Leave it to NCT‘s Mark Lee to turn a meme into an awareness exercise. On his latest solo release, “Golden Hour,” the 23-year-old rapper cooks up a self-indulgent mélange that’s both a thinly veiled Gordon Ramsay diss track and a razor-sharp examination of his own idol persona.
To fully grasp the potency of “Golden Hour,” you have to understand its origins: a 2018 Twitter exchange between Ramsay and an NCT fan account in which the TV chef unknowingly critiques Mark’s fried eggs. (To be fair, the eggs do not look appetizing.)
The tweet was mythologized by the NCT fandom, becoming one of the pillars of Mark’s charm. Mark Lee is many things — a rapper, lyricist, performer, philosopher, Instagram poet and leader — but a connoisseur in the kitchen he is not. “Golden Hour” confronts this head-on through his signature cheeky lyricism.
“I got a really big…” the rapper pauses for emphasis over a battering bovver-glam drumbeat. “Umm I got a really big problem / I don’t know how to make eggs.“
Watch Mark Lee’s “Golden Hour” Music Video:
Clearly under the influence of industrial rap, Mark’s allure lies in his complete lack of vanity. Fans call him unserious, someone who lets his words meander. But “Golden Hour” posits an artist who knows exactly what he’s doing.
It plays to his strengths as a free-thinker, creatively unbound by convention and reason. It’s not that he lacks self-awareness; it’s just that he doesn’t care. He leans into the cringe and somehow makes it effortlessly cool.
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Take, for example, the song’s spoken-word interlude. This might sound familiar to anyone who’s ever read his social media musings. “We live in a world that constantly tries to take you away from you,” he says over a relentless rumble of drums. “Everyone is being everyone but themselves / Everybody’s here but not around / Wait, but what does that mean?“
That mindfulness is delivered with a metaphorical wink, a nod to how people perceive him. As amusing as it is to hear him roast Gordon Ramsay and play to the absurdity of it all, “Golden Hour” is more than a meme — it’s a taste of what’s to come when you really let him cook.
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