Cambodian superstar VannDa returns with his sophomore album “SKULL 2 (Season 1)”showcasing his immense growth as an artist since his debut, $KULLTHEALBUM (2020). Coming off his meteoric rise in 2021 following hits “Time to Rise” featuring Master Kong Nay, “Catch Me If You Can”, and “Solo Again”, the Southeast Asian ‘King of Flows’ collaborates with fellow top-notch Cambodian producers to venture into multiple new genres while still delivering the heavy hip hop sound and sharp lyrical wit that made him famous across the world.
Bringing the focus track to the spotlight is “Young Man”, a certified head banger where VannDa and Thailand’s OG Bobby (Hypetrain) shine their skillful flows rapping about the journey of rising to the top. Defined by bouncy drums filled with negative space for the two rappers to flow in and out of, “Young Man” is a playful rebuke to haters that could be played on massive stages for dancing fans or as that perfect bop for a long car ride.
It has been a long two years since VannDa’s debut album, $KULLTHEALBUM, was released on June 19th, 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The rapper/producer shocked the nation and a growing base of international listeners with his mature production, skillful flows, and deeply honest music. Simultaneously, the original album provided solace and comfort to the Cambodian nation as they were stuck at home unsure of what danger the outside world might bring in.
In these short two years, VannDa has risen to unforeseen heights for a Cambodian artist with over 3 million YouTube subscribers, an unprecedented number for a solo artist in a country of 16 million. In 2021, he achieved his first breakthrough international hit with “Time to Rise” featuring Master Kong Nay now reaching over 94 million views on YouTube. The track quickly has become VannDa’s calling card and was awarded both Song & Music Video of the Year (2021) by Lifted Asia Magazine. Most recently, VannDa was ranked as the 6th top hip hop artist of Asia by Lifted Asia Magazine behind established acts such as Jay Park, Rich Brian, and Epik High.
In April 2022, VannDa broke new ground by collaborating with top Thai rapper F.Hero on the track “Run The Town”, featuring Sprite & 1Mill. The song, with its massive sound and multiple layers of production infusing traditional Khmer and Thai elements, has been heralded as a seminal track in Southeast Asian hip hop history as well as an important step of collaboration between Cambodia & Thailand. A beacon of the power of hip hop to unite separate identities, the track “Run the Town” trended as high as the “54th Top Global Music Video” on Youtube.
In the [Behind the Scene] interview, F.Hero declared “RUN THE TOWN means to present and make a statement,” and that “TOWN is not just Bangkok or Phnom Penh. TOWN means Southeast Asia”. The goal of producing “Run The Town” was to enhance the relationship and build friendship between Cambodia and Thailand while showcasing the musical heritage of both countries and bringing Southeast Asian sounds into the world music scene.
“SKULL 2 (Season 1)” marks the beginning of a new phase for VannDa. Previously the unknown, talented kid who broke open Cambodia’s music market in 2020, VannDa now finds himself a champion of the nation setting out to conquer Southeast Asia, pan-Asia, and beyond. “SKULL 2 (Season 1)” is a continuation of VannDa’s bittersweet life journey, telling the story of his life struggles, the path and pressure of his career, his friendships and his heartbreaks. With Season 1 releasing on July 1st, VannDa’s sights are set on the international market and capturing opportunities never before had by a Cambodian artist in the modern streaming era.
Ever the trailblazer, VannDa seeks to build on this new found success in the upcoming Season 2where he will feature multiple international artists on his record symbolizing the change of the Cambodian music industry as well as cementing his fundamental positioning in Southeast Asian hip hop. If Season 1 represents the adventurous beginning of an unprecedented journey for the producer/rapper/singer, Season 2 will share to the world everything the Cambodian phenomenon has learned along the way.
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