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Ravi, whose label Groovl1n will be working with US group Boyz II Men, tells the Post about his newest album, Roses. Photo: Groovl1n

K-pop rapper Ravi on sentimental new album Roses, missing his fans and working with Boyz II Men

  • Although Ravi is sad he has not been able to perform for or meet his fans for the release of Roses, the album leaves the rapper ‘satisfied musically’
  • Ravi’s hip-hop label Groovl1n will be working with Boyz II Men to promote the US group in South Korea, which the rapper says is ‘such an honour’
K-pop idols
Tamar Hermanin United States

Everything’s looking rather rosy for South Korean hip-hop artist-producer Ravi in 2021.

On June 3, he released his seven-track album Roses, fronted by the single Cardigan featuring Korean rapper Wonstein.

“Every song in it is like a flower,” explains Ravi, 28, of the album’s title. “Roses have many colours and each one symbolises something else, just like my tracks.”

The theme of the album is sentimentality, says Ravi, who wants to show his softer side through its breezy, oftentimes mellow hip-hop and jazzy alt R&B tracks.

“I really felt Wonstein matched the sensitive theme of this album, so he could help me show off the single’s meaning,” he says of working with the rapper.

“All the songs, melodies and choruses are built around this theme, and the collaborators I worked with have helped me express that even better.”

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Though the first two singles released were the romantic Cardigan and the thematic album opener Flower Garden, Ravi says his lyrical favourite is the closer – the acoustic I Don’t Deny.

“It reflects my recent thoughts really well. When I wrote this song, I was thinking about leaving, how anyone and everyone could leave.”

Asked if this is a reference to his rumoured upcoming music hiatus to complete mandatory military service in South Korea, Ravi says: “I’m not leaving my work, I’m still writing my songs. I’m always working hard. It’s just a thought I had [while writing I Don’t Deny]. The song expresses my viewpoint and perspective of the world.”
Sentimentality is the theme of the album “Roses”. Photo: Groovl1n
Ravi, who is a member of K-pop boy band Vixx, was hesitant to release Roses when he did because of the coronavirus pandemic. He had to cancel a world tour last year and he felt it was unfortunate that he had to put out music without performing it live.

Ultimately, he decided to move forward with Roses and to release music now so that, when he returns to the stage, he’ll have new songs to perform.

“I’m satisfied from the perspective of the music and the artistic elements,” he reflects. “In the past, I’ve thought that there was some more room to grow following the release of an album, but for this one I’m satisfied musically. Obviously, it’s still disappointing and unfortunate that I can’t perform and meet [fans].”


Roses is the singer’s fourth EP since his first solo album in 2017, and he is currently working on a full-length LP – his second following 2020’s El Dorado.

That’s not all – hip-hop label Groovl1n, which Ravi founded in 2019, has said it will be working with US group Boyz II Men to promote them in South Korea. In the lead-up to their 20th anniversary next year, the R&B legends will be doing an English remake of the 2002 song Love Me Once Again by Korean R&B duo Vibe. The song will drop on June 30.

Ravi doesn’t mention this important development at all during a talk about Roses with the Post, instead opting to focus on his recent release and general goals – but he does share his thoughts on it in a series of follow-up texts.

“I used to listen to hip-hop and R&B when I was in middle school, and I listened to Boyz II Men’s songs all the time,” says Ravi. “Their a cappella at the time was a shock to me. I immediately became a fan and I enjoyed listening and singing along to Boyz II Men’s songs.

“It is such an honour to work with Boyz II Men in Korea. I hope we can support them well.”

Supporting the artists working with him is something close to Ravi’s heart, and he mentions several times throughout our video call how he wants to help Groovl1n artists – including singer-producer Xydo who released his EP Cycle on June 21 – grow and develop.

It’s not just his artists that Ravi wants to help grow – he wants to work on himself, too. Though he says Roses is the first album he has no doubts about, it’s not a sentiment felt by everyone. The song Red Velvet, featuring K-pop singer Jamie, was removed from digital streaming platforms after people criticised it for appearing to sexualise K-pop girl group Red Velvet. The song appeared to make references to several of the members’ names and songs.

In a statement, Ravi apologised and said he’d aim to do better in the future. When asked how he felt about negative feedback to his music, he simply says that he’s not trying to win over everybody, but creating music for those who are ready to listen.

“I don’t think everyone likes my music and my style of songs. So I try to write and release my music and album for the people who love my music. I always try to do the best for my surroundings. I’m not going to write a song for someone who doesn’t like my music, but I’ll try to write music for those who want to listen to it.”