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Introducing: Chyna Vonne

Hip Hop with Rhyme & Reason

Hip hop is now in its fourth decade and going strong. Things have changed since The Sugar Hill Gang introduced a new genre to the world in 1979. Today hip hop is as diverse as the all the undiscovered species in the Amazon. Chyna Vonne is one artist that has developed her craft over the last few years and whose music has become quite seasoned. Her latest singles “Run Forrest” and “52 Barz” are just the tip of the iceberg of her interesting catalogue.

Vonne spends a lot of time on the road playing music festivals and other events when she’s not in the studio. She plays to audiences throughout the South and has been closing in on the North East having played Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Some of her rhymes are edgy. “52 Barz” is a voice advocating for women in the music industry.

Here is an excerpt from “52 Barz,” please forgive me if I paraphrase a little bit:

“I see it clear with my stigmatism,

Females hating on each others.

Man’s world, James Brown

Pussy makes the world go round…”

Her words pack a punch.

“It’s about how behind every successful man there is a woman,” she said. “It’s also about how the industry is male dominated.”

I like her use of metaphor in the jam. She elaborated that James Brown represents how men dominate the industry.

We see the same kind of metaphor in “Run Forrest,” another current single by Vonne. She can say a lot in a few lines. Being concise and being frugal with words is a skill. Even though I’m no authority on hip hop, my collection basically is made up of one Dr. Dre album (20001) a favorite of mine, Biggie Smalls, and some miscellaneous things but I know good music and writing when I hear it.

The hook in “Run Forrest” goes something like this:

“I never thought the hate would be this real, I don’t even got a deal, you better run forrest, run”

“The guns are figurative. The song is about jealousy,” Vonne explained. She uses this metaphor of shooting elsewhere, more than once and on different cuts and in different ways. Also on more than one of her tracks, Vonne cites Pat Benatar’s title “Hit Me with Your Best Shot” and mentions Benatar. The Benatar quote sums up the stance that women need to take sometimes in a male dominated world.

Mainly “Run Forrest” is about jealousy as Vonne said. This a theme that touches a lot of us. Vonne went to explain that there were times when she found that people were jealous of her no matter how she tried  be nice to them. Some people would just come out and say discouraging things to her. The hate came from out of nowhere, she never meant any ill to anyone. I’ve been there, I’m sure you have too. When you are good at what you do, whether it be in hip hop or work place, there will be people who feel threatened and that will hate.

I spent a little time listening to tracks from Vonne’s previous release Unexpected that came out around 2013 to give me a point of reference from where she is coming from and the direction she is going. I enjoyed it and had a few favorites from it. Some of the tracks like “Kush” are very ambient, nice keyboards  and synths. It made me imagine I was hangliding in a velvet sky on a purple night.  “Cocky” is another favorite of mine. It’s a fun track with a sample of a scream. The cuts on Unexpected  are many, close to twenty recording  on it and Vonne explored a few different styles making the album.

Vonne’s music has been changing over the years, this is good, artists need to grow. The birth of Vonne’s newborn, a major life event has influenced her writing. “I don’t curse as much. When you have a kid you think more of what you say around the house before you say it. I curse less at home. Because of that I curse less in my music. As a mom the topics I write about have changed too. I take a lot more into consideration than I used to. Before I was really over concerned with my appearance, almost more than the music. Now I’m more about the music. I don’t rap about fast cars and money like I did before.”

When I ask Vonne what was next for 2018 she told me about her current project. “I am working on a mixed tape for my old fans. It has a lot of hip hop covers and new arrangements of old songs.”

Available soon is “Bodak Yellow C-Mix,” Vonne’s version of a jam by Cardi B.

So there is a lot to look forward to from Chyna Vonne in 2018. So keep your eyes and ears open for more music by her.

Brooklyn native, Frederick Gubitosi, is a musician, artist, songwriter, and music journalist. Alumnus of Pratt Institute and Brooklyn College, the former teacher writes as an insider to world of music and the humanities. In the '90s he had two solo painting exhibits in NYC and was involved in a performance art group which merged live music, improv theater and multimedia. In 1995 he participated in Philadelphia's first performance of John Zorn's "Cobra" as a musician. In 2005 he wrote, directed, and created the musical score for his comic play, "Love, the Happy Disease." He now participates in events for Brooklyn's Creators Collective making improvised music for modern dancers.

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