Artist Spotlight: DRIPPIN

In an artist spotlight, I attempt to promote artists who at least in my opinion, release music of incredible quality, but do not receive enough attention for it.
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I’ve been thinking of doing this kind of post for a while, but things happen and I ended up putting it off. However, I kept actively seeking out DRIPPIN’s songs almost every single day, being too good to resist. My urge to write about them kept growing and growing- until I finally gave in.

From Left to Right: Changuk (Lead Vocalist and Lead Dancer), Hyeop (Main Vocalist), Yunseong (Main Dancer, Leader, Vocalist), Junho (Lead Vocalist, Visual, Centre, Face of the Group), Donghyun (Main Rapper, Lead Dancer, Vocalist), Alex (Lead Rapper, Vocalist, Maknae), Minseo (Vocalist)

DRIPPIN is a 7 member boy group managed by Woolim Entertainment, also home to INFINITE, Golden Child, and Rocket Punch. Infinite was among the top goy groups in the 2nd generation of K-pop, but unfortunately, their junior groups never reached the same levels of success that they did, DRIPPIN included. I have listened to several Golden Child Songs as well and really love them, but I am far more familiar with Drippin, so I decided to make a post about them instead.

When Drippin first debuted in October 2020, I was immediately drawn to their debut title track, Nostalgia, whose chorus strongly reminded me of one of my favorite K-pop songs of all time, EXO’s Love Me Right! With that aside, it is a very strong song in its own right.

Nostalgia’s production harkens back to the sound of 2nd gen K-pop while still sounding fresh and exciting. There is a constant sense of building energy from the beginning, so when its incredible two-part chorus hit, it feels earned. The production goes on full assault in the chorus, lifting the song to great heights with the energy and vocal performance to match. Although the true strength of DRIPPIN’s vocalists isn’t on full display in Nostalgia, it is clear that the boys can SING, and when they sing the chorus together, it sounds incredible. Additionally, the second part of the chorus solidified the longevity and catchiness of the song, for ‘lalalalalala, lalalalalalala, nostalgia, nostalgia’ is a hook that will never leave my head afterward!

The song ends rather abruptly, but I’m quite satisfied. Nostalgia aged to become one of my favorite K-pop songs ever. With good headphones, it is even better after you catch all the little interesting things that are going on in the production. After listening to such a great debut song, I was compelled to listen to their debut album, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I liked all the songs there. One b-side in particular, Overdrive, could have easily been the title track, from its incredible energy and sense of propulsiveness of its production, paired with its robust melodic lines.

Ever since then, I’ve been keeping my eye on every new DRIPPIN Release. Although I haven’t listened to all their songs, I did manage to listen to all their title tracks and a couple of b-sides that I’ve absolutely loved. I am almost 100% confident that if you gave them a chance, you would find a DRIPPIN song you would enjoy. Below, I will recommend my all-time favorite DRIPPIN songs so far. Every single song I will recommend has received a 9 or higher rating from me! (if that helps, HAHA)

Zero

DRIPPIN’s latest comeback, Zero, is one of my favorite examples of how dynamics can really elevate a song, especially in K-pop. The song effectively manages its energy levels for each section to produce maximum effect. It knows exactly when to tone down a little, and when to go all out. I love songs that seem so well-thought-out and carefully produced. Its climax had my jaw drop when I first listened to it, for it felt so perfectly climactic! It understood the assignment, and that is one of the best feelings ever when you listen to a song that not only meets your expectations but exceeds them. It truly has one of my favorite climaxes in K-pop, ever. Additionally, the distorted guitar rift leading into the intro is also among my favorite K-pop intros I’ve heard in a while. The members’ vocal ability and charisma shine in their delivery of the song and makes it worth coming back to every time. An easy 10, and easily one of the strongest releases this year.

Reach Out Your Hands

This K-pop dance track had me squealing when I first listened to it. It opens with hard-hitting, rhythmic verses that feel so self-assured in their vocal delivery that I had to blink twice to remind myself that they are still rookies! I felt very pleasantly surprised to see them harnessing a sense of charisma that I didn’t know they already possessed! The pre-chorus effectively acted as a great transition to the soaring chorus. Honestly, the chorus is one of my favorite in K-pop, because it makes me feel like I’ve entered a totally different realm. It made me utterly immersed in the song. There are very few songs out there that can make me feel this way. I would dare say that this song doesn’t have any flaws that I can point out at least. It is hard to believe that this is a mere b-side!!!

Young Blood

Young Blood is the follow-up title track to their debut, and it doesn’t disappoint. It acts more like a summer release, harnessing a brighter and more youthful energy, both in its production and vocal delivery. Its hooks aren’t as strong as the songs I’ve mentioned so far but are nevertheless very solid. The mixing in the production slightly put me off at first listen, but I’ve now grown accustomed to it.

Villain

Villain was DRIPPIN’s title track before Zero, and once again, solid. Its hooks are more potent than Young Blood, although its verses threaten to be forgettable. However, up till now the absolute highlight of the song, its chorus, still hits as hard as it did before, which warrants it a special mention. Its production is well fleshed out, and the atmosphere that it creates also matches the concept and lyrics of the song.

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While listening to their songs for the past few months, I’ve realized that certain qualities have always been present that makes them a group that I continue to come back to.

One, their vocals are very solid and among the more technically proficient in this generation. Lead Vocalist Junho can deliver his lines with conviction and charisma, and Main Vocalist Hyeop executes their songs’ climaxes and adlibs in a way that feels satisfying, something that not all main vocalists from the newer generation especially, can do. This is of course because he has the technical foundations to do so. A special mention to their main dancer, Yunseong, who has a very unique voice that stands out among the thousands of idols out there, reminding me a bit of Jungwon from Enhypen, who is my ultimate bias of all time and also possesses a unique voice.

Additionally, the production of DRIPPIN songs usually never disappoints. Even in their more so-so songs, it was more of the hooks that let it down, but the production tends to be quite solid. The best cases of incredible songwriting and production are already shown in the above recommendations, especially with Reach Out Your Hands and Zero. Their songs play with textures and dynamics in a way that makes them stand out.

Conclusion
All in all, I hope you enjoyed this post. DRIPPIN are among my favorite K-pop groups music-wise, and I sincerely hope that you check them out because they are an underhyped group that deserves a lot more attention for their music. If I manage to turn even just a single person into a new fan of DRIPPIN, my job is done. 🙂

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