When you’ve been listening to Asian pop music for years like I have, the novelty of U.S. crossover attempts eventually wears off. You get pumped for the first few big ones –Utada, Se7en, BoA– but after endless failures you get over it and just learn to enjoy the local success of the genre instead of always praying that it’ll take over the world.
However, CL is different.
The 2NE1 frontwoman is the closest thing K-pop’s ever had to a truly successful crossover star, and thanks to the failure of artists like BoA and Wonder Girls, there’s now a clear list of what not to do when debuting an Asian artist in the States.
While her official first single has yet to drop, CL’s given us a teaser of sorts with a Diplo-produced buzz single, “Doctor Pepper.”
It’s a synthesized ATL rap track that’s equal parts hip-hop weirdness and low rent trash. CL told The Fader, who exclusively premiered the song, that she wrote it in an angry rush to get out of the studio as fast as possible after Diplo abruptly cancelled a session.
RiFF RAFF is one of the guest features, which almost immediately tells you everything you need to know about what kind of record this is. I think I mean that as a compliment since RiFF RAFF is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine, although “Doctor Pepper” still isn’t as fun as his only real hit, “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwdinz.”
Personally, I prefer my odd Atlanta hip-hop either on an A-list OutKast level or bizarre, cheap, and emo like old ILoveMakonnen mixtapes. “Doctor Pepper” falls somewhere in the middle so it probably won’t get a tonne of play from me, but it works for what it is: a skeezy, silly, bloggable, danceable bit of buzz to test the waters, earn exposure, and set the scene for CL’s real chart-topping debut.