Ravi’s solo EP has been most of the highly anticipated projects of 2017 thus far. Since debuting with VIXX as their main rapper, Ravi has really developed as an artist and producer, and his release of “R.EAL1ZE” on 9th January 2017 stands as a testament to his musical development and talents as a musician.

BOMB ft. San E
For someone who does not like heavy hip-hop/rap, this is not a track for you! For those you who do feel comfortable with the sound, then ‘BOMB’ featuring San E is for you! Admittedly, even for me, it is a heavy track, but it really focuses Ravi’s energies and sound into an aural bombardment. It’s a great track if you can get to the end!

Rose ft. Ken Of VIXX
‘Rose’ takes a completely different tone, and supported by his groupmate, Ken, the track opens with the acoustic guitar and Ken’s soothing vocals. Whilst the track is mainly synth and a drum board, ‘Rose’ also incorporates a music box that makes this track both childlike but also nostalgic. Of course, given that Ken is taking care of the vocals, Ravi focuses on the rap lines masterfully. It’s a strong track and definitely a good listen.

Ladi Dadi ft. Microdot and Jero
The ordering of this EP are great: ‘Ladi Dadi’ falls naturally after ‘Rose’, without sounding off-putting and ruining the flow of the EP. It’s a mixture of rap and hip-hop, but upbeat and definitely sounds like a 90’s party track with that funky attitude, with all the vocals and rap lines working so well together. This track is definitely a winner!

Home Alone ft. CNBlue’s Jung Yonghwa
Whenever I hear Yonghwa’s voice, I feel mellow and like I should really have a warm cup of coffee in my hand! This rock-influenced pop track works really well with Ravi’s rap, and to be honest, it’s probably because we’re used to Ravi in settings like this! Having said that, the sound is definitely more rock than VIXX’s pop sound, and despite that, Ravi really makes this track come alive: Junghwa is just a bonus!

Do the Dance
‘Do the Dance’ returns back to Ravi’s more aggressive hip-hop style, much like ‘Bomb’, but arguably this track is much easier to listen to. There’s still a lot going on, don’t get me wrong. But it’s far easier listen than ‘Bomb’ and for someone who’s much more used to the ‘VIXX’ Ravi, then this might be a bit more accessible.

Lean On Me
What’s so impressive about Ravi is his versatility: he works in heavier rap/hip-hop settings, but also in more poppy and upbeat tracks, and ‘Lean On Me’ is one of the latter. This track works really well and really suits him and his vocals and rap line. It’s an easy listen and makes you want to dance along to it.

Noebius Strip ft. ESBEE
When I read the title of this track, I was expecting a very heavy hip-hop track. What we get instead is a light, piano-supported acoustic rap ballad track. ESBEE is a great feature on this track: his vocals are smooth and pure R&B but work with Ravi’s more rhythmic rap. This track definitely features highly on this album.

CONCLUDING REMARKS
Overall, this EP is a definite winner! I think that Ravi’s release is probably one of the most anticipated solo projects, both from VIXX fans and the Hallyu community in general. Ravi’s versatility is definitely apparent in this EP and all the tracks are different and unique. He also knows who to feature in what track, how to employ them in the track, and what the right order is, and shows definite artistic prowess and mastery. Overall, I’m really impressed with this album and, whilst I have to confess that some of the more heavy rap and hip-hop tracks aren’t my sound, I really enjoyed this album.

Review written by Tariq

RAVI - R.EAL1ZE
Shows Ravi’s versatility; all the tracks are unique and engaging; impressive production; and shows a great deal of development on Ravi’s part.
Ironically, the more hip-hop elements are a bit alienating, unless you are familiar with the style.
4.0Overall Score
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