Many rappers today feel they no longer need to deeply engage themselves with any subject and are, in the end, only in music for the money. Nevertheless, after a decade-long career, Wowy is not yet ready to let down his guard. He proves it with his latest songs, which pay homage to the southern rap style, commonly known as “Trap”, made famous by the producer Shawty Redd and artists like Young Jeezy, Outkast, Cool Breeze or Soulja Boy. In a country that loves its pop ballads and EDM, the preferred local variety being Vina House, there remains a strong contingent of fans that seek something alternative and unconventional and Wowy is the one who has their ear. As one of the pioneers of Vietnamese Rap, he has inspired others to produce and follow in his footsteps for the last decade. Despite Rap’s new, mainstream trajectory, Wowy’s ambitions remain the same, he assures us in his office where we meet, positioned in the middle of HCMC’s thriving District 3.
Interview with the Rap king Wowy, a Vietnamese rapper, proud of his heritage, who wants, above all else, to promote his culture.
Bliss Saigon: Wowy, how did you come to Rap?
Wowy: I long time ago when I was around 18 my sister told to me about a song called Vietnamese gangz from Thai Viet G and Khanh Nho. It was my first meeting with Rap. After that, Internet came with MTV showing Eminem, 2 Pac, Snoop, 50 and from that time to now I always learned and practiced Rap more. That’s how I came to rap.
BS: Do you write all your texts?
Wowy: We have a whole crew that works all day :)) Just kidding, I always write my texts. It’s hard to walk in other people shoes, you know what I mean?
Before, I was only a reader, after that, I became a rapper. Amazing!
BS: Did Rap took you to write or were you interested before?
Wowy: Before I had nothing, and suddenly Rap came in my life and it pushed me to do what I never did before. First, I was only a reader you know.. After that, I became a rapper. Amazing!!!
BS: Do you sometimes feel that your songs are misunderstood?
Wowy: We’re living in the world where everybody share different tastes. When I talk about something, I already know that what I’m thinking does not correspond to what you’re thinking, even if I try to explain, it’s gotta be different somehow. So that makes me, you, and us all unique. I really don’t know what my audience thinks about my music, misunderstood or understood and I find it more interesting that way.
BS: Why is it so important for you to talk about society through music?
Wowy: It’s like painting…. Paint about what you see or paint about what you feel or paint about what you want to see and feel in the society, is a good subject. Good or bad, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s a right subject. But right now I’m thinking about changing my text because I wanna see, what I can do without talking about society.
Wowy: As I said, I’m thinking about that right now, and that’s a good question. When I’ll decide I will let you know ASAP and we can have a moment, just sit down with a coffee, smoke a cigarette together and I will tell you more about something new :))
BS: Currently, you are the only Vietnamese rapper who manages to attract an older audience, an audience that has sometimes even turned its back on rap in general. How do you explain that?
Wowy: Omg noooooo – they are still young and I’m still young… we’re still young! Maybe I have some white hair and my brain goes away sometimes a little bit but we’re still young. I’ll tell you a secret: after you die, your journey continues, and you will be born again. Now you are just like a new egg. How could I explain that?
Khu Tao Song – Wowy + Karik (Official Video HD – SouthGanz 2010
I hope in the future that artists in Vietnam won’t give up…
BS: In 2015 you considered dropping the microphone, why?
Wowy: No, no, no! everybody at that time only focused about the question’s title when they should have listen what I really said. Look at it this way: I said, “I will drop and Vietnam independent artists will also drop in the future, “IF” the audiences don’t listen properly music, and continue to download for free, re-upload for free and if a lot of Vietnamese music companies also do that”. If they don’t respect the artist’s copyright, don’t support them and stop them to get any profit just because they want “ALL FREE” how can artists live better, improve their music, follow their passion and please the public? I joined and spoke up in the organizations that protect the artist’s benefits. So I hope in the future that artists in Vietnam (specially Hip-hop, Rap artist) won’t give up and continue to do what they love, continue to believe in music as a passion and stand up to protect their own creation. I want to speak up and inspire them. Now, do you understand what I wanted them to understand, right? Haha…That was my mistake, my talk was over attractive, it made them forget to think about what I really said. It’s so funny…
BS: What are the obstacles facing Vietnamese RAP today?
Wowy: I think we have a lot of potential here in Vietnam, ready to come out but it will come in time…
BS: You’ve become a public figure, is it a status that you like or a status that you want to be able to do without?
Wowy: I like it sometimes and sometimes I don’t. When I go somewhere, sometimes, I need to be seen as a VIP – I just need it. Some normal days, when I need to be quiet and alone, I don’t like it.
What are your best artist memories?
Wowy: I was driving my scooter around, 90km/h with a friend behind and we had a race for joking with another scooter. But I hited a wall and blood was everywhere. That scooter came back and took us to the hospital. When I woke up people asked me excited at the emergency room if I was Wowy. “We’re your fans, they said and we love you so much, You are our idol!”
Any projects for the future?
Wowy: Yes, a lot for the next 5 years. In the nearest future, in 2019, I want to organize “Vietnam HipHop day”, a series of events with my big brother Vietmax for ghd Hip Hop community in Vietnam. Hope Bliss can be there with me and my brothers to scream for Hip Hop! Moreover, I will create a lot for me and will be a soundtrack supervisor for a film joining famous international competitions. Sorry but I cannot share more at the moment. It’s still a secret but we hope it will get prizes. Do you want to know more? How about another meeting and cup of coffee?