27 Sep 2023

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Hans. - EP Review: Candy

08 Dec 2022 // A review by Nicholas Clark
Perhaps it was the introduction from the once great publication of VICE appointing him ‘one of the rising stars of New Zealand Hip Hop’ or perhaps it was Zane Lowe naming him one of New Zealand’s finest rappers, but my expectations were high going in to this review. Previously I had known Hans. from the quirky and catchy Be Grateful music video, so humour was anticipated...

The first track on this EP begins with Candy, an ode to candy itself or perhaps a not so clever metaphor for drugs. Either way, this is not going to get deep. Immediately I heard that Hans. has committed to the mumble rap style of delivery. I could hardly hear a word except when Yery from Imugi sang the repetitive chorus: “I got candy my teeth gonna rot”. Righto.

I did make out a few lines, like: “Never had too much enthusiasm to make it to the top” which is only too clear. The delivery is uninspired, and he rolls through the song in a near monotone. While the track has upbeat instrumentation, it can’t save it.

The lyrics sung from Yery might not be nonsense, but within the context of a song about Candy, it feels like they
were just lazily cobbled together. Example: I can’t remember what you said to me before, I can’t remember what the future feels like anymore.” Maybe it is about drugs after all.

Aspects of mumble rap are fully celebrated here; the lazy voice, the lazy rhyming, the somewhat lazy writing. Often, one rhyming syllable will do for an entire section, and when the word doesn’t quite rhyme, just lose that pesky inflection and let the word just fall out of a loose mouth. Forget about articulation.

Second track Kyoto Calls is less intense with a chill slow beat. There are some nice ambient guitar punctuating through the production, using some interesting scales. The track reminds me of another track from Hans. called Empties that used a similar vibe but to better effect. The song drags on for a bit long, but I guess it could be classed as being a ballad.

There are some interesting, revealing lyrics that are at least a little more personal than the last track: “Burst my bubble... why did I run from you? I bite my tongue cause really I’m too proud to admit, It’s not like it was when there was none of this shit ...I guess we’re different people now ...”

A break up song? Perhaps. At least it is confessional.

Imugi returns in the last track, Walrus which starts with some funky percussion, and some stabbed keys. It’s playful and synth laden, but it is still missing that unique sound that Be Grateful had. It could have done with just a simple gong to help keep the song interesting. Some of the lyrics might relate to a certain Beatles song: “I am the walrus and I am the sky, I am the chaos that lingers inside.” It’s about as deep as it gets, or maybe as much as I can decipher. I listened a few times to get more, but perhaps I’m the wrong audience for this...

Let’s assume I’m not the wrong audience for argument’s sake. What went wrong? Unlike Be Grateful, there is not the playfulness or the humour present. Empties had the nostalgia laden, vapourware overtones of audio falling apart. Perhaps Candy the EP was just an attempt to be upbeat, but it ended up seeming rather vacuous. Kyoto Calls was probably intended as a personal and emotional song but failed to establish an ambience or a rapport (with me anyway). Walrus had potential, but the song didn’t feature anything interesting like a different part, it just sort of started and then kept going.

Hans. actually reminds me of Ski Mask the Slump God, but with less expression. Perhaps there’s an influence from 6ix9ine, but a little less colourful flamboyance. Lil Wayne and Lil Xan come to mind. A husky mumble might sound cool (to some) but it really limits what the rapper can do and if you can’t understand the rhymes, all you are left with is the rhythm, which in this case is rather pedestrian. There are no impressively fast raps, no singing other than his featured guest (Yery both times supplying the bare minimum of melody) and no change in how the syllables lie in context with the beat. There’s just too much based on attitude and not enough on substance.

Sorry for those who were expecting me to follow the leader on this one.

Rating: ( 2 / 5 )

About Hans.

Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Hans. is an exciting Korean artist that has been dubbed by VICE Magazine as "One of the rising stars of New Zealand Hip Hop." as well as being lauded by beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe as one of his favourite NZ rappers.

With his breakthrough single Froyo featuring Clairo amassing over 10 million streams, his consistency in releases has allowed him to become a staple in NZ Hip-Hop all the while supporting international acts such as Billie Eilish and Rejjie Snow and representing New Zealand at SXSW.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hans.


Year: 2022
Type: EP

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