Monday, November 07, 2011

HEAR THIS: Sophia Fresh (Doesn't) "Breakup"

I never meant for this to be the perfect transition between the two seemingly far apart musical words I adore -- Western (largely American CHR Top 40/British Pop) and Eastern (I'm looking at you, Korea) -- but it is. Fam, if this isn't proof positive that our (musical) world is getting smaller each day, thanks in large part to YouTube and Social Media, I don't know what is. Stay with me on this one...

Perhaps you recall a three piece girl group I've mentioned once or twice called Sophia Fresh. The group first came to my attention in mid 2009, due mostly to the groundswell of female (R&B) groups led by a prominent producer. There was Electrik Red (Tricky Stewart) playing on their sexy strengths, telling us they feel "So Good". There was RichGirl (Rich Harrison) making it okay to creep on your BF (because "He Ain't With Me Now Tho"). There was my girls in Purple Reign (Darkchild) going all Destiny's Child on us (complete with a premature breakup this past year...I'm still sick over it). And there was Sophia Fresh, a countrified, Auto-Tuned wonder brought to us by T-Pain.

A girl group repped by T-Pain may not be the type of thing I'd personally be into -- and to be fair, on paper, I was hesitant at first. But with one listen to their debut single, "What It Is" (which featured a bow by Kanye West), I was hooked. They are much more than the Auto-Tuned gimmick that having T-Pain on your side would suggest to the average pop listener like myself. Their music is pure dancefloor fautter with heavy beats that aren't afraid to cut your ear drums, filled to capacity with attitude. In particular, they aren't your average girl group. Comparisons were quickly made to TLC and it's a fair assessment. In the years since then, Sophia Fresh has continued to step their game up. Despite roadblocks in terms of an official release, the group has kept their own momentum, releasing a handful of buzz singles including a more recent cut "This Instant", featured on the soundtrack to the dance flick Step Up 3D.

Fast forward to now. The girls are hard at work on their upcoming mixtape project, Sophia Vs. Fresh, with an official album release set to follow in 2012. Much of the momentum for the mixtape is due to its cutthroat hype single, "Best Break Up". It's Auto-Tuned wonky pop's defiant, aggressive, gum-smacking American cousin -- stripped bare of too-lush and sweepy instrumentals that many girl groups rely on in favor of street smarts and quirky attitude. It's hook centers around everyone's favorite Kanye joke ("I'mma let you finish/But this is the best break up of all time"). And it's kind of the business.

I defy anyone to not want to sing along to the "I could be like/Biiiiiitch/Get your tongue out of my boyfriend's mouth!" bit. I  know you want to. You can snag the song for yourself thanks to the ladies themselves here.

But Mel - you're undoubtedly thinking - Sophia Fresh is cool and all, but how does this correlate to KPOP? Last Wednesday, Sophia Fresh posted the following video on their Twitter account, stating "Korea knows 'What It Is'." The video is from an episode of South Korea's Music Core from February 2010, highlighting the ladies of Girls' Generation (well, four of the nine, anyway) dance battling it out guessed it...Sophia Fresh's "What It Is". A part of me died at the fact that I hadn't seen this before (get it, Hyoyeon, get it!)!

Like a nerd, I reposted the tweet, as I live for when my fandoms collide like this. But Sophia Fresh proved just how down they really are, when they tweeted me back with the below. If that doesn't make you smile, you are cold hearted.

Ladies, your brand of aggressive beats is exactly what America is missing right now. Here's to hoping 2012 is your year -- it's long overdue!

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