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My Pope Review: BLACKPINK Lisa’s Debut EP Is An Artistic Mix Of Hiphop And Thai Culture

"Say, "Lalisa, love me, Lalisa, love me" Call me, "Lalisa, love me, Lalisa, love me."

A few days ago, Lisa of Korean girl group BLACKPINK finally made her solo debut. With the two-song EP entitled LALISA, the Thai maknae (youngest) of the group became the third member to have a solo album after Jennie in 2018 and Rosé in March this year.

Her solo debut was first announced by BLACKPINK’s agency, YG Entertainment, in April through the South Korean publication The Korean Herald. In July, YG shared that they are already filming the music video for Lisa’s debut. That same month, the 24-year-old K-pop star posted to her Instagram stories some photos of a screen with sound waves–hinting that she’s recording at the studio. (Read: 5 Long-Running Kpop Groups That Will Make You Say, “Sana All”)

And after much anticipation, the album’s out! On September 10, the self-titled EP was released globally along with the music video for the title track. The video garnered 73.6 million views in its first 24 hours according to YouTube, placing her in sixth for the video platform’s Top 10 All-Time Top 24-Hour Music Debuts. Lisa is the only K-pop soloist on the list!

But how did the actual album fare? Here’s what we think!

An homage to her roots

Photo from BLACKPINK YouTube

Lisa is known to be a triple threat as she knows how to sing, dance, and rap. She does many of the rap verses in BLACKPINK’s songs and she exudes a different aura when rapping! And the songs on the album, LALISA and Money, highlight her talent for it. But while they are more on the hiphop side of things, it also comes with a nod to Lisa’s Thai roots.

When you listen to the title track, you will get to hear hints of traditional Thai beats and instrumentals. There is also Korean lyrics in one of the songs which, when translated, says, “I came to Korea from Thailand, and I went for the throat.” “That’s the part where the Thai element is in,” Lisa explained in a Billboard interview. (Read: Explainer: The Anatomy of a Kpop Album)

The same goes for the B-side track, Money. The song is a smoother flowing song than rap-heavy LALISA, and taps more on Lisa’s singing. But there are also Thai music sounds embedded into the song that are subtle but distinct, which works perfectly with the song.

Danceable tunes

Photo from BLACKPINK YouTube

Both songs are danceable, and not too in-your-face like other rap-infused and hiphop music. And because Lisa worked with BLACKPINK’s long-time producer and creative director Teddy Park, there are some similarities between Lisa’s and her group’s songs.

Think How You Like That?, Pretty Savage, and Crazy Over You. That’s the vibe you’ll be getting from Lisa’s EP! (Read: Blackpink Jennie Starts YouTube Channel, Other Members Begin Solo Projects)

The singer-dancer-rapper said that she wanted to incorporate more hiphop into the music she does while also incorporating her culture into it, hence the tracks on her debut album. “I wanted to put some Thai vibes in it, and he actually put some Thai traditional music into the dance break,” the 24-year-old said, “This is my first solo, and I want to represent that I’m Thai to all the fans around the world.”

Getting to know her

Photo from YG FAMILY Twitter

As mentioned, the EP’s album is called LALISA, which is her given name.

But did you know that Lalisa was just the name she changed into after seeing a fortune teller in her home country? She was actually born Pranpriya Manobal–her first name meaning “beloved soul”. But when she auditioned for YG, Lisa’s mom brought her to a fortune teller after not hearing from the entertainment company after submitting her application.

“We made an audition for YG, but YG didn’t contact us back. We really wanted to get it. So the fortune teller said, “You should change your name”,” Lisa shared. That’s when she chose the name Lalisa, which meant “one who is praised”. YG then called back after a week! Amazed at what happened, Lisa legally changed her name from Pranpriya to Lalisa. (Read: 3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Blackpink Rosé’s Childhood)

But because she’s been part of BLACKPINK ever since her debut, not everyone knows her real name. “It’s very funny, weeks ago, one of the camera men asked me, ‘What is Lalisa?’ I was like, ‘It’s my name!'” Lisa explains. That’s why she says she’s “very happy” to be doing her first solo project with the title LALISA.

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