This is not LISA’s first venture into solo music. But, the Thai rapper and singer, best known for her participation in BLACKPINK, is now making a splash on her own terms under her new record label, LLOUD. After LISA’s departure from legacy K-pop label YG entertainment, fans wondered where she would go sonically with her solo releases. 

On June 28 at 8:00 p.m. EST, LISA gifted the world her latest single “Rockstar,” a slick and exhilarating return to music. The music builds on what she’s best known for: braggadocious lyrics and infectious rapping. After all, she’s gained unprecedented success through brash and explosive girl-crush music.

For those uninitiated to K-pop — and the force that LISA is — she’s not only racked in billions of views across her music videos, but she’s also landed several debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Aside from her impressive chart performance, she made history in 2022 as the first K-pop solo artist to win the “Best K-pop Award” at the VMAs. 

“Rockstar” was first teased to fans on June 6. Through a short video, fans began to flood her newly-created TikTok account in a frenzy. On her account, fans left comments like “I WAS JUST STALKING AND NOW I’M 40 SECONDS EARLY” and “finally queen Lisa is back.” If the excitement for this release wasn’t already clear, the “Rockstar” music video amassed over six million views in just three hours after its release. Aside from views on YouTube, the video trended at No. 5 for music on the platform.

LISA Is a Rockstar in Every Way

“Rockstar” is the song that came just in time for the summer. 2024 is the year of Hyperpop with artists such as Charli XCX delivering albums like her critically acclaimed brat. In “Rockstar,” LISA takes a stab at the genre. Produced by Sam Homaee and Ryan Tedder, the record departs from the trap-heavy soundscapes found on her 2021 hit “MONEY.” Sampling Tame Impala’s “New Person, Same Old Mistakes,” the record brings listeners through a sonic roller coaster with dreamy singing down to electric rapping. LISA’s pen is certainly not to be played with. It’s hard not to join in when she sings breathily, “I’m a Rockstar / I’m a Rockstar / It’s not hype, hype, baby make you rock hard.” Co-written by Ryan Tedder, James Essien, Sam Homaee, Brittany Amaradio, and Lucy Healey, the lyrics are fun, sexy, and yet also confident.

A Dance-heavy Visual Feast

Set in LISA’s home country of Thailand, the “Rockstar” music video is colorful, surreal, and expressive. A love letter to her country, the video features a wealth of Thai women, including three trans women Bruce Kachi Sarah, Chinnawat Promsri, and Rinniya Puttipokinlak. LISA brought her A-game in fashion, dance, and production. Meshing Y2K with modern streetwear, she implemented silver fabrics, icy makeup, denim outfits, and of course, baggy jeans. Directed by Henry Scholfield, the video makes full use of dancers, night lights, and impressive editing. For this video, LISA enlisted the help of Academy Films, who have serviced clients like Adidas. The video harkens back to the 2000s with a 4:3 aspect ratio; but despite this, it is cinematic and otherworldly. This is particularly noticeable when it takes full advantage of quick cuts to excite viewers. 

New Era, New Collaborators

Part of what makes this era of LISA’s career so exciting are the creatives she has teamed up with for this record. A feast for the eyes, LISA first teased the visuals of “Rockstar” with photography from Jack Bridgland. Known for his distinctive work that makes skin buttery smooth, Bridgland plays with rich saturation in his photos. He has worked with K-pop artists like HONG JOONG and MINGI of ATEEZ, as well as artists like Teezo Touchdown and Billie Eilish. In the “Rockstar” cover art, LISA rocks a black mullet with a star jewel on her teeth. The picture is all about the accessories, and she certainly knows how to rock a big hooped earring.

However we can’t mention LISA without talking about dance. Hailed as one of K-pop’s strongest dancers by fans across the world, LISA teamed up with legendary choreographer Sean Bankhead. Known for his work with industry giants like Cardi B, Normani, and Victoria Monét, he has since become a staple within the hip-hop and R&B space. With Lisa, he meshes intimate handwork with explosive footwork and movement. Although this is his first ride with the Thai rapper, one can only hope that the two continue to work together for future releases.

And though she’s closed the chapter on girl group activities, she’s starting a new one as one of 2024’s most exciting solo acts.  With a dynamic solo release like “Rockstar,” who knows what sounds LISA will dig into next. Whatever they may be, we know that we’ll be keeping an ear out for all things LISA.

Want to dig into more releases from artists across the Asian diaspora? Read our coverage of the self taught singer-songwriter hongjoin’s album KOMOREBI here!