NCT 2018 Drops Beastly 'Black on Black' Performance Featuring All 18 Members

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NCT 2018, "Black on Black"

After several previous music videos off of their Empathy album, the 2018 lineup of K-pop crew NCT released their dance-focused video for “Black on Black” on Wednesday (April 18). 

Featuring tight, animalistic choreography, “Black on Black” serves as an aggressive visual testament to NCT’s modus operandi as a single entity made up of many parts. A booming electro-dance track featuring roars and highly distorted vocals, the song is built around bringing all 18 men together for the dynamic dance moves featured in the music video. It is dubbed part of SM’s unique SMP, or SM Performance, subgenre. The single was originally released on March 14 on the NCT 2018 Empathy album, and its music video is the first time all 18 members of NCT are featured in the same clip.

Compared to other Empathy releases, the video is intensely spartan and focuses on the stylized movements of the dozen and a half teens and 20-somethings dressed in all black as they accost their monochromatic surroundings with powerful, acrobatic dance moves recalling the animal world. Rappers Taeyong, Lucas, and Mark dominate the song as the only three individuals with clear-cut verses, while Jeno, Yuta and NCT’s youngest Jisung, take center stage during different parts of the group choreography. While the performance for “Black on Black” focuses on NCT’s unity, member Ten, the only NCT-er to have released solo singles, holds his own during a solo dance break.   

With the release of “Black on Black,” NCT 2018 bring their multi-month promotional cycle for the EP to a close. Empathy’s promotions kicked off with the charismatic “Boss” in February, which was followed by the sensual “Baby Don’t Stop,” the riotous “Go,” the romantic “Touch,” and the dreamy “Yestoday.” Separate from the Empathy series, Ten also released “New Heroes” in the first week of March.

Begun in 2016 as a limitless group without a set size or musical style, SM Entertainment’s NCT entity currently features 18 members, the majority of whom are part of secondary groups NCT U, NCT Dream and NCT 127. “Black on Black” serves as the formal debut of member Kun, who had not previously had a role in the group’s music aside from the Chinese version of NCT U’s “Without You” in 2016.

Despite its anachronistic, shifting formation, a first in K-pop, NCT has proven immensely popular internationally and placed at No. 76 on the Artist 100 chart for the week of April 14.