You may not have heard of CL, but the video for her 2013 single "The Baddest Female" has over 21 million views, and she just dropped a track, "Dr. Pepper," produced by Diplo and featuring RiFF RAFF and OG Maco. Listen:
While the lyrics for "The Baddest Female" were in Korean — CL was born in Seoul, although she also spent time in Paris and Tokyo — this new single is in English. In fact, she and Diplo are working on an entire English-language album.
In an interview with Fader, Dilpo says:
“I’ve been active in CL’s first full-length album, mostly trying to find a right balance between glossy K-pop attitude and keeping CL positioned where she belongs—as the baddest coolest female out right now. ‘Doctor Pepper’ is something that might not register that well with actual K-pop, seeing as it’s a straight Atlanta-style rap record, but the net around K-pop is so wide that it can be anything with confidence and style. Thats what CL brings to it.”
In this country, the "baddest, coolest" female rapper out right now is Nicki Minaj. Can CL's tracks find their way to the charts alongside cuts from The Pinkprint? And if so, what will the visuals be like?
Here's the thing: As seen in the "Baddest Female" video, CL's look involves accessories associated with rap via black American culture.
Huge gold earrings.
California-style bandannas and only-top-button-done-up shirts.
The gold grill.
Many hip-hop fans in the States are concerned with authenticity and street cred. Miley Cyrus wore a gold grill and twerked all over and was accused of cultural appropriation; Iggy Azalea has been charged with cultural crimes. It's one thing to dress like an American rapper when performing in Korea; it's another to do it in the United States where these styles were born.
"Dr. Pepper" has a sick beat, CL has a great flow. But these days, an artist's image is just as important as the music. Can hip-hop fans take CL seriously if she's dressed up like with all the trappings from the "rapper" section of the Halloween costume store?