Upstart K-pop nonet Stray Kids are asking big questions with the release their latest EP I Am Who. Fronted by the single “My Pace,” the album is the act’s third 2018 and continues to show the rookie boy band’s growth.
With gritty strings and taunting “na-na-na”s opening up the song, “My Pace” is a hip-pop track overflowing with rock instrumentals, exuberant vocals and tinny beats. It keeps Stray Kids’ swaggering style, seen on past singles “Hellevator” and “District 9,” but introduces melodious, bright synths that tone down the intensity a bit as the nonet rap and sing about staying in their lane and going at their own speed. While it’s less aggressive than their prior songs, “My Pace” doesn’t do away with the boisterous nature Stray Kids and instead fers up an alternate, grungier look at the crew.
In a gritty music video that is partially filmed as if through security-camera footage, the nine members Stray Kids are seen as ringleaders wild antics going on by what appear to ostensibly be the "stray" people their music is aimed at. Screen splices are utilized frequently, drawing attention to a specific member as the rest are simultaneously on screen, ten serving up their powerful, stomp-filled choreography while wearing cozy looking athleisure looks and jerseys.
“My Pace” was co-written by members Bang Chan, Changbin and Han, aka 3racha, with J.Y. Park, earattack and Larmook. 3racha has written much Stray Kids’ music, and at least one the three are credited on each the album's tracks.
I Am Who (stylized I am WHO) is the successor to March's I Am Not, the act’s first formal album; they released Mixtape in January consisting songs that they created through the survival competition show the group appeared on prior to their K-pop debut. While Not focused on Stray Kids’ rebellious nature in a world that demands conformity, the new album comes across as the act’s exploration self, with Shakespeare’s famous “to be or not to be” line even making an appearance on “Question.”
Stray Kids is the latest act from “Big 3” K-pop label JYP Entertainment. They've seen both their past albums break into the top five the World Albums chart, and their first single "Hellevator" peaked at No. 6 on the World Digital Song Sales chart last year.