beautiful – choi sam (review)

there are rappers and then there are rappers who are also talented singers. 최삼 (choi sam) is not the latter, but when it’s time for a hook you’ll hear her lilt into it anyway. when she’s singing, her vocals are more angel haze than m.i.a. or kanye but much more unrefined, as is the whole song really–the beat sounds like a 노래방 MR, the song seems like it could have been recorded in one of those karaoke cubbyholes in a game arcade. but 최삼 has me hitting repeat on this song for the umpteenth time because she’s telling you:

너는 예뻐 니 생각보다 더
네가 매일 보는 거울에 너보다 더
찢어진 눈 커다란 입
그게 왜? 그래서 넌 그대로 예뻐

[translation:

you’re beautiful more than you think

more than the you you see every day in the mirror

slit eyes and big lips

so what? cuz you’re beautiful as you are]

sure so far this might sound like the typical azn girl self-affirmation, but

눈이 맘에 안 들어 눈을 했어

코가 맘에 안 들어 코도 했어?
그래서 그게 뭐 그래서 넌 그대로 예뻐
생각한 것과 달라? 그래도 예뻐

[don’t like your eyes so you did ‘em

don’t like your nose so you did that too

so what? cuz you’re beautiful as you are

not what you imagined? you’re still beautiful]

so what if you had plastic surgery? so what if it’s not what you thought you’d look like? not only does 최삼 refuse to slip into the shaming game of elevating the 자연미인 (literally ‘natural beauty’) over 성형미인 (‘surgical beauty’), she acknowledges the millions of women out there who are unhappy with their bodies post-surgery. she tells them that they’re beautiful regardless.

i also enjoyed this reference to GD & TOP’s ultra-masculine ‘i got all these bitches falling over me’ swagger anthem 뻑이가요 (knockout):

너도 그렇듯 웃는 여자는 다 예뻐
살짝만 웃어줘도 다 뻑이 가요 뻑

[like you, women who laugh are all beautiful

even a slight smile & everyone is knocked out]

and when she raps

화장을 하고 하이힐을 신든
머리를 묶고 닭다리를 씹든
그대는 예뻐 그대는 예뻐
그래 너는 예뻐

[whether you’re made up and wearing heels

hair pulled into a ponytail and gnawing on a chicken wing

you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful

yes you’re beautiful]

i’m reminded of all the times i’ve fallen for girls who eat with their hands; girls who leave the bones bare; girls who bite down on watermelon and spit seeds out the side of their mouth.

y’all can listen to more 최삼 here. this song is from her new mixtape 미완성(incomplete).

(written 2013. 11)

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