R&B artist Khalil Fong has returned with his latest single 《悟空》, an ode to the legendary Monkey King of “Journey to the West”. Throwing off his trademark glasses, Khalil sheds away his dorky boy-next-door image to become one with the legendary hero. Still sticking to heavy R&B and electro-pop influences, “Wu Kong” is a Westernized take on the eponymous Chinese hero.
Though the song starts with haunting vocalizations, the electronic beat quickly ensues, giving “Wu Kong” some interesting “Dangerous World” vibes. However, Khalil transitions from his smooth R&B vocals to a Western-style rap in almost non-sequitur fashion. Just as randomly, his rap suddenly turns into complete English as he recalls his journey. Journey, Khalil chants. Somehow that melds back into the vocalizations that both started and ended the song. We’ve come full circle.
While “Wu Kong” is a great song for any fan of Khalil’s (or R&B in general), I found the rap to be rather disconcerting. Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge fan of Khalil’s rap, or rap in general (although with a few exceptions). This track stays true to his style, especially as presented in 2014’s “Dangerous World”.
For whatever reason — such as the title of the track, “Wu Kong” — I expected this to be some sort of experimentation with the Zhong Guo Feng genre. (CONFESSION: I probably dig ZGF more than ballads or R&B. Oops.)
Especially considering that Zhong Guo Feng primarily combines traditional Chinese instrumentals with R&B (such as in “Peach Blossom Garden”), this could be a compelling, if not big, new exploration for him.
Khalil Fong, who has officially moved on to his self-managed production company FU Music, will be releasing the official music video for Wu Kong on 06/08/16. That’s the last day of school for me. In the meantime, I should be studying for finals (about that . . .).
UPDATE 06/07/16: And the MV is released! Filmed on the streets of Hong Kong, it looks rather like an action movie.