Don’t Sleep | Rav – VESTIGES

Don’t sleep on this new compilation from Rav. If you follow him, you may be aware of the b-sides collections he’s been dropping throughout the years. He’s dropped 7 of them, and he compiled his favorite tracks from each of them onto this project. There are also a few previously unreleased songs on this compilation as well. I never listened to any of the b-sides collections before listening to this one, so everything here was completely new to me. I was originally planning on doing a regular review for this project, but I unfortunately wasn’t able to find the production credits for every song, so that’s why I’m doing a “Don’t Sleep” review for it.

I’m pretty sure the opening track is one of the songs that hadn’t yet come out prior to the release of this compilation. I might be wrong about that though. Anyway, the first track is really dope. According to Genius, it’s produced by someone named Jayswan. I don’t know if that’s accurate though. I’m just gonna assume that it is. Whoever Jayswan is did a nice job with that beat. I like it a lot. The hook is pretty good. The song is actually really fucking awesome to be honest. It’s relatable as fuck. It’s basically just him rapping about being super insecure and having low self-esteem.

I hate cameras, mirrors, most reflective surfaces
I’m an assortment of many nervous ticks, they set me up
I’m sad as fuck as soon as I open my eyes each morning
I let y’all slide each time, and I despise me only

There’s only one verse, which I guess shouldn’t come as a surprise since this is project is just a collection of b-sides and unfinished leftovers. I love the song though. The beat’s cool, and the verse has some of the most relatable lines I’ve heard in a while. Honestly, the first time I heard the song it immediately became my favorite solo Rav track to date. I mean, I guess that isn’t really saying much because the only solo Rav project I’ve ever heard is Beneath the Toxic Jungle, which really only had one solo song. The song is great though. I love it. It’s dope af. The following track has a super laidback chill beat that’d be great to get high too. In fact, a lot of the beats on this project sound like what you’d hear on one of those live YouTube videos that has a gif of an anime character studying called “chill lo-fi hip hop beats to study to.” Now that I think about it, Rav would probably sound right at home over some Jansport J production. That’d be a dope collaboration. Anyway, there’s not really a single track that I dislike from this project. I think every song was at least pretty good. I can see myself coming back to all the material here. I was actually kinda surprised by how much I liked it to be honest. I enjoyed this a lot more than Rav’s actual album that came out in 2015. I think it may be because my expectations were lower. I didn’t think this would be that good since it’s just a bunch of leftover and unfinished tracks. Nothing here sounds criminally short though. Like, if I didn’t know any better, I might think these were just normal tracks. Well, there is one thing that kinda gives it away. The actual sound quality is pretty rough on some of these tracks. I’m pretty sure it was intentionally lo-fi though. Anyway, lemme stop rambling and talk about my favorite moments. It was cool to hear a feature from Scuare on the third track, Silent Pterodactyls. I also think the hook sounds really great. I couldn’t tell if those deeper vocals in the background were from a sample in the beat or if they were from Scuare. If I had to guess I would say it’s a sample, but I don’t know for sure. Invite is another standout track for me. I love the fast pace it has, and Rav’s flow sounds really good. A lot of the content on this album is about being depressed, which I can obviously relate to. Well, I guess it’s not obvious. If you’ve been following me for a long time you should know that it’s something I always relate to. I think Invite is one of the songs that wasn’t released until this compilation came out. I’m not completely sure though. Wings is a really weird track to me. I like it, but the production was a little grating to me at first. It’s a really strange beat. I don’t know how to explain why it was so weird to me. It almost sounded Poppy to me, but at the same time, it sounds too different to be accessible to a mainstream audience. The beat kinda sounds like it has some Electronic influence. Rav’s flow on the verse is awesome too. It’s not one of my favorite songs, but it definitely stood out just because it seems so different. The track that follows, Blur, actually is one of my favorites. I think it’s one of the best tracks on the record. I love the piano-driven production, and the content is great. I guess he’s rapping about someone with whom he was in a relationship.

Every time I close my eyes and I see your face
I start to feel alive and it’s really great
But when you call my phone and I hear your voice
I can hear you feel alone and I feel destroyed
I don’t seem to make you smile like I used to
Hence why my body of work now seems bruised up

It’s a really awesome song. The next song, Perfect Pieces, has a super chill beat, and Rav’s calm delivery over it just sounds really nice. This would be a perfect song to get stoned to. I feel like I’m sitting in a rainforest or a greenhouse getting high whenever I listen to that song. Goodnight is where the lo-fi mixing really stood out to me the most. The bass is so poorly mixed that it drowns out Rav’s vocals at certain points. I didn’t seem to have a problem with it when streaming directly from bandcamp, but for whatever reason it didn’t sound as clear when I listened from iTunes. Maybe it’s just me. I still enjoyed the song overall. Hovercraft Flow is definitely another one of my favorite tracks. First of all, that beat from j^p^n is fire. That dude put his ass into that beat. It sounds fantastic. Rav’s slightly melodic delivery over it sounds perfect too. It’s a really fantastic track. I think it’s dope af. Kumbaya has another one of those super laidback chill instrumentals that’d be perfect to get stoned to. Rav’s flow is nice over it too. I really like the sample on I Digress. It sounds really good to me. I don’t really have much to say about that track. I just think Rav rapped really well over it, and I like his hook a lot too. It’s a dope song. The next track is easily my favorite Rav song ever though. I should’ve known exactly what it was when I saw the title for it. This version of the song is called YOU FUCKERS WERE ASKING FOR THIS ONE. I actually had no idea that this track was released, and I’m mad at myself for not hearing it sooner. Rav’s 2015 album, Beneath the Toxic Jungle, began with an intro called 1,000 Years in the Sea. It was what sounded like a really awesome song, but it was covered up by a sample of some weeb shit. Basically YOU FUCKERS WERE ASKING FOR THIS ONE is that song without the audio of an anime clip drowning it out. The song is amazing too. There are so many things I love about this song. First of all, that beat from Ljones is amazing. That melody is undeniably catchy. The verse from Rav is basically about being swallowed whole by mental illness, and it’s super relatable.

The summer’s coming back, but it feels more like it’s winter
The line between my heart and my mind is growing thinner

I love the way he ended the verse by saying that he uses his art for catharsis. It’s not a super unique or original idea, but I haven’t heard anyone else say it the way he said it.

When life gives me lemons, I stick em’ on a canvas
An interesting practice that’ll rid me of madness

The hook where he sings along with the melody is just perfect too. I think the song is amazing, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. I guess the song has technically been out for years, but I didn’t actually hear this version of it until I listened to it on this compilation, so that makes it one of my favorite songs of the year. It’s dope af. The whole album finishes really strong. The next three tracks are all favorites of mine. I’m not completely sure what’s going on lyrically on Gravity-Assisted Suicide. I mean, he’s clearly contemplating suicide. I don’t know exactly what’s going on with him physically in the song though. The lyrics make it seem like he’s sick with a physical illness rather than just a mental illness. I guess the mental illness is leading to the physical symptoms. Yeah, that makes sense. Well, anyway, it’s another awesome song. I love the calm, chill production, and Rav’s delivery sounds great over it. It’s probably my second favorite track on the album to be honest. Reef was a really interesting track to me because it literally just sounds like a Sadistik song. Everything from the moody, melodic, and spacey production, to Rav’s rhyme schemes, flow, and content just screams Sadistik to me. If you’re familiar with Sadistik’s music, listen to Reef and tell me it doesn’t sound like something he would make. It’s not a bad thing. I just thought it was interesting. I love the song though. He did it well. I don’t know if Rav is a fan of Sadistik or what. I’m pretty sure it’s just a coincidence. It is very interesting to me though. The production style on So Long! sounds like something Joey Bada$$ would’ve rhymed over for 1999. It really doesn’t sound unfinished or like a throwaway track at all. In fact, that could be said about a lot of these songs. These days, tracks with three verses are super rare, so these songs don’t sound any less complete than what every other rapper is doing. The final track was a really good way to end the project. The beat kinda sounds like something I’d hear as the credits roll at the end of a Super Mario game. Kill Bill killed that second verse too. It’s a dope song. Overall, I’m really glad I checked this out. I honestly think this is my favorite album that I’ve ever heard from the EXOCIETY label. I technically haven’t really heard that much of their stuff. This is my favorite project that I’ve heard from them though. I can’t wait to hear what Rav does next because he said he’s gonna focus on actually finishing an album now that he’s done with all the b-sides releases. So yeah. Again, do not sleep on this shit. It’s a really great compilation. I’m glad I listened to it. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: YOU FUCKERS WERE ASKING FOR THIS ONE
Least Favorite Song: Goodnight

81

80-89
Grade: B+

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