Feel This Energy! – BOMB (Feat. San E) by 라비

I wasn’t intending to write a review but it just happened naturally. I wanted to just post some stuff that I’ve been enjoying lately but I guess that’s what I get for writing an in-depth analysis of VIXX’s “저주인형” MV as part of my senior thesis back in college. I must’ve planted a seed where I would subconsciously feel the need to write lengthy essays about VIXX.

Ravi (라비) has been passionately working his way up in the K-Pop industry as a member of the six member idol group VIXX (빅스). I have watched him grow from his days as a trainee on MyDOL (an elimination style reality show that focused on VIXX’s formation). From the beginning, he has stood out with a raw, aggressive rapping style complimented by a bold vocal timbre. In addition, he has been actively participating as a lyricist since debut.

While Ravi (라비) has always been received with a variety of opinions, based on the delivery of his rapping and idol status, he has become increasingly subjected to criticism with the release of his first mixtape, R.EBIRTH. A recurring theme that he utilizes lyrically is confronting ongoing disapproval that he is faced with as an idol trying to break into the hip hop scene.

With an explosive sound (no pun intended), “BOMB” is a very robust song heavily driven by dense bass and percussive elements. It shares many characteristics heard in other songs of similar genre but still manages to be captivating and dynamic due to the uniqueness of Ravi’s vocals.

What’s intriguing about “BOMB” is that despite being vastly different from VIXX’s sound, the music video still utilizes a common theme of the group which is the concept of dreams versus reality. This is an effective mechanism that allows for the audience to accept content happening throughout the video seriously since they are given a glimpse into his subconscious. Due to this, it is somehow more easily digestible being presented as fantasy.

One of the things that really puzzles me about Ravi (라비) as a hip hop artist, is whether or not he is deliberately choosing to present himself with stereotypical physical attributes (hairstyles, outfits, etc.). At times, it makes me frustrated because I would like to see more innovation from him, however, I think that it is suitable for this release. He is seen outfitted in several different attires, which is a common feature of K-Pop MVs, but it appears to hold a deeper significance in this context.

He shows himself fashioned in cringe worthy clichés (excessive tattoos, braided hair, jewelry, etc.) but it is contrasted by scenes of him wearing other styles of street clothing, sometimes minimal clothing and suits. The fluctuations in style alone are representative of a desire for gaining acceptance within a particular genre. He literally portrays himself as an artist in the form of a painter surrounded by art. This is perhaps a representation of the experimentation and effort that he has put forth towards his musical career.

Up until San E appears, Ravi (라비) is isolated within his environment. The interaction between the two is curious because at times they are sitting together while other times only one of them is shown twice in the place of both men. I interpret this as showing growth for Ravi (라비) while also alluding to his future as a more established and well respected rapper (i.e. San E).

Things take a different turn around the bridge of the song as he is suddenly shown in a tuxedo and is projected into a position of authority as a conductor of a small, masked string section. He is unexpectedly dissimilar from the eccentric, uncontrolled painter of before. Moments of visual distortion follow, emphasizing the dreamlike environment while signifying a coming to terms with reality. He then emerges as someone who is powerfully self assured and in control.

While I am completely in love with all of VIXX’s music and MVs, as they are one of the few idol groups that consistently puts out intricate, solid releases, I don’t necessarily feel the same about Ravi’s solo content…yet. Nonetheless, there is significant growth from his previous material and I fully support and respect him as an artist whether it be with VIXX or as an individual performer.

I do believe that he has a lot more to show in the future and always look forward to any content he releases.

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