Title: TELÉFONO Remix
Artist: pH-1, HAON, Woodie Gochild, Jay Park, Sik-K, TRADE L, Big Naughty
Setting: This music video – which does double duty as a lyric video – is set in a Mexican restaurant in what appears to be a strip mall. It’s different from the go-to setting that several past H1GHR Music artists have gone with in their hip hop pasts – high school gym, dark alleys, night clubs. The novelty of the setting works for the song… mostly.
Sound: For the large part, this is a very good song. All of the rappers bring different approaches to their lyrics and there’s nothing that felt like they were copying the same rappers – an issue of all hip hop where a number of rappers everywhere remake themselves in their faves’ image and absolutely, shamelessly jack their flow as well. There’s a sprinkling of Spanish scattered across the song to fit the theme (like pH-1’s “Yo no tengo teléfono” in the chorus and 50% of Jay Park’s verse it feels like) and I have chosen to view it in the same way that I do the Mainstream English and African American Vernacular English used in these songs as well: they all add flavoring and “authenticity” to the song which appeals to its core audience of hip hop heads.
Also, there’s a point where Woodie Gochold says the words “pussy hoe” around the 1:23 mark and I need y’all to know that this is Sik-K “Wet The Bed” levels of hilarity to me.
Style: The styling in the TELÉFONO Remix’s lyric video does stray away from the frustrating hood cosplay that I loathe… but mostly because the rappers in the video are actually just full on leaning into the equivalent for what they assume is Mexican culture. Sombreros and ponchos abound in this video – as do some cowboy fits because it… makes sense somehow -. The thing is that even though it’s not my culture – or what it’s assumed to be like – put on for fun and as part of a costume here, it’s no less frustrating. Why did TELÉFONO Remix decide to go there with their visuals? Who is their stylist for this? Did the dudes wearing the ponchos get to keep them?
Genuinely, despite how much I rag on him, I do think that Jay Park is actually really good at what he does as a rapper. He’s also got a great ear for other people’s music and one thing about H1GHR Music is that he’s made sure to surround himself with artists who are good at what they do as well. Like no mat
pH1 handles the chorus effortlessly and it is catchy. Honestly, I keep singing (sing… rapping?) parts of the chorus that have managed to get stuck in my head. For this alone, this song is going on my playlist for my #StitchProcesses project! After the first play through of the chorus, HAON comes in on the first verse and it is fierce. I do enjoy his flow and the confidence in his voice – also he spends a significant chunk of the video just chowing the fuck down and that’s entertaining.
Woodie Gochild’s second verse is honestly… fine? It’s a big ole brag like the rest of the song. We’ve already talked about the most memorable part of the verse for me and that is the “pussy hoe” part. Because what the fuck even was that and how did he say it without laughing.
On the song’s third verse, following the chorus, Jay Park is kind of in rare form here.
As much as I roast Jay Park on the regular – and heaven help me if he ever realizes that I’m a little shit about him – he is again… really good at what he does. His verse on TELÉFONO is fun and he gives some good baby Pitbull energy across it. (And if you know anything about me, you should know that I am actually legitimately feral for Pitbull. Have been for for VERY long time!)
While I’d like for him to not be rocking a sombrero in the video, I can’t do anything about it without my time machine and it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve found myself vibing with a Jay Park verse!
Then there’s Sik-K who I also enjoy roasting but who is a really competent rapper. I like his verse because there’s a bit of a diss element involved in it as he mentions “these old heads who bathe in their past glory”. As y’all know, I’m a sucker for rappers who even suggest they’re capable of doing a dirty diss.
One thing I go in and out with in his verse is that Sik-K feels like he’s actively rejecting hip hop hierarchies and expressing kind of a rejection and while hierarchies can be restrictive when you’re expected to respect people who don’t deserve it…
Remembering and nodding to those that came before is cool… especially when they did influence your ongoing career!
TRADE L and BIG Naughty close out the song. They’re the new additions tapped just for the remix and I think I can see why Jay Park and them chose to put them on the track. They’re fun performers for sure!
Aside from the Latinidad layered across this song for seasoning (not fun but a sad genre convention at this point in and out of Korea), I do wonder… does H1GHR Music just… forget to invite its female artists – and they should have some – to these things? Because both here and in “The Purge”, all we’re getting is well… a sausage fest and that’s definitely frustrating because like I pointed out over in my piece about female rappers in the genre… these dudes make opportunities for themselves but not for women.