GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By SARAH CHUN
Is it in their DNA or by a stroke of Serendipity that BTS has achieved higher successes?
On Feb. 3, Korean pop group Bangtan Boys (BTS)’ hit song, “MIC Drop” featuring Steve Aoki and Desiigner, became certified gold by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). To be certified Gold by the RIAA, a song must reach at least 500,000 downloads/purchases. This achievement is the first of its kind to the K-pop industry continuing BTS’ streak of making history.
Despite the song’s well-deserved success, it seems slightly unfair that the alternate version should be receiving the full limelight, not the original track, as BTS did most of the work. Nevertheless, BTS is expanding horizons for the K-pop industry.
“MIC Drop” has three versions: the original, one that Steve Aoki remixed and one featuring Desiigner based on the Steve Aoki remix. If a song should be recognized and be certified “Gold,” it should be the foundation and origins of the song, not a version of it. Surely, the two artists created interesting twists on the new songs, but the song itself would not be there without BTS’ work.
After all, in the Desiigner remix, all the rapper really did was add his own verse in the beginning, with BTS carrying the bulk of the song. Frankly, this remix sounds more like a fan-made mashup of Desiigner’s rap and BTS’ song than a remix of “MIC Drop.”
With this version receiving all of the fame, it takes away from the integrity of the original song. Desiigner raps more about himself, alcohol and drugs, while the original is about showing off their successes to their anti-fans. In other words, BTS always covers clean and wholesome topics, as opposed to more western styles that incorporate explicit content. Desiigner’s contribution to the song brought a new and unneeded image to BTS’ material.
Despite this, the song’s success only raises the bar for BTS’ upcoming works. With the song breaking records, people around the world have their expectations set high for the band’s next pieces of work. Consequently, BTS will grow ambitious to top the golden standard that “MIC Drop” has set. In fact, BTS is foreshadowing a successful 2018, with the upcoming release of their third Japanese album, member J-Hope’s mixtape and much more.
BTS, acting as a pioneer in K-pop, has also taken long strides in spreading Korean culture. Based on their performances at the American Music Awards (AMAs) and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, recently, more people have become aware of K-pop.
One can even say that K-pop is breaking its image as a subculture, and is making its way toward becoming mainstream music. For one, K-pop has become a main genre in music apps such as Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. In addition, “MIC Drop” has been playing on FM radio for people everywhere to listen on the go.
This expansion of K-Pop initiated by BTS has allowed more bands to emerge amongst international fans. People have become more aware of other prominent K-Pop groups and artists, such as Twice, Exo, Dean and more.
Overall, “MIC Drop” ft. Steve Aoki and Desiigner has achieved questionable yet unprecedented and remarkable feats. Although the original version of the song should be receiving the full spotlight, the remix has raised the bar for BTS and is helping the K-pop industry gain popularity.