THE LIFTED 50 NUMBER 6: VANNDA
VannDa is really putting Cambodian Hip Hop on the map
2021 was a nightmare for many, but a dream for others. There isn’t a single Asian MC who had a breakout year like Cambodia’s VannDa did. He literally went from being unknown outside of his country – and not even that big there – to being a name on everyone’s lips around the region. He’s easily the biggest success story of 2021, all things considered, and he regularly gets namechecked by everyone from Hip Hop fans to industry folk as a benchmark of Asian Hip Hop success.
It all started with the release of last Spring’s ‘Time To Rise,’ which featured the combustible mix of VannDa’s serious as cancer bars and the plaintive Folk signing of septuagenarian Master Kong Nay, a blind artist who also plays the indigenous chapei lute instrument. This video touched not only those in Cambodia, but people all around the world. It was named the top video and track of the year at LiFTED and it wasn’t even close.
With the backdrop of the pandemic, and the unfortunate Asian discrimination that followed, the combination of VannDa’s message for Cambodians to rise up and claim their heritage, plus Kong Nay’s embodiment of that same tradition made for a singular, spine-tingling track that resonated with everyone who heard it.
LiFTED was proud to be one of the first to champion VannDa, and he’s only gone from strength to strength since then. As ‘Time To Rise’ nears 100 million YouTube views, his other songs like ‘Catch Me If You Can’ and ‘Khmer Blood’ routinely get tens of millions and have rendered him a bonafide star on the platform. With sponsorship deals, international collabs, and a Cambodian and Asian tour happening, VannDa has given hope to every single Asian rapper, from countries big or small, that they can have a time to rise.
VannDa recently did the one and only ever performance of $kull the Album, dropped an amazing collab with F.Hero, Sprite and 1MILL on 'Run The Town,' and his latest, 'How's it Taste?' is heating up the charts around Asia while building the anticipation for his new album, $KULL 2. Trying to recreate the immense success of 2021 will be difficult, but VannDa and his team are up for the challenge.