With six years and four full Korean albums under their belt, NCT-127 have made one thing very clear: their sound is unpredictable. The nine-member K-pop group, a subunit of South Korean boyband NCT, often fuses genres and instrumentation in innovative ways, and their latest album, gallop (2 bad)is not an exception.
Released on September 16, the album, as the guys describe it, is more hip-hop based than any project they’ve released before. Although hip-hop is the core, with memorable rap verses found in most songs, there are plenty of other genres scattered throughout. gallop (2 bad) like R&B, pop and drill. And in true NCT 127 fashion, no track sounds the same.
Throughout the album’s 12 tracks, listeners travel through a vast soundscape. On the first four tracks alone, the group offers low tones (opening track “Faster”), transitions to the booming and electric title track “질주 (2 Baddies)”, then slows down to sing R&B on “Time Lapse” and a mix of R&B and British exercises in “Crash Landing”. Other songs have a lighter pop sound, such as “Designer” and the final track “1,2,7 (Time Stops)”. General, (gallop 2 bad) it feels like a larger project that shows their range as a group.
With a balance of upbeat, boastful anthems and more emotional, fan-focused tracks, there’s something for everyone, showing why NCT 127 have become a mainstay in the Korean music scene. Rappers Mark and Taeyong also contributed to writing the lyrics for “Time Lapse” and “Designer,” adding more of the group’s personal flair.
This October, they will be playing two seaside shows in Los Angeles and New York, which will be their first time in the US as a group since 2019. Ahead of their comeback, GRAMMY.com caught up with the nine guys from NCT 127 (DOYOUNG, HAECHAN, JAEHYUN, JOHNNY, JUNGWOO, MARK, TAEIL, TAEYONG AND YUTA) via Zoom to discuss (gallop 2 bad) and its journey. Even through a computer, the boys’ energy is magnetic – it’s clear they’re excited to meet fans and share this new chapter in their careers.
where is the title Sprint (2 bad) comes from?
FRAMES: It is of the meaning of what we are trying to deliver. 질주 in English means high speed. It definitely goes well with the Porsche concept we came up with. We made a point about going full speed toward our goal regardless of what the world may throw at us or any opinions people may have.
We are only focusing on what we live in our dreams. That attitude was very hard on us on the song, so that’s what we wanted to portray and put into the song.
What feels different about this album compared to your previous releases?
JOHNNY: Each song has more of a hip-hop sound than before. You can really tell how long it took us to make the album. The quality is very high and the voices of all our members are well represented throughout the album as well.
What is definitely different for “질주 (2 Baddies)”, the title track, will be the acting in my opinion. There are a lot more smiles than the other songs we put together. I think our fans will really notice how much fun we have while performing. That must be the biggest difference from the other songs we had before.
You guys are doing two shows in the US, which will be your first time performing in the US since 2019. Are you excited? Do you have anything special planned for the performances?
JAEHYUN: We’re definitely excited because it’s been a long time since we’ve been in the US. We’ve prepared a lot for the concert and we’re preparing a new album, so I think it would be added as new. thing to do on the tour.
MARK and TAEYONG, you two wrote about “Time Lapse” and “Designer”. Can you talk more about your contributions on those two songs and what your rap making process was like?
FRAMES: “Time Lapse” and “Designer” are totally different songs. For each song, we wanted to incorporate our different interpretations of the song. The way we both took our verses, for example, for “Time Lapse”, the way we saw loneliness and that terrible feeling of being alone all the time was different for him and me.
It is also somewhat connected with our dreams. It’s always fun to write with him. It really shows our strong differences as well. Stuff like that really makes it more fun to write rap. I think it went well.
Do you have a favorite song from the album?
EARTH: “gallop 2 bad guys.”
HAECHAN: “gallop 2 bad guys.”
What makes everyone say that?
FRAMES: It’s that good.
Is there a new genre that you have tried this time?
TAEYONG: “Faster” is really a low key. The song starts on a low key and ends on a low key. It’s the first time we worked on a song like that.
What story are you trying to tell with this album?
FRAMES: Like I said, to “gallop 2 Baddies”, the meaning of the song goes well with the word “high speed”. That’s why we put the translation of high speed in Korean as the title. Having that as the title track of the whole album really sets the tone for all the other songs in the playlist.
The other songs revolve around “gallop 2 Baddies”. For example, “Faster” is more or less an extended version of “gallop 2 Baddies”, in my opinion. That’s why the order of “Faster” and “gallop 2 Baddies” are right there together. Having our albums structured that way made the whole album very well packaged.
The music video for “gallop 2 Baddies” seemed like fun to film. Do you have any memories of filming it?
JOHNNY: It was definitely fun filming it. We tried many new things. The main color of the music video is very neon. There were many neon spots.
It was kind of like a cyberpunk feel to the whole music video. That’s why it was so much fun. We try to incorporate all these new colors and new styles. We had cars hanging, trying to make [it] more futuristic in the whole . It was fun.
Do you have any new goals for the future?
JAEHYUN: Let’s have fun while we perform, guys.
FRAMES: We just want to have fun.
JAEHYUN: We always enjoy performing.”gallop 2 bad guys.”
JOHNNY: It has been a long time. It’s already been a year, almost two years, since our last comeback. [music release]. We prepared a lot for this album, musically, visually, just everything.
I hope our fans have fun with the album. I really hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We just want to thank our fans around the world who will be listening and thank you for waiting so long.
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