VannDa: Cambodian rap star delivers hard emotional truths on new project ‘Skull 2 (Season 1)’

One of Cambodia’s most prominent young artists, VannDa builds on the astronomical success of his statement-making single ‘Time To Rise’ with a project that he calls a “mental health university”.

As is customary for a music superstar to do in 2022, VannDa wiped his Instagram page clean when it came time to drum up anticipation for his new album ‘Skull 2 (Season 1)’. The 25-year-old rapper erased (or archived) all the content that had been pored over by his 572,000 adoring followers, but then proceeded to make one single post on his feed: a candid collection of photos and video of himself taking deep, well-deserved naps.

After all, it’s hard work being the pride and joy of Cambodian popular music. “There’s definitely pressure and I’ve been working harder. This is the biggest project that I’ve ever done before,” VannDa later tells NME. “It’s my first time operating at this level… I’m excited even though there’s pressure, and I’m excited to show the fans what’s up.”

Last Friday, he did just that with ‘Skull 2 (Season 1)’, the first half of the sequel to his 2020 debut ‘$kull the Album’. If life is a movie, as the saying goes, VannDa’s current imperial phase is more like a TV show, and this project its first batch of 15 episodes. And in characteristic ‘second album’ fashion, these productions are polished yet unpredictable, these songs riveting – and sometimes heart-rending – in their honesty.

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