K-pop boy band iKON is ready to begin again with new singles “Bling Bling” and “B-Day.”
The Korean septet returned on Monday (May 22) with a pair of dual singles off of New Kids: Begin, the first of several planned releases under the New Kids name. iKON reinforce their hip hop leanings with the swaggering “Bling Bling,” while the “B-Day” is an explosive dance track filled with energy.
The uptempo “B-Day” draws on rock and electro-pop for its melody. It’s propelled by a bombastic choral hook as the seven men emulate the buzzing of bees, a reference to how they’re enjoying life. (“I’m making money while I suck this honey,” raps Bobby.)
As fun as “B-Day” is with its upbeat feel good vibe, “Bling Bling” is boastful anthem all about iKON’s past and future successes. “Any humility in our bones is dead” raps B.I in the first verse, opening the bass-driven song up to the rest of it’s blustering lyrics, which are all about how iKON is hot stuff.
The hip hop elements are nothing new for iKON, but are a nice return to their pre-debut days. Prior to debuting in 2015 with the release of their Welcome Back album, members of iKON showed their preference for rap and hip hop through several competition shows, including WIN: Who Is Next, which resulted in the formation of Winner, and Mix and Match, through which iKON themselves were formed. Bobby and B.I also appeared on Show Me the Money 3, a popular rap competition show, in 2014; Bobby won the overall competition.
“B-Day” and “Bling Bling” were each written in part by member B.I and Bobby, who worked with several other songwriters on the two tracks. New Kids: Begin is the group’s first single album since their debut with Welcome Back in 2015, and marks a new start for the group. B.I told Korean outlet Yonhap that the two tracks feel like iKON’s attempt at a do-over for their debut, with the type of music being what they have “always wanted to do.”
Not only did they release new music, but several members of iKON also switched up their stage names for their new beginning. B.I, Bobby, and Ju-ne remain the same, but moving forward Jinhwan, Chanwoo, Donghyuk, and Yunhyeong will be known as Jay, Chan, DK, and Song, respectively.
New Kids: Begin is the first of a larger New Kids release series that will eventually be united as one album, a release strategy that YG Entertainment has increasingly used with their acts.
Each of the new singles were released with a corresponding music video. “Bling Bling” features a dance-heavy video showing the group reveling in the partying lifestyle the song describes, whereas “B-Day” pairs technology and temple ruins in a variety of sets before turning the seven members of iKON into bees. Watch the music videos for “B-Day” and “Bling Bling” below: