, it ends up sounding really nice for the most part.
08. “Kick That”
“Kick That” is definitely the song that deviates the most from the rest of the album, it somehow still manages to feel mellow though, mostly because of how the constantly changing melody keeps your ears working. GroovyRoom really did a great job at producing this entire song, it’s very rap oriented and Marz uses that to the fullest at every turn. The hook and text isn’t anything complicated, which just makes the song easier to listen to, especially since Jay Park also makes an appearance. As he is known for having a lot of English lyrics in his own songs, his rap goes just as well with the beat and is a welcome addition. All of these things are great, but the song still feels repetitive because of how overused the “Kick that” phrase is. That single element really reduces the enjoyment you might get otherwise.
09. “Wild Wild”
There really isn’t a lot to say about this one… The rapping is some of the worst I’ve heard from him. There is absolutely no energy put into most of the rapping, especially the hook. This alongside the minimal amount of melody just makes the song feel uninspired. The “Wild Wild” hook gets old even after just hearing it once. Thankfully the song is short so the lack of enjoyment doesn’t last long.
10. “Violin Freestyle”
Seeing as this was a legit freestyle made in the studio, it isn’t bad, but it’s in no way a quality song. A violin being used in rap is basically unheard of, and it’s a pretty good fit, but that’s where the pros end for this song. The constant screeching of “Gang, Gang, Gang” is one of the worst sounds I’ve heard in a song, as well as the way the song ends. I can see a lot of things that could have been changed in this song but just weren’t and it ended up like this – hardly enjoyable.
Fortunately, the album does not end on a low note, his rapping is deserving of praise in this one cause he really shows us that rap isn’t just spitting random things that rhyme together, but also uses alternating rap speeds as well as timing to enhance it. The rap being this good masks how simple the melody is, but not quite enough as it still ends up feeling sluggish. Add in The Quiett, and it just gets worse. He is a great rapper, but damn is he slow in every verse. Kid Milli, on the other hand, does the exact opposite, but it’s not enough to keep it from feeling slow unfortunately. All in all, not a bad song, but it has that giant flaw that makes it less enjoyable.
In conclusion the album itself has quite a few high quality tracks that I’ll definitely be listening to for a long time but also has some filler tracks that were not up to snuff but still made it. In essence you don’t have to listen to these tracks but I feel they drag down how good this album actually is… It’s a new type of music that Marz explored so the fact that it’s not perfect is expected and in the end we can see that he does fit well with chiller tunes just as much as he does with uptempo ones.