Jellyfish Entertainment

In the midst of VIXX's plan to release three singles in 2016, Ravi found time to not only release his first mixtape, but make the first important steps in a full-fledged solo career. The 23-year-old rapper's impressive [R.EBIRTH] mixtape from March saw Ravi handling production on every track; last month he further showcased his potential as a solo star with "DamnRa" and its one-take–inspired music video. [R.EBIRTH] showed his versatility—"Where Should I Go" recalled the subtle beat you'd find on a Drake album, as songs like "Ox" and "Lean On" respectively spotlighted his R&B and pop sensibilities—while "DamnRa" felt like the next logical step to prove Ravi could take control of a dance troupe for an intense music video.

In the midst of preparing for VIXX's new Hades EP, Ravi took some time to talk with Fuse about his recent solo work, his artistic ambitions and what he envisions next for himself and his group.

FUSE: How are you feeling after releasing your new single "DamnRa"?
I'm very happy with the outcome because I really wanted to release a track with a vibe like this. The dancers in the one-take based dance performance in my video are street scene hip-hop dancers who I've admired since I was a kid. We worked on the dance moves and performance together.

“I write the way I want and do things the way I want.”
-Ravi on making music as a solo rapper

You only released your first solo mixtape [R.EBIRTH] a few months ago. Which tracks are you particularly proud of?
I like "Lean on Me" the most. The lyrics are comforting, I think it’s realistic, speaks right to people's hearts. This song reminds me that I want to be a person who can be counted on and relied on. I hope this song makes you feel better when you are down.

What is the main difference between Ravi as solo act or as a mixtape artist, compared to Ravi in VIXX?
I think the main difference is the identity and the way I approach the music. As Ravi, the member of VIXX, I have a character and adjust myself to the concept. As a rapper Ravi, I think it’s pretty close to who I really am. I write the way I want and do things the way I want.

Can we expect a new mixtape anytime soon? For your future work, are there any rappers/producers you hope to collaborate with who weren't featured on [R.EBIRTH]?
I don’t know the exact date, but the track I worked with rapper Superbee from Show Me the Money 5 will be released pretty soon. Besides rappers, I'd like to work with great vocalists such as Jung Yeol from 10cm, Crush and Dean. Swings, Dok2, Beenzino, Nucksal, C Jamm, BewhY, Jessie, Heize are rappers I'd like to collaborate with. I often picture myself working with these artists so I can develop a new side of my work. If I get the chance, I definitely would like to work with Chris Brown.

Who are your top three favorite rappers right now?
Foreign artists? A$AP Rocky, Drake and Kendrick Lamar. Korean artists? Swings, Dok2 and Beenzino.

VIXX is gearing up for a comeback with the Hades EP and its "Fantasy" single. Did you participate in the new music?
I look forward to fans discovering the characters of each member, but I wrote the concept and the rap lyrics.

Anything else to add?
I'm grateful to have this opportunity to share my music and my story with you. I want to keep on writing good songs and performing on the stage for my fans who have supported me for so long. Thank you.

Listen to Fuse's K-pop podcast K-Stop review and discuss Ravi's solo career at the 16:35 mark below: