Here is VNCHY’s guide to survival
He perfected the Art of Survival - now you can too
The strong will survive and the weak will die. That’s survival in a nutshell. That’s also the premise behind VNCHY‘s third album – Art of Survival.
Art of Survival is an experimental collection of gritty raps, melodies and stories. It’s VNCHY’s most disciplined project yet. And it’s (almost) completely devoid of the raw emotion seen on EMINENT: 002A_0316 and Neverland: 001A_0315. But that’s totally intentional. Survival is about logic and emotions are to be used sparingly.
The album is six tracks long and each track teaches a different survival tactic. VNCHY begins with a lesson in empathy and solitude on “Art of Survival” and proceeds through lessons in balance, passion, love, strength, discipline and purpose. Each song is a skill you need in order to survive.
My story of survival
“Art of Survival is the awareness of our current war. Though we all have our personal battles everyone fails to see how all our problems connect to one giant mess. My life story is one that no one would want to hear in detail. It is filled with such tragedy and the type of misery that people see on television and flip the channel with the thought of their appreciation for what they have, to only take it for granted within the next hour.
I’m sick and tired of letting the story of my life fall on deaf ears. I realized it is a much better route to connect my story with everyone else’s story. It goes back to the idea of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. I have found my common ground with everyone and that is the most important thing.”
4 things you should know about VNCHY
He’s just trying to survive
He’s particular about the producers he works with
He went from “Broke Dreams” to “Shooting Star”
This is why he left Toronto for LA
This project is a reflection into the events, ideas and experiences that have echoed through my life from birth to now. It was recorded in Canada but a great amount of awareness came to fruition during my time in Los Angeles. With the current state of the world there is a great amount of turmoil socially, politically and physically. And with further technological advancements, confusion and fear strengthens its grip within the populace. This tape encapsulates the truth of today. The frail minded and ignorant are sure to fall. Survival is a discipline. And with every discipline mental fortification is required.
Each producer on this tape played a part in feeding the spirit of being at war. From the emotional drive behind “Souljah” with Jandre to the militant calling of PJ in “Art of Survival”. Naif, As If, Iggy and Shin were the masterminds behind the entrancing melody of “Shooting Star”. Jordon Manswell challenged my abilities with the mesmerizing bounce within “Girl 2 The World”. And Don Derrion and Sleep did a great job of fuelling the fire within the “Dragon”. I am thankful for all their contributions.
I have always been and will forever be a shooting star with broke dreams. No matter how much money I make or whatever befalls of my life. The journey was a mental and spiritual one – and one of awareness. I grew out of an environment that demanded extraordinary sacrifices to be made just to be able to see tomorrow, or even visualize a future for yourself. My definition of success has never changed. Happiness and health forever. My biggest obstacle continues to be a personal struggle to push my limits. All problems on the outside are a direct reflection of what to fix on the inside.
Toronto is a second home for me and extremely close to my heart. However, having been robbed of my native home, I will not settle anywhere until peace finds my country. The Democratic Republic of Congo will forever be my first home. Since I left my country I made the world in its entirety my “home”. I will travel all corners of the world, learn and grow and do my best to bring peace back to native land. There is nothing wrong with Toronto. I am just not one to remain in one place for too long.
A track by track breakdown of Art of Survival
Art of Survival
Girl 2 The World
“Art of Survival” is the awareness of our current war. We all have our personal battles but everyone fails to see how all our problems connect to one giant mess. We will never free ourselves until we see this mess in its entirety. My entire life has revolved around war – such as the one that struck my hometown of Congo and still persists to this day. I was born in this travesty and grew to understand it, not fear it. It is from my life experiences that I have perfected my art of survival.
“Money Hungry” is the identity of this travesty. It is the spirit that drives the good and the evil; the almighty God of wrath and forgiveness. It must be recognized, and accepted. And only then can we bring it to a balance. Life and death are connected like two sides to a coin that is forever flipping. You cannot know what side the coin will land on because the coin never lands. From understanding the fabric of reality you can then experience the truth. This is significant to me because I have embraced life and death, wrath and forgiveness and good and evil. And I continue my journey to balance every single day.
“Shooting Star” is the spirit of the souljah. It is the love of the almighty and the importance of service. Everyone on this planet has a choice to make – to serve their self or to serve others. Some might argue service to others is also service to self but one has a clearer path to balance than the latter. The current economic agenda encourages service to self and many have already fallen prey to the idea. No one is here to hold your hand and preach to you. Many have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear, a mind but cannot think. The frail minded will never survive today’s world. This is significant to me because I have spent all my life in the trenches fortifying my foundation. I will never explain my position to anybody in efforts to “prove” myself or justify the truth. You will know me and judge me by my fruits. The rest is vanity.
“Dragon” is the pride of the souljah and the code of conduct. A dragon’s wisdom is as awe-inspiring as its strength. You must fight with your mind before applying it into your physique. This is significant because I live my life like a fucking dragon. I see the world through a bird’s eye view, I have thick scaly skin, I eat metal and breathe fire. Do not let your eyes fool you… I am nothing human.
“Girl 2 The World” is the emotions of the souljah. Our emotions are gravely underestimated and greatly misunderstood. They have nothing to do with the physical realm. Emotions operate in higher dimensions. And we will never understand them so long as we think in such a dense three-dimensional fashion. The missing link between emotions and strength is discipline. Once you discipline the mind and operate through your heart, the truth will never bypass your perspective. This is significant because I have just recently understood the power of my emotions and continue to strengthen that ability with every passing day.
“Souljah” is the essence and the intrinsic value of the art of survival. The treasure and riches are not in natural resources or monetary value or even a thriving economy. The riches and truth of life resides within the hearts of every single individual. This is why service to others is especially important. This is why the golden rule of “doing unto others as you want done to yourself” has been uniform across all sacred beliefs and religions. Everyone has to get over themselves and stop with the foolish idolizations of others. Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.
This project was very emotionless and lacked a lot of raw feeling seen on EMINENT: 002A_0316 and Neverland: 001A_0315. What do you attribute that to?
I have never been an emotional individual – more of a man of truth. This project is about war and the mentality that surrounds surviving such an event. You do not feel until you have dealt with the current battle at hand. And in doing so you will notice “Souljah” is a waterfall of outpouring emotions; one that is on a very deep level. Emotions are very sacred to me and when they are shared it is done in truth and not in vain. In “Shooting Star” I was emotional towards my desire to give and serve my mother. In “Souljah” I was emotional towards my desire to serve my family, my team and all those that are fighting this war with me. And in “Girl 2 The World” I was emotional towards losing my girl due to my ambition. That was as much emotion as I could afford while perfecting my Art of Survival.
Which song on here is most significant to you and why?
“Shooting Star” is most significant to me because my mother taught me all I know about the Art of Survival.
The story behind the cover
“The cover is a product of the genius mind that is Jabril. It is the emblem of the Art of Survival – a knife in the mouth of a skull representing the balance of life and death, wrath and forgiveness and good and evil.
It’s a representation of extreme discipline in the face of absolute darkness. It is truly everything that I am and that I represent.”