Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Loco x Hwasa – Don’t Give It to Me

Korean rapper and singer remind us of basically everyone…


Juan F. Carruyo : Bluesy intro straight off an ’80s blues record–the chorus effect is the tell–then it dovetails into Mariah circa “Fantasy,” by which I mean breathy diva offset by rap interludes that don’t threaten to overtake the singer’s authority. Then, we get a reggae outro. Good shtick. 

Iain Mew: Appropriately missing: that sweet, that funky stuff. 

Jonathan Bogart: The lightly syncopated, tasteful guitar-licking intro put me in mind of Eric Clapton’s “Change the World.” The rest of it didn’t do enough to wash that taste out of my mouth.

Crystal Leww: Loco’s nasally raps come across as sneers rather than romantic, Hwasa whispers to no effect, and this backing production is like lite Santana. While I, too, yearn for the early aughts rap-sung pop duets, this is like a meme where ‘The Man She Told You Not to Worry About’ is Ja Rule and Ashanti, and “Don’t Give It to Me” is Jhene Aiko and Big Sean in Twenty88. Yikes.

Alex Clifton: Man, I wish this were just a Hwasa solo song. Her voice slinks right along and it sounds so easy and I found myself losing myself entirely in the song. Then Loco appeared with a flat delivery and it completely took me out of the moment, and it was hard to recover. It’s a shame how much it unspools after his verse, but the first uninterrupted minute or so was glorious.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: I appreciate how watching Hyena on the Keyboard, the show from which this song spawned, grants “Don’t Give It to Me” a bit more depth. I like how the episode begins with the different musicians drinking “wine” that turns out to just be grape juice, I like how Loco plays a voice recording of himself drunkenly singing the chorus of “Post It,” I like seeing the two leads flirting with each other. These moments make it feel like the song–one about abstaining from alcohol to avoid falling in love–was actually birthed from the show naturally, and Loco saying Hwasa’s real name during his verse feels slightly more personal. While the guitar tone brings to mind Dean’s “Instagram,” this is an identifiable Woogie production a la Sik-K’s “Ring Ring,” Jay Park’s “Stay With Me,” and Loco’s own “Still.” Unfortunately, Loco’s voice sounds harsh in comparison to Hwasa’s, and it takes one out of the song’s intended bar room haze. The active bass line that appears partially alleviates the issue, but it also makes the song feel disjointed. Very welcome is the switch to reggae, but it ultimately makes the final third of “Don’t Give It to Me” feel like an overlong coda, especially since the official audio doesn’t find the two vocalizing at the same time. What should snap everything into place only leaves one wanting and unsatisfied: surprisingly appropriate?

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One Response to “Loco x Hwasa – Don’t Give It to Me”

  1. Miss Blackface herself