MAMAMOO is well-known for their outstanding soulful sound so it’s pleasantly surprising to see the group take a wildly different route with their pre-release MV, “Pride of 1cm (Taller Than You),” a hilarious rap single centered around the one centimeter height difference between the group’s members.
Granted, the pre-release label likely gave the group some wiggle room to fool around but there is a hell of a lot to like about “Pride of 1cm.”
Free of context, “Pride of 1cm” sounds a bit unruly considering the fact that none of MAMAMOO’s performers could even generously be called skilled rappers. However, the beat’s obvious homage to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” combined with MAMAMOO’s dedication to making their one centimeter difference into a full blown battle rap transforms “Pride of 1cm” into a song that works as an homage and a general parody of battle rap tracks. (Hell, you can substitute the subject of height for artistic authenticity and you’d have an unauthorized karaoke version of “The Real Slim Shady”.) The decision to make the group’s rap track sound like a direct parody makes the group’s barely-rapping enjoyable because it effectively communicates how the group is having fun at their own (and every overly try-hard K-Pop hip-hopper’s) expense. Conceptually, “Pride of 1cm” comfortably falls in the same genre as every track that The Lonely Island has ever produced as it takes a very familiar hip-hop sound and applies a ridiculous subject matter to it in order to juxtapose the absurdity of the lyrics with the supposed realness of the beat. On it’s own, “Pride of 1cm” isn’t even close to being a replayable banger but there is little denying that it is a well-done lampooning of hip-hop bravado that should appeal to anyone who has an appreciation for hip-hop tropes (or has really strong feelings about MTV circa 2000).
The low-budget look of “Pride of 1cm” may have been out of necessity (this is a pre-release video after all) but it also ends up working in MAMAMOO’s favor. After all, when an entire concept is centered around boasting about being one centimeter taller than your colleagues, sparse settings can often be the best at driving that point home. “Pride of 1cm” doesn’t use many props but those that it does use are all in service of highlighting the “monumental differences” between the group’s members, whether that be the lineup background, the vaulting equipment, the measuring scale or the limbo stick. However, the sparseness of “Pride of 1cm” would fall completely flat if MAMAMOO wasn’t up to the task of selling the absurdity of the video with a straight face. Thankfully, there is no doubt that the group knew exactly what they were doing while filming “Pride of 1cm.” Each member (even Solar, who I thought would have the hardest time conveying comedic swag) effortlessly transitions between the parts that require physical humor and those that require silly amounts of seriousness. MAMAMOO may not be known for producing swaggerific singles but “Pride of 1cm” proves that the group has confidence and charisma to spare.
If “Pride of 1cm” is a harbinger of the quality of MAMAMOO’s first full-length album, then I think it is safe to say that we are in for a real treat.