The Korea Herald


Trendy rapper Zico returns with 4th EP ‘Grown Ass Kid’

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Aug. 1, 2022 - 20:04

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Rapper Zico poses during a press conference held in Seoul for his 4th EP, “Grown Ass Kid,” on Monday. (Yonhap) Rapper Zico poses during a press conference held in Seoul for his 4th EP, “Grown Ass Kid,” on Monday. (Yonhap)

The season of upbeat music has arrived, and rappers are known to save their strongest material for summer, Zico made his grand return with his 4th EP, “Grown Ass Kid,” released Wednesday evening.

This marks the solo artist‘s return nearly two years since he last released his “Random Box” in July 2020. It’s also his first material after officially being discharged from his mandatory military service in April this year.

Zico dropped “Grown Ass Kid” on Wednesday, but the press conference was postponed after the musician tested positive for COVID-19 on July 25. During Wednesday‘s event, Zico made his first appearance as the CEO of his agency, KOZ Entertainment, which he started in 2018.

As the album’s title suggests, “Grown Ass Kid” implies that although he has been away for two years, Zico is an artist with his finger on the pulse.

“The world has gone through a seismic change since 2020, but the one thing that hasn‘t changed is my music and my passion and energy toward it, so I named it ’Grown Ass Kid.‘ I went back to the old me to make music,” Zico said about the new album.

“Society and culture are changing. I, too, am thinking about how I’m supposed to make and deliver music that reflects this change. I‘m at a stage where I’m coming up with a new paradigm,” the rapper added, although he didn‘t elaborate further on his thoughts.

Known for his musical abilities, Zico once again had a hand in the composition and musical arrangements.

Leading the five-track package is the track “Freak,” which vividly shows Zico’s exciting and energetic vibe. The dynamic vocals and melodies add more to the chaotic city where all the freaks live, which is the main theme of the song, according to the rapper.

“It shows the rough side of Zico, and I decided to bring out this song as a single, so I could show my rough side - for the first and maybe the last time. It‘s a track that best shows Zico’s musical character. I added several elements that would make people‘s earbuds pop with fun when listening to it,” Zico said.

Other songs that round out the album are “Seoul Drift,” which was released as a prelease single on July 19. The song acts as a comfort to people who are going through the unrealistic expectations of life, and “Trash Talk,” a track with a funky trap style that features a witty punchline with rapper Changmo.

“OMZ freestyle” has hard-spitting rap from Zico, and “Nocturnal animals,” the only alternative R&B track on the album, is about people struggling to put food on the table and features Korean singer-songwriter Zior Park. 

Rapper Zico poses during a press conference held in Seoul for his 4th EP, “Grown Ass Kid,” on Monday. (Yonhap) Rapper Zico poses during a press conference held in Seoul for his 4th EP, “Grown Ass Kid,” on Monday. (Yonhap)

In the two years away from the music business, Zico has used his time to take stock and recalibrate his mind.

“I think I reflected a lot on myself. I deleted all the data within me during the two years, and I was able to reset myself as a musician. Now, I’m at a place where I can compose music in the best condition,” he said.

Going back to “Freak,” the musician hopes he would come to music listeners‘ minds when they think of the word “fun.”

“People tend to connect with music with their emotions. Music can reflect what they are going through. If they feel empty and lost, they want songs that feel lonely. Hopefully, it would be my music when they want to feel the fun.”

At the end of the press conference, Zico took a trip down memory lane and went over his 12-year career as a musician.

“I think I was able to put out good work because I give a lot of thought to what the public and my fans want. Also, I would like to thank all the staff members for putting in more effort than I do.”

Zico also thanked fans who waited for his new music.

“It feels great to meet my fans after two years, and I couldn’t be more excited about the journey we will go through together. I‘m going to be doing musical things I’ve never done before, and most importantly. I want to be an artist who can give fans and music listeners an unforgettable summer.”

The five-song package hit global music platforms on Wednesday.