Does the name Rico ring a bell? If it doesn’t, well, you’re not the only one but, I assure you, you will want to know that name soon—especially if you’re into a good groove and smooth beats.
Rico is an R&B performer who just released his second full-length album, titled White Light Panorama. It follows the release of two EPs earlier this year—titled White Light and Panorama—both of which were meant to tease this brand new album. Rico’s first LP, The Slow Tape, actually received a nomination for “Best R&B/Soul Album” at the 13th Korean Music Awards (the award eventually went to Samuel Seo’s Frameworks).
White Light Panorama, out since December 7, stands out not only with its wide collection of songs, but also for its high quality and relaxing vibe. In total, the album comprises all the songs from the two EPs along with an added intro, interlude, and a few remixes. This amounts to 14 tracks in total—which is a lot! You don’t see that often anymore, especially not in R&B and hip hop where there seems to be an urge to put out music as often as possible, resulting in rather short tracklists.
On that long list, the second title is the first to catch one’s attention. Built on a trendy R&B melody and a steady beat, “Last Dance” has a rather simple composition, letting Rico’s voice carry most of the song, and that’s great; Rico is incredibly talented and has one of those voices that naturally sounds…perfect. The track is catchy, and it will get you to nod along to its rhythm and to admire the delicate tone of Rico’s vocals.
“Sign” is a more upbeat track, with beats that vary much more than the steadiness the rhythm of “Last Dance” provided. Rico’s delivery stands between rapping and singing, and he does it wonderfully—not unlike DEAN’s or Crush’s characteristic performance styles. “Come My Way” has a nice yet very subtle retro touch and surely deserves a listen the most out of all the tracks on the album.
White Light Panorama also has its fair share of features, from singer SOMA to rap legend Verbal Jint. SOMA shares the spotlight with Rico in the laid-back “Like This,” where her vocals don’t show up until near the end, but the wait is worth it (a version without SOMA is also available on the album, but really, you don’t want to listen to it; SOMA’s addition to the track really renders it much more interesting).
Verbal Jint, along with female rapper SLEEQ, appear in the song “Pistol Bae.” I quite favor Verbal Jint’s verse in this song as opposed to SLEEQ’s, but that isn’t to say she doesn’t do a good job. SLEEQ’s music is definitely worth a listen, but she doesn’t stand out as much in this song. Rico carries most of the melodic parts, balancing out the rappers’ verses and sometimes adding his own.
Finally, one last highlight on White Light Panorama is the smooth trap track “Vanish.” The beat is very simple, stripped down to essential bass and electronic drums. “Vanish” will please R&B fans who tend to prefer Sik-K’s work, though Rico sounds nothing like him and gives the song his very distinct vibe.
Overall, White Light Panorama has a song for everyone. So don’t waste your time; delve into the universe of songs on this finely tuned album.