During his Hot Clip days, Beenzino experimented with different genres to produce refreshing hip-hop sounds. After forming Jazzyfact with producer Shimmy Twice, he established his unique jazz rap style and soon became one of the most sought-after rappers in the music scene. The pioneering musician emerged as a soloist in 2012 with his first album 24:26
, which has a significant influence on the development of Korean hip-hop. Breaking the convention of hip-hop music, the album is a groundbreaking release that deserves classic status.
While the lead-off track Nike Shoes looks like an advert song for the sports brand, it's actually a breezy love song about Beenzino's ideal type. Primary's groovy arrangement for the lively synth melody and cool programmed drum beats maintain a brisk walking pace to create an energetic image of a trendy girl in skinny jeans running with a pair of mint Nike trainers. Different from typical unrequited love songs that only focus on feelings of sorrow and desperation, Aqua Man (Track 4) shows the psychological transformation from an excited man to an exasperated victim swearing at his love interest. The song starts compellingly with an old-school jazzy tune which is interwoven with a mix of mysterious synth chords and uncanny harmonization.
The second half of the album turns more personal. If I Die Tomorrow (Track 8) is like his last words about his turbulent childhood and his love for his family. A despairing tone is maintained throughout the melancholic synth-driven song. However, it delivers an optimistic message that no matter how tedious and irksome life is, we should enjoy it while we're still alive. Serving like a follow-up to If I Die Tomorrow, Always Awake (Track 9) tells people to stay awake and grab every second to strive for their dreams since we all have only one life. In spite of the silky music in the background, the smooth jazz jam is a hot-blooded anthem of youth.
Beyond rhymes and beats, Beenzino also pays great attention to his songs' music style, groove and flow. With his excellent sense of rhyming and infectiously melodic rapping style, he humorously raps about his life stories that resonate among listeners with similar experiences. Striking a perfect balance between hard hip-hop and laid-back styles like jazz, soul and R&B, 24:26 plays a pivotal role in reshaping Korean hip-hop and introducing the music to a wider audience.