J-Hope and Becky G release addictive remake of hip-hop track “Chicken Noodle Soup”

The significance of the two artists’ reinterpretation of the 2006 hit

Zara Iqbal, Copy editor

On Sept. 12, 2006, rapper Young B (now Bianca Bonnie) and DJ Webstar released “Chicken Noodle Soup” which took the hip-hop world by storm. The music video featured its accompanying Harlem-rooted choreography and went viral on YouTube. 

 

And almost exactly 13 years later, we are seeing history repeat itself: Becky G and J-Hope of K-Pop group Beyond The Scene (BTS) release a trilingual remake of the song on Sept. 27. It reached number one on iTunes Top Songs Charts worldwide and became the second most viewed music video on YouTube in 24 hours by a Korean soloist. Furthermore, it sparked a viral dance challenge on social media where fans would cover the point choreography (the most prominent or iconic move in the choreography, usually performed in the chorus), including the hashtag #CNSChallenge. The point choreography embodies J-Hope’s reinterpretation of the choreography from the original “Chicken Noodle Soup,” which consisted of a commodified version of a dance move called the Harlem shake (not to be confused with the 2013 meme which doesn’t have anything to do with the original dance move).

 

 

J-Hope started arranging the song while working on his mixtape “Hope World” which was released in March 2018, as it was originally going to be an included track (it wasn’t included because there was another artist who was originally on the track, but the collaboration fell through). J-Hope and Becky G bonded over what the 2006 release meant to them, as they both enjoyed listening and dancing to the song as kids. The two artists decided to collaborate after they first met at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs). J-Hope released the song for free after paying Bianca Bonnie $2.7 million dollars to sample the original release.

To film the music video, J-Hope flew out to LA during BTS’ rest period in August to accommodate Becky G’s busy schedule, as he mentioned in a recent livestream. The music video was filmed as a one-shot and features a diverse set of over 50 dancers from all over the world. 

The song opens with a funky beat and the sound of a cash register opening while the video shows four dancers doing the point choreography. After Becky G sings the intro, she and J-Hope start the chorus in English, a repetition of “chicken noodle soup wit’ a soda on the side,” which are lyrics from the original song. The combination of the two artists’ voices in the chorus is a unique blend, and their inflection makes it addictive to listen to. 

J-Hope opens the first verse, rapping about his aspirations of dance when he was younger. “Geum-nam Chung-jang Street, that’s my Harlem,” he raps in Korean, referencing streets in his hometown, Gwangju, paralleling it to the original song’s lyrics that allude to Harlem. He continues to rap about his dancing career, mentioning NEURON, an underground street dance team he was a part of as a teen before joining entertainment company Big Hit and debuting as a BTS member. He then raps about how he “fell head over heels for dancing,” pulling all-nighters to invest in his passion for dancing and became “a kid who goes on to shape his dream.” 

He ends the verse priding himself in how far he has come, but even as a member of one of the biggest boy bands in the world, he never slacks: “Still do the work everyday, ASAP, for my own sake … Betting on my life, dancing is my cash.”

His flow in the beginning of his verse hits each beat perfectly, and then speeds up the flow but only for a couple of lines, teasing his versatility as a rapper. The flow switches again in the middle of his verse — he raps slower and continuously over the beat, and consequently, the pitch in his voice gets deeper. When he ends his verse, he switches to what seems to be the same flow from the beginning of his verse. 

The songs transitions into the pre-chorus, which completely switches up the background music to a much smoother melody, complementing Becky G’s voice as she sings. The contrast from the first verse and the pre-chorus is unfamiliar at first but easy to get used to as Becky G’s voice is mesmerizing. She sings, “We always got love (Got love) / For where we come from (Where we from) / So let ’em know what’s up (Ooh, yeah) / No matter wherever we go / Bring it back to this place called home, baby.” These lyrics allude to a general theme of the remake: pride in their roots. Even though Becky G and J-Hope broke into the American music industry, they continue to release music and perform in Spanish and Korean respectively. This connects to how music transcends language barriers, a message BTS has consistently expressed.

In verse two after the addictive chorus, Becky G also raps about her roots and self-worth in Spanish: “Latin American, I’m from here … Where I was born, they didn’t think a woman was going to stand out.” In the middle of her verse, the camera pans up to the sky to a blimp that says “Go J-Hope!” with the BTS logo, as if the other members of BTS are rooting him on. Becky G ends her verse with “Definitely the best on the scene / Word on the street, we got the people reactin’,” further exemplifying her pride as a Latino artist. 

Becky G portrays her own versatility, as her tone in the pre-chorus while she’s singing is completely different from her rapping in the second verse, which uses a similar beat from J-Hope’s verse. She comes off strong and with attitude; her flow is pretty consistent, but she speeds up and slows down her delivery at certain points which is captivating to hear.

In the bridge and in the outro, they both repeat chants of “let’s get it,” at a fast pace, which portrays the general high energy of the song and easily gets stuck in your head. The confident vibe the duo exudes in this track through their voices and their performance is attractive and powerful, showcasing natural chemistry. 

In the song’s outro, names of all dancers featured in the video are listed as they (as well as J-Hope) freestyle to the music, giving them recognition.

via GIPHY

 

A clip of J-Hope, Becky G and all of the dancers singing the outro of the song together is edited in at the very end of the video, as requested by J-Hope to show the fun-loving atmosphere of that moment. 

 

via GIPHY

 

The original creators of the song have also shown appreciation of J-Hope and Becky G’s reinterpretation on social media. On her Instagram, Bianca Bonnie said, “The remake really is dope to me. ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ been out like almost 15 years now, and it’s just really, really dope to me that, you know, that this new generation can even still tap in tune to it so I think it’s amazing.” Fans also trended the hashtag #ThankYouBianca on Twitter to pay homage to her, which reached number one worldwide.

 

 

Webstar also posted on his Instagram story. “Shout out to everybody who has been hitting me up about the ‘Chicken Noodle Soup’ remake,” he said. “Them kids did an amazing job. They doin’ the right thing.”

 

 

Even though J-Hope’s release is free, the amount of exposure and recognition BTS has gained from this collaboration only continues to grow, especially due to the viral dance challenge. 

J-Hope initiated the challenge by posting this video on TikTok:

 

 

After, fans on various social media platforms started to post their own covers of the dance:

 

 

J-Hope recently tweeted his thanks to fans and Becky G, and notes how memorable this experience was to him. “This project was really an opportunity for me to learn and grow,” he writes.