The Korean music industry has been dominated by girl groups lately: SNSD (my favorite), Kara, 2NE1, Brown Eyed Girls, the list goes on and on. Which is why e.via’s debut a couple months ago has been so refreshing. At first glance she looks like a typical cute innocent singer, but she’s actually been an underground rapper for years and just recently released her first CD.
I first heard of e.via because in her album she had a collaboration with Sori, another promising 2009 rookie who I like. The song they produced is called “Diary” and has a smooth, ethereal flow. (I missed out on writing about Sori because she debuted during my blogging hiatus, but check out her catchy “Real Lips” music video and a sexy dance to “What a Feeling”.)
e.via’s debut didn’t begin smoothly as she was promptly banned for vulgar and provocative lyrics by one of the major Korean TV networks. I don’t know what stopped her from trying to perform on the other big music programs, but getting banned most likely was a publicity stunt. What’s so interesting about e.via is that she looks like any other super cute, “I’ve never kissed a boy before” K-pop girl, but then she opens her mouth and starts spitting crazy lyrics. The clash between her image and music style is original and makes her completely awesome.
Most of her promotional material depict her in cutesy poses and outfits, which given her music is an intentionally sarcastic and ironic gesture. Her funny second music video was released recently. The first minute has her hopping around making classic Asian poses, then she launches into her “Hey!” song. I actually don’t like the music video because the jerky editing makes me nauseous and she makes too many “tough girl” arm gestures (nor do I like the song itself for that matter). But her rapid succession of poses is hilarious.
e.via has in the past couple weeks finally performed on a couple broadcasted events. Check out her first TV performance. I hardly listen to rap at all so true rap aficionados might disagree, but to me she seems like a legitimately good rapper — go about a minute into each performance to watch her rev up to speed. A lot of Korean girl groups have a token rapper, but none of them can touch e.via in terms of speed and flow.