Planet Vin LP: Cal_Vin parties hard, reflects on new album
THE last year and a half has been like pages plucked from the sweetest chapter of a fairytale for rapper Cal_Vin, who in that time has gone from being unknown to rising to be one of the most sought after hip hop artistes on the Zimbabwean music scene.
Long gone is the Luveve boy who struggled with fellow rappers to put together money to bring his fire and brimstone lyrics to life on the screen as he could not raise funds needed to shoot a video for any one of his songs.
In his place has stepped in a bona fide rap star who is not afraid to boast of the achievements that he has amassed in record time. This new found confidence is expressed explicitly in Cal_Vin’s latest offering, the Planet Vin LP, which was released recently.
Never one to bite his tongue, Cal_Vin hits the ground running on the album’s opening track titled Way Up, describing how his life has transformed over the last year as he is now able to sample the perks that come with being a rap star, such as VIP treatment at clubs. The theme of celebration continues in the album’s next few songs, with Cal_Vin seemingly at ease rapping in both Ndebele and English, a trait that has been harder to master for other rappers from the City of Kings who are mostly good at one or the other. A distinct feature of the first half of the 16-track album is the party mood that most of the songs try to create. Most of the songs are upbeat, marked by production that is up-tempo, placing emphasis on danceable beats and easy to digest lyrics. On Ubushabethu, Cal_Vin celebrates the champagne lifestyle as the wordsmith deftly describes how he and his entourage celebrate their achievements at posh clubs. The highlight however, comes from the rapper’s collaboration with one of the city’s rising stars Asaph on the song Izandla Emoyeni. The two trade deadly verses with reckless abandon and display their prowess as wordsmiths. Asaph is particularly outstanding, as he solidifies his growing reputation. The song will likely be a hit if it is pushed and marketed in the right way.
However, the next song, Byo Got Hot Chicks, is probably the lowest point of the album as it features some of the laziest rapping from Cal_Vin and sounds like most other songs in the city released by rappers fawning over some of the city’s beautiful women who include the likes of former Miss Zimbabwe Samantha Tshuma and songbirds Alaina and Mimie Tarukwana.
The second half of the album sees the rapper put his thinking cap on and explore themes such as hope and love while he also doesn’t forget the plight of the poor from Luveve with some relevant and biting social commentary on songs such as Lil Rain.
The mood is more sombre as the rapper reflects on the trappings of new found fame on Wrong Thangs while looking back on love gone wrong on track — Is You Happy which also features impressive vocals by Lilian and Jonah. The transition from the latter song to the next, Just Watch, is also seamless and sees the rapper at his lyrical best.
Although most of the songs are of a high quality, the rapper could have trimmed the excess fat by leaving off a couple of songs as they do little to shed further light on the multi faceted world that is Planet Vin.
Planet Vin CD cover