With six years and four full Korean albums under their belts, NCT-127 has made one thing very clear: their sound is unpredictable. The nine-piece K-pop group – a sub-unit of the South Korean boyband – often fuses genres and instruments in innovative ways, and their latest album, 질주 (2 badies)is no exception.
Released on September 16, the album, as the guys describe it, draws more on hip-hop music than any project they’ve launched before. Although hip-hop is the foundation, with memorable rap verses in most of the songs, plenty of other genres are scattered throughout. 질주 (2 badies) Such as R&B, pop and drill. And in proper NCT 127 fashion, no single track looks alike.
Through the album’s 12 tracks, listeners travel across a vast soundscape. On the first four tracks alone, the group advances low notes (the opening track is “faster”) to transition to the booming, electric title track “(2 Baddies)”, then slows down to R&B on “Time Lapse” and a mix of R&B and UK rehearsal. on “Crash Landing”. Other songs have a lighter pop sound, such as “The Designer” and the last track “1,2,7 (time stops)”. Inclusive, (질주 2 badies) Seems like a more comprehensive project showing their scope as a group.
With a balance of cheerful, relaxed jingles and more emotional fan-focused clips, there’s something for everyone, explaining why NCT 127 has become a mainstay in the Korean music scene. Rappers Mark and Taeyong also contributed to writing lyrics for Time Labs and Designer, adding more personal flair to the group.
In October of this year, they will play two coastal duo shows in Los Angeles and New York, and this will be their first time in the US as a group since 2019. Prior to their return, GRAMMY.com met all 127 players at NCT (DOYOUNG, HAECHAN, JAEHYUN, JOHNNY, JUNGWOO, MARK, TAEIL, TAEYONG, YUTA) via Zoom for discussion (질주 2 badies) and their tour. Even through the computer, the players’ energy is magnetic – they’re clearly excited to be reunited with fans and share this new chapter in their careers.
where is the address 질주 (2 badin) comes from?
Marker: It is the meaning of what we are trying to present. 질주 in English means high speed. It certainly goes well with the Porsche concept we came up with. We’ve made a point about going as fast as we can to our goal without caring what the world might put before us or any opinions people might have.
We only focus on what we live in our dreams. This situation was very difficult for us in the song, so that’s what we wanted to portray and put into the song.
How does this album feel different from your previous releases?
Johnny: Each song has a more hip-hop sound than before. You can really tell how much time it took to create the album. The quality is very high and all of our members’ vocals are well portrayed throughout the album as well.
What’s different is definitely that “질주 (2 Baddies)” will be the performance in my opinion. There are a lot more smiles than the other songs we’ve shaped. I think our fans will really notice how much fun we have while performing. This has to be the biggest difference from the other songs we’ve had before.
You guys are doing two shows in the US, and this will be your first time doing in America since 2019. Are you excited? Do you have anything special planned for the shows?
Jihyun: We’re definitely excited because it’s been so long since we’ve been to the States. We have prepared a lot for the concert and are coming up with a new album, so I think it will be added as a new album the thing to do on tour.
MARK and TAEYONG, you both wrote “Interval” and “Designer”. Can you talk more about your contributions to these two songs and how the rap-making process was?
Marker: “Interval” and “Designer” are two completely different songs. For each song, we wanted to combine our different interpretations of the song. How we all took our verses – for example, for “interval”, the way we saw loneliness and the dreaded feeling of loneliness the whole time was different from him and me.
It’s also kind of related to our dreams. It’s always fun to write with him. It really shows our strong differences too. Things like that really make writing rap songs more fun. I think it came out beautifully.
Do you guys have a favorite track from the album?
Utah: “2 badies”.
Heishan: “2 badies”.
Taeyong: the address.
What makes everyone say that?
Marker: this is good.
Are there any new types you guys have tried this time?
Taeyong: “Faster” is really a low tone. The song begins with a low note and ends with a low note. It’s the first time we’ve worked on a song like this.
What story are you trying to tell in this album?
Marker: As I said, for “2 Baddies”, the meaning of the song fits perfectly with the word “high-speed”. That’s why we put a high-speed translation into Korean as the title. Having that as the title track for the entire album actually sets the tone for all the other songs in the playlist.
The other songs are about “2 Baddies”. For example, “Faster” is pretty much an extended version of “2 Baddies” in my opinion. That’s why “Fastest” and “Wicked 2” are ranked together there. Organizing our albums in this kind of way made the whole album very well packaged.
The music video for “2 Baddies” looked fun to shoot. Do you have any memories of photographing it?
Johnny: Filming it was definitely fun. There were a lot of new things we tried. The main color of the music video is very neon. There were a lot of neon dots.
It was like a cyberpunk feeling in the entire music video. That’s why there was so much fun. We tried to incorporate all those new colors and new patterns. We had hanging cars trying to make [it] More futuristic in all . It was so much fun.
Do you have any new goals for the future?
Jihyun: Let’s have fun while performing, guys.
Marker: We just want to have fun.
Jihyun: We always enjoy performing “2 Baddies”.
Johnny: It’s been a long time. It’s been a year – almost two years – since our last comeback [music release]. We’ve prepared a lot for this album, in terms of music, visually, just everything.
Hope our fans will enjoy the album. I really hope they enjoy it as much as we do. We just want to thank our fans around the world who will listen and thank you for waiting so long.