By Roog Kubur, November 4 2021—
Zimbabwe-born rapper and artist K The Chosen has released his newest album, +Vice, on Oct. 22, less than a year following his previous release Jouska. In a world where social awareness has become the norm, this record perfectly explores all the bundled-up emotions created by the pandemic. Whether in the literal sense of actually losing a loved one, or figuratively losing a part of you, the album’s exploration of its different themes creates a project universally understood and relatable to all audiences.
“In a selfish way, it was a way for me to deal with the feelings I’ve had during this pandemic,” K explains.
He describes the key takeaway of +Vice is checking in on the “strong friend” — a way to describe the people who always seem to be there for everyone else but never make time for themselves. The album is an exploration of mental health during the pandemic, interweaving spoken-word interludes and musical tracks to tell the story of a woman who had passed away from the perspective of the people around her.
The record gets to the root of poor mental wellbeing by exploring a wide range of themes — from gender equity and feminism to colonization and allyship. The centring of female voices and experiences on the record creatively craft a narrative that resonates with his female audience and grants a fresh perspective to those who may need it.
K describes this project as his magnum opus, the album that all listeners should hear regardless of their musical tastes. Alongside exploring a wide variety of themes, +Vice also traverses a range of hip-hop sounds while maintaining his signature sound.
The musicality is brought out through the production, with multiple tracks incorporating repetitious, three-dimensional vocals that travel from headphone to headphone, probing listeners with powerful questions and thought-provoking lyrics. With snarky wordplay and vivid delivery, each song comes alive with its own story while contributing to the greater narrative, keeping listeners engaged and thirsty for more.
“The project wouldn’t be what it is without the individual voices that lent their experience to the message,” K says when asked about the collaborations on +Vice.
While the album is infused with features, each one seems right at home on the track they occupy. Jeziah is a familiar voice in his music and features on the track “Petrichor.” Her silky smooth vocals sing “I like the smell of the rain / tears won’t wash the hurt away,” between K’s verses on the brutal reality of death.
“LONO” highlights Indigenous artists like TRIBETheArtist and Chantal Stormsong Chagnon to open discussions on colonialism, using the tongue-in-cheek metaphor of children taking over the playground. The song with the most features and only video is “Her Anthem.” It invites ZHE The Free, Bvitae and Dorsa Lena, a trio that exudes feminine strength and energy, boasting “She might be the stage / but baby I’m the stadium.”