EXO‘s Xiumin and NCT‘s Mark have a super sweet friendship, and for Xiumin’s solo debut album, Mark featured on the song “How We Do.”
mark looks so happy while jumping with xiumin 🙁 pic.twitter.com/XwjUwfpDCR
— ㅎ (@Ieemarkees) September 30, 2022
In the behind-the-scenes recording of “How We Do,” the two showed off their adorable chemistry, and Mark impressed Xiumin and all fans with his songwriting skills.
xiumin saying mark is cute ☹️ pic.twitter.com/Wdb3ShlBAt
— ◡̈ (@LMKLOOK) October 18, 2022
Xiumin reached out to Mark as he prepared for Brand New, and “How We Do” was the perfect song to feature his voice.
Their voices blend so well together, and even Mark was surprised that despite simply featuring, it was almost like the song was a duet between them, and it reminded him of their SM STATION “Young & Free” back in 2017.
But I didn’t know I’d be featured like this. I thought I’d sing maybe one verse of the song. But this almost feels like ‘Young & Free.’
“Young & Free” was released a month before Mark turned eighteen, so much has changed since then (although Xiumin’s ever-youthful visuals have not).
— SMTownEngSub (@SMTownEngSub) July 6, 2022
Now that he’s older and more experienced, Mark’s rap has taken on a different tone. While he was a standout right from his debut, his skills have been polished, allowing for an effortless delivery with just the right mix of relaxation and grit.
Mark was in charge of writing his own parts, and while he was satisfied with most of them, there was one line he wanted to change as they went through with the recording.
Since the essence of the song is confidence, Mark wanted to put in a line alluding to NCT and EXO since their groups make up so much of their identity as artists.
He ended up settling for “Gather round. In this city, I see no exit.” The “city” refers to “NCT,” and the “exit” refers to EXO.
Mark didn’t want to be obvious with his allusion; he just wanted something similar in pronunciation, making the lyrics a little easter egg for fans to discover. It’s a simple, innovative, and fun way to incorporate their groups into the song, adding to the overall vibes of comfort and nostalgia.
You can listen to “How We Do” here: