Two years after his first solo EP, DUALITY, MONSTA X’s I.M returns with his sophomore release, OVERDRIVE. The youngest member of the sextet parted ways with his former company Starship Entertainment in August 2022 but assured fans he will be continuing  activities with MONSTA X. The rapper signed with Sony Music Korea in November that year, just three months after departing from Starship. Now, I.M returned with a six-song EP, released on June 23, taking fans on a 16-minute ride of longing and alluring vibes. 

“Speedin’ On My Lane, Go Overdrive”

The music video for “OVERDRIVE,” with visuals akin to Fast & Furious or The Dark Knight, depicts I.M in a futuristic world filled with chains, 18-wheelers, and blue flames. Every part of the video seemingly adds to the sensuality and smoothness he brings to the track. With lines like, “Heat my engine harder ’til I die. Speedin’ on my lane, go overdrive…” and “I cannot contain what’s in my brain. I drive me insane and do this again,” the 27-year-old leaves it to fans to interpret his skillfully placed thoughts. 

B-Side Dive

With his unique lyricism and bilingual status, I.M uses Korean and English fluidly in every track on the EP. Starting off smooth, “Blame” delivers a sense of longing as I.M wishes he was “smoking all the pain to feel you deeply again, hope I never get sober.” A renowned descriptive songwriter, I.M transports fans to his world where he yearns for someone—or something. Following “Blame” are “Dumb” and “Habit,” two captivating songs that refuse to be forgotten, despite their place in the middle of the EP. Playing with words in “Dumb,” , I.M dishes alluring lines like “don’t hit me at night for somebody. Hit me at night for my body.” Mixed with jazz with R&B, “Habit” showcases I.M’s vocal range with him singing “I cannot love myself ‘cause you’re my habit to me” a few times over in the outro. 

Described by I.M as “mattress music,” “More” takes the title for the most sensual track on the EP. His tone and boldness in lyrics like “open the door, I know you just wanna take me on the floor” make the song stand out from the album. With such hypnotizing qualities pulling you into a daze, “More” is over before you even realize it. To complete the EP, I.M says he’s “Not Sorry” on another jazz-driven track. He’s ready to move on in his love life, as he says, “let’s let the night so cold even if it’s gold ’cause I don’t want it anymore.” His acceptance of where his relationships stand shows his growth and maturity, musically and personally. 

Musical Growth 

All six songs on OVERDRIVE were written and composed by I.M, along with other collaborators. With a two year wait between solo releases, it gave him time to hone in on his skills as an individual. Although he was promoting as MONSTA X’s I.M and will continue to do so, his solo music is ceaselessly genuine and authentic. He’s dropped any pretense of a facade, wearing his heart on his sleeve throughout OVERDRIVE. Fans get to see I.M expressing himself in ways that feel even more personal than previous releases. Although only his second official EP, I.M takes listeners on a ride that is more intense and sultry than anything they’ve experienced before.

What’s Next For I.M

Following the release of OVERDRIVE, I.M performed the track for his fans, Monbebe,on the Dingo FreeStyle YouTube Channel. He also announced his first solo showcase tour taking place in Seoul on August 5 and August 6, 2023. 

Make sure to follow I.M on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for solo updates! Listen to OVERDRIVE on Apple Music and Spotify.

Check out EnVi’s coverage of all things I.M and MONSTA X here.