In 2013, Tiger JK, Yoon Mirae and Bizzy made their long-term musical partnership official with the creation the hip-hop supergroup MFBTY. The trio introduced themselves via the experimental EDM-rap hybrid single “Sweet Dream” and continue to explore new depths of hip-hop on their full-length album WondaLand. The journey begins on the intro track “Welcome to WondaLand” that’s a minute and a half blend of different voices, languages and beats; setting the scene for a musical experience that transcends what one’s come to expect from the Korean rap scene.
WondaLand single “Bang Diggy Bang Bang” is one of the best sonic representations of the theme with its mix of traditional Korean instruments with a thumping beat. Like their past releases, the banger shows off MFBTY’s mind-boggling rapid delivery, at times flowing out of the trio like comprehensible mumbling.
The single “Buckubucku” draws more influence from minimalist hip-hop with a simple trap beat that lets the listener focus ion on each MC’s cocky verses. “Buckubucku” also finds a way to transcend traditional rap releases by featuring rising rap acts Rap Monster of BTS, Dino-J, and SXSW 2015 standout performer EE. By giving a look to not only an idol rapper, but a rookie MC along with an experimental hip hop act shows MFBTY paying attention to the entire Korean music scene instead of just what’s topping the charts.
MFBTY also give their co-sign to a roster of diverse guests: Beast‘s Junhyung (who gets a chance to show off his rap skills on the digital boogie “Let It Go”), The Voice of Korea winner Sonnet Son (whose remarkable belting skills soar higher than ever on the emotional “ForePlay”), Korean rock legend Jeon In Kwon of Deulgukhwa (on reggae-tinged jam “Love and Peace” that wouldn’t sound of out of place on a Wyclef Jean album), popular rapper Dok2 (who drops a verse on the DJ Premiere-esque “Hollywho”) and beloved Toy singer-songwriter/television host You Heeyeol (who fits right in the uplifting, self-realizing “Hello Happy”).
But perhaps the most special (and surprising) co-sign comes on cut No. 10, “Dance Yes Yes Y’all,” credited to Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae’s seven-year-old son Jordan. According to reports, the youngster made the beat thinking the studio program was a video game. The couple may want to consider encouraging their kid to attempt a career in music; the beat’s pretty banging.
Undoubtedly, the trio shine on their WondaLand collaborations as a few strictly-MFBTY tracks like “6Am” and “Rebel Music,” fall a little flat production- and style-wise, but still feature impressive verses. Those looking for the best MFBTY should stick with “Bang Diggy Bang Bang,” “Half Time” or “Make It Last.”
Tiger and Yoon Mirae recently found themselves in the global spotlight when their “Pay Day” duet was used in the controversial film The Interview without their permission. If there’s any good that can come from the controversy, it could be that their new tunes have more potential than ever to reach a wider audience. And hopefully it does fall on new ears, WondaLand is one of the most universal Korean rap releases in recent mind with tracks, collaborations and flows that can appeal to and impress hip hop fans regardless of language or territory.