Infamous for masking lewd content with aegyo and smashing 18+ syllables in one second, E.via‘s made a name of herself as the balls to the wall speed rapper with virtually no filter. She speaks her mind in her music, with MOGEF bans or without, and does so with ten times the swagger of every boy band rapper combined.
E.Via’s newest project, “E.Viagradation Part. 1“, is a pretty big departure from her previous work. Unlike the cryptically cute appearance of E.Via’s old music, “E.Viagradation Part. 1″ is incredibly dark from beginning to end. It’s not only eerie by its content, but frighteningly interesting in its structure.
Rather than releasing a standard mini-album with a five-to-six tracklist, E.Via’s album is composed in a intro, interlude, outro format. It’s something like an audio book or a short movement in a piece of music. It’s different for a Korean release today, and way more interesting of an avenue to listen to music.
One of the main themes of this album is the emotional rupture of heartbreak and its metaphorical equivalence to death. Throughout “E.Viagradation Part. 1″, a heart monitor beeps in the background (and at times, in the foreground) acting as a symbol of how deep an emotional wound can cut and one’s erratic emotional dependency on love (beeps are slow in some places, while incredibly fast paced in others).
In “미친 인연 (Feat. 이수 of M.C the MAX)”, E.Via spits rapid lines in a dark tone. She’s not squeezing her ass cheeks to sound cute like she’s done in her past work, but matching the tonalities of her voice with the song to magnify its impact. It’s not exactly how I pictured E.Via making a comeback, but it’s an interesting and sophisticated musical approach for her as an artist, and a musical direction that I’m not entirely against seeing her veer into.
“밤에 피는 장미 (Feat. 배켱)” solidifies E.Via’s full commitment to the darkness of her album, not by warp rapping in a depressing way, but by reintroducing her “cuter” side to exploit and cut the roughness of the album. She’s kind of mixing the old with the new by allowing the vocal interpretation on this song to come across really spooky, but in a freakishly beautiful kind of way.
There’s an interesting uneasiness to the listening experience of this song, and the ominous vibes are perpetuated by the fusion of hip-hop and a stunning orchestration. Strings claw in staccato fashion on the downbeats, sort of forcing the song forward against its will, then break out into a full on horror transition (screams and everything) to welcome rapper 배켱 into the picture, who brings an extra dosage of awesome to the song. “밤에 피는 장미” is kind of masterful without feeling too self-indulgent, and I think that was one of the largest hurdles for E.Via to overcome for such an intricate piece of music.
“E.Viagradation Part. 1″ isn’t nearly as tongue in cheek as E.Via’s previous work, but what it loses in crudeness it makes up in elegant musicality. E.Via has sort of matured since her last release, a telltale sign of her eagerness to grow and diversify her image as a rapper.
I really loved E.Via’s ballsy moments in some of her earliest material, but I can’t say that I’m not enjoying the thematic darkness of where she’s at right now. She’s executed it pretty fucking well, and has proven that great storytelling still exists in music if you know how to source its rawest potential to do so.
Here’s hoping she’s got another great chapter up her sleeve in part two.