NCT 127 is finally back with the release of Sticker, their first studio album since 2020’s Neo Zone. Although every NCT comeback is a party in Neo City, this era is sure to be unforgettable—especially for the creators behind it. For writers and producers Rokman and Benji Bae, it’s the first era of many more to come.
EnVi caught up with the creatives for a two-part interview to discuss the creation of NCT 127’s “Lemonade.” For part two, Benji and Rokman answered your online questions and revealed which member they’d love to work with solo. Read all about it in the Q&A below.
EnVi: If “Lemonade” featured another artist, who would be your dream feature for NCT 127?
Benji: Ooh, okay this is going to be so different! Because outside of K-pop, I’m super into alternative R&B, hip-hop… and he’s just another dude [points at Rokman].
Rokman: [laughs]. I don’t know, honestly. I didn’t think about it.
Benji: I know I’m going to get a little flack for this, but I think G-Eazy would sound good on this track. Or even Ski Mask the Slump God.
Rokman: I hear Benji Bae as a feature.
Benji: Oh yes, me!
Dream Collab with a member of NCT
EnVi: If you could write or produce a solo album for any member of NCT, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
Benji: Oh no, you’re going to make me pick? [To Rokman]: Do you have something?
Rokman: I would love to do a solo project for Mark. I love just how cutting and clear his voice is, and he can speak multiple languages super clear — his tone is just very versatile and matches my style. And he can sing — a lot of people don’t get to hear him sing much, but he could do some great crossover stuff.
Benji: This is a hard question. I’m going to go for two — I feel like Taeyong has a lot of versatility that could be super cool with some very non-K-pop style rhythms and instruments. But, I love Haechan — he just kills everything he does and he’s just so freaking cute. In his NCT Dream projects, he kills it. In 127, he does a really good job, and I just think he has so much potential. Like, in my opinion, Haechan reminds me of Taemin from SHINee, because Taemin has always been really cool, but when he started coming out with his solo stuff, that’s when we were really able to see the artistry that he wanted to put out.
Tastes Like Lemonade
EnVi: If “Lemonade” were a dish, how would you describe the taste of the meal?
Benji: Sweet like lemonade, baby!
Rokman: I cracked up because there are all these memes that people have been making about “Lemonade,” and it’s just so funny. But after seeing the music video, it changed for me.
Benji: Yeah, me too. I would say before it was a very intense kind of sweetness, then now for me, it’s like a spicy sweetness. Like, you know how in certain Mexican dishes, they add spice on top of sweet things? After seeing the track video and how they carry it, I think it’s sweet, spicy, and easy to eat. You don’t have to try hard to do it, but it hits with every bite.
Rokman: I’m seeing lemons cut on a grill with the fire just burning the lemons, and then somebody hitting it with a hammer on a steak.
Benji: Wait, now I want to change mine! It’s lemon cake with a little pepper inside.
Rokman: [laughs]. You didn’t even say a lot of pepper or a huge jalapeño.
Benji: Wouldn’t you rather eat a spicy lemon cake than burnt lemons beat with a hammer?
Rokman: I didn’t say lemons beat with a hammer; I said there was a steak and someone’s hammering the lemons on top to tenderize it or something. I don’t know.
Benji: See? I win, moving on.
Putting Their Stamp on NCT’s Sound
EnVi: How did you find a balance between having “Lemonade” sound very 127 while also pushing their sound forward?
Benji: I’m honored that that’s even a question; I’m not gonna lie.
Rokman: That’s a really cool question. I think, writing-wise, everything up to the chorus kind of made sense. One thing that helped is that sonically, everything was really tight — it was very simple, but it had a big impact. And when the chorus hit, that’s the part that really pushed things more progressive than what we were expecting — that was just a gamble. We were worried because we hadn’t heard that before.
Benji: To add to that, I do want to say that when we were writing the track and when we already had a certain kind of image, we were thinking about stuff that NCT hadn’t done. So, lyrically or with the flows on the track, what is something that —when done by NCT— is still identifiable but doesn’t sound like someone tried to force a rap section into a song?
Rokman: We actually did think, specifically, about what we can do that we haven’t heard done already. Either way, even the slower songs they’ve put out are so awesome — they’ve painted a cool picture, and I feel like this whole album is going to be their best one.
NCT 127 as Musical Instruments
EnVi: Can you assign a musical instrument to each member of 127?
Benji: Ooh, now that’s a K-pop question for sure. Can we do a rapid-fire round where you just throw out a name, and we’ll say an instrument?
EnVi: Absolutely! First up is Taeil.
Benji: [laughs]. Okay, yeah.
Rokman: Wait, maybe percussion. Let’s just say percussion, that sounds a little better.
Benji: [laughs again]. It sounds the same, dude.
EnVi: Okay, next is Johnny!
Benji: Nah, bro.
Benji: No, no, no. Bass guitar.
EnVi: Okay, we’ll take bass. How about Jaehyun?
Rokman: I would say bass for him because of the low voice.
Benji: I think cello because Jaehyun is mad classy and Johnny is cool, but like, in a really casual way.
EnVi: Okay, Doyoung?
Benji: Hmm, flute?
Rokman: I don’t know, those three have such a similar aura — it’s so hard to separate instruments for them. I’ll say bassoon.
Benji: Run it.
EnVi: Okay, bassoon for Doyoung. Next, is Jungwoo.
Rokman: Oh gosh, that’s clarinet.
Benji: Yeah, clarinet.
EnVi: Unanimous — nice. What about Yuta?
Rokman: Drums; I think he’d be a good drummer.
Benji: You know what? I’m going to say the triangle. Because he’s not the member who always gets the most lines, but he does add his own special spice to it.
Rokman: I’m probably thinking drummer because he came in on the pre-chorus in “Lemonade.” And he was just like, boom, in your face.
Benji: Oh, that’s true. We’re still going with triangle, though.
EnVi: Triangle, it is. Now, we’re on Haechan.
Rokman: I thought acoustic guitar. When I think electric, I think of Mark.
Benji: Oh yeah, we’ll run that! Haechan is acoustic guitar, and Mark is electric.
EnVi: Any reason why?
Benji: With acoustic guitar, yeah, you can manipulate it, but it’s very warm-sounding — I think Haechan’s voice is super warm. Mark knows how to throw his voice around, and that’s an electric guitar linked up to an amp, peddles — however you want to do it, he knows how to do that.
Rokman: Yeah, Mark’s voice sounds like a cutting lead.
EnVi: Awesome, lastly is Taeyong.
Rokman: If I was thinking of it in band form, I would think of him as the lead singer and the other guys play the instruments.
Benji: [jokingly]. That’s not the answer to the question — she asked for an instrument, dude.
Rokman: I know, but if I’m visualizing all these other people playing instruments, now I’m just visualizing him as the singer.
Benji: Oh, I got it! I would say the keyboard.
Rokman: Yeah, I’d go keyboard.
EnVi: Why is that?
Rokman: Versatility — it could be upfront, it could be in the background. That’s a good one.
Benji: But it always hits wherever you put it.
Future Plans & Goals
EnVi: Is there anything you look forward to next or hope to achieve?
Benji: Definitely want to continue making music and working with “Rok.” I’m also working on my solo album, and all the music that I’ve done with Rok has greatly affected that process. Now that “Lemonade” is out, I’m going deep in my own projects.
EnVi: Will it be similar to “Telephone”?
Benji: Yo, you’re not ready. I showed Rok this track the other day, and oh man, I’m excited.
EnVi: Looking forward to it! Rok, what about you?
Rokman: I kind of just stepped into the Asian music world recently, and it’s like my super passion. I listen to podcasts every day, and I research members to sort of catch up with the world, you know? I’m just excited to continue making music for this industry and finding ways to do it differently. Also, I have an artist project in the works as a producer/collaborator, and that’s it. I’m just really going hard on K-pop and collaborating with Benji.
Benji: And we also want to meet NCT.
Rokman: Yeah, let’s be best friends or something.
To The World
As NCT 127 continues its path to international stardom, the two collaborators are just happy to be along for the ride. From similar musical styles to their sense of humor, Benji and Rokman have unmatched chemistry. “I remember when I first met Rok in February, we were talking about our aspirations, and we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be so cool if a track we make gets the music video and the whole choreography treatment?” Benji said. “Here we are, baby.”
Listen to “Lemonade” on NCT 127’s album, Sticker, available here on all platforms!
For more on “Lemonade,” check out our interview with Benji Bae here!
Thumbnail by Laras .