1punch turn me back feature
The ’90s nostalgia wave finally hit Korea last year and it’s been steadily growing to the point that it could turn into the defining K-pop trend of 2015, much like disco and sexy concepts have dominated previous years.

We’ve already seen a bunch of ’90s-themed K-pop releases (from ToppDogg’s “Annie” to A Pink’s “LUV” and GOT7’s everything), but nobody has channelled the era with the vigorous dedication of Brave Brothers’ new male duo 1PUNCH.

Made up of 20-year-old One and 13-year-old Punch (I’m not kidding), 1PUNCH is literally a Korean version of ’90s kiddie rap duo Kris Kross (Jump! Jump!)–their entire image and sound is built around ’90s hip-hop culture.

The closest thing we have to 1PUNCH right now would be Japan’s incredible Especia; although, Especia are more creative in that they’ve based themselves on the niche genres of muzak and vaporwave, which has separated the group from all the other retro revivalists around right now.

1PUNCH have gone for the more obvious aspects of the decade and taken it on to the point that it becomes an absurd parody. Their first single-album, The Anthem, opens with a sax-y rap track that name-drops Tommy Hilfiger, Biggie, Nas’ Illmatic, Rakim, and Kris Kross (duh), while the music video for lead single “Turn Me Back” is filled with every piece of ’90s hip-hop memorabilia you can think of.

It’s so OTT that the whole thing makes T-ara’s “Yayaya” look like the fucking KBS Symphony Orchestra by comparison.

To drive my point home even further: Iggy Azalea and Vanilla Ice are basically black and living in huts on the motherland compared to the level of fuckery going on in 1PUNCH.

It’s to the point where a strong case for cultural appropriation could be made (and I hate to even bring up that overused PC term), but it’s too ridiculous to take it seriously enough to make those kinds of accusations.

HOWEVER, with that said, “Turn Me Back” is an undeniably INCREDIBLE song.

Seriously.

It’s so good that I’d recommend people listen to the MP3 before watching the MV, just to appreciate what a fantastic piece of pop music this is without having their judgement clouded by such a silly concept.

“Turn Me Back” is like the best bits of every single ’90s song you ever heard all rolled into one. It’s Seo Taiji and Boys’ “I Know” meets Wreckx-N-Effect and Bobby Brown. It’s Italo House in flannel shirts and Timberlands. It’s ToppDogg’s “Annie” on Kool-Aid and Jolt Cola!

As far as commercial music goes, I don’t know who the hell is going to be able to make a better ’90s nostalgia song than this in 2015.

Also, as for the concept, I do love it in an ironic so-bad-it’s-good way, I just hate that a song this good could be turned into a joke from the visuals alone.

Anyway, it’s nice to see King Brave Brothers already smashing 2015 with some hot new sounds (first “Wiggle Wiggle,” now this!). Everything BB touches turns to SLAY, so I hope that 1PUNCH is just part of a larger boy band who are gonna save music and crush YG’s already overrated iKON this year.

Part of me feels guilty for loving this, but god damn, what a song.


  • MIKEE

    The only reason I even listened to this song was because, as joke, I thought I would watch their performance on one of the music shows, and they fucking slayed so hard! First of all Punch is so freaking adorable I can’t even and One is actually a decent rapper. I LOVE the 90’s and I truly believe it was the last and final decade of great music, or great anything for that matter, so the fact that they really 100% committed to the whole look and vibe of the decade makes me so happy.

    I with you about the cultural appropriation, it is hard to take it THAT seriously. My feeling is that if you’re going to jack from another culture, at least have a badass tune to back it up (unlike Igloo and Meghan Needs a Personal Trainor) and they definitely do.
    I worship Brave and I seriously can’t wait for his next release omg.

    P.S. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the random black guy they added into the MV for that extra bit of street cred lmao! You could tell he didn’t know what the fuck was happening before his eyes.

    • KingBeaArthur

      I was curious about the black guy too! He either didn’t know what was going on, received a year’s supply of kimchi, or was being forced by the mob to appear as a favor to ultimate gangsta Brave!!! Either way, his appearance was everything.

      • MIKEE

        Omg he is so iconic! Best part of the MV tbh.

  • KingBeaArthur

    Your suggestion to listen to the song 1st DEFINITELY helped things! The song is legitimately amazing! Brave delivered above and beyond.

    Now the concept…I like it it. I love most things 90s and I’ve gotten to the point where Korea’s take on Western trends/cultures, 9 times out of 10, don’t bother me anymore (however, I will never forgive what Jason Derulo did to Hello Venus!). One is too adorable to be offended by, although Punch should’ve ridden solo for “Nightmare” imo.

  • Kitsu-Ken

    Luckily, I didn’t watch the MV of ‘Turn Me Back’ the first run (I was on another tab listening to it) and fell in love with the song instantly, It’s such a jam and the choreography is so fun. I’m so happy that 1Punch exist right now, I want them to be rookie of the year (but something tells me iKon will get it anyway :/) because there’s no way you can top such an amazing debut.

    The only problem I have with the cultural appropriation is the hair, they need to get rid of it quick. Other than that, I don’t get why people are taking it so seriously. also, it’s pretty funny seeing Punch debut before his ex-trainee mates Seventeen.

  • 364Leinad

    They already have a rap battle in the making!

    • talinekae

      Dumbfounded always hating on kpop yet works with American kpop shows cause that’s where all the love calls are at lmao

    • I feel that he is taking this way too seriously to get offended. At the most, he should be laughing his ass off, and promptly forgetting about it.

  • 364Leinad

    1Punch is scientifically proven to be superior to Infinite-H

  • true

    it really a joke what make me laugh more is that you know them boys don’t really know anything about 90s hiphop & by the next comeback they will be doing a cute concept. it would make more sense saying there conecpt is based on bow wow, lil Romeo & kriss kross rather then Biggie, Nas’ Illmatic, Rakim lol

  • If someone told me this was the theme song to Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, there would be no reason for me to not believe them.

    That said, I tried my hardest to pretend that I did not enjoy this song, but it’s such damn good nostalgia. Hopefully they will lose the hair and the clothes for their next single.

  • Riley Biers

    omg.. I’m actually fucking slayed tbh.. i love everything about this, esp the pedo big brother incest concept

  • John Norman

    This song is SHAMAZING!! I haven’t loved a song like this in almost a year. i think the last time was Catellena…

  • snailsong

    omg i love this it’s too cute!!

  • Sunny

    they look plain ridiculous with that hair. idc if their image is 90’s, some things are better left back in the past.

    aside from that. the song is 8/10. Although they’re not really my kind of thing, the beat and melody is too awesome to ignore. Also, what a nice tribute to Public Enemy’s Flavor Flav with the whole “yeah BOY” shouts.

  • i was so afraid of the fact that i actually really enjoyed the song