JJK is one of the leading figures in Korean hip-hop, and he’s back with a full album Noble Collision. The album is a documentation of his family life, making for a personal and intimate listening experience.

jjk noble collision

Noble Collision has two qualities that keep it grounded: JJK’s nuanced flow and his meaningful lyrical themes. As a non-Korean speaker, the album can’t resonate with me in the same way as it does for Korean-speakers because of its meaningful lyric content. But despite not being able to understand the meaning of his lyrics, JJK’s delivery is always expressive and driven.

I can only criticize the album for its musical qualities, which both succeed and fall short. The album doesn’t have the musical originality needed to engage me for its entirety; the arrangements and harmonies work, but they rarely go beyond being practical. It often seems as if the album isn’t sure if it wants to be hip-hop or pop with rapping.

This hip-hop and pop blend caters to a certain audience, but with such a personal topic matter, I would have liked the music to be more raw and sure of itself. Exceptions include “I Don’t Want to Know,” “The Girl in The Mirror,” and “Noble Collision,” which present vast, intricate sound worlds. The emotion in these tracks are vivid and brought to life with a breadth of nuances in the production.

Noble Collision is by no means a bad album. It’s sincere, and will please listeners who are looking for a light yet meaningful hip-hop album. But those looking for that extra meat may be disappointed.

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A composer of music myself who has been inspired by Korean indie music for many years, specifically rock, electronic, and experimental music.