praCh has just turned in his passport. No more visits to Cambodia to visit the poor, the destitute, and the corrupt. All doors slam shut to words too real for the Killing Field. If this is his last album, then he just slammed the book shut; threw his passport at the face of the Khmer dignitaries and dictators alike. Needless to say, Hun Sen will not be rolling out his Khmer Rouge carpet to welcome the brother back home to the motherland.
The album is political and unapologetic. It’s what happens when you cage up rage for way too long… a voice for all the voiceless that couldn’t get their damn Khmer Rouge trial. The lyrics in the album are their testimonies put to a soundtrack of suffering. Justice will not be denied in this album. Politicians implicated and injustice voiced. Stories will be told. The voice of suffering has been channeled through praCh, accompanied with beats and instruments from various artists for your listening pleasure.
Needless to say, story telling is his forte… from raps about refugee experiences to giving you a personal tour of the LBC, he is on point with no navigation needed. The brother bleeds from his soul with stories so real and description so vivid, that you will be livid and alive after the listening experience. “Keeping it Riel,” a song about money, power, and greed. The bass is tight but the “chapei dong veng” gives it texture and soul that you can feel. The story of money and struggle is not new, but to be able to blend the necessity of money and survival in a melodic way and have the song make sense is a thing of beauty. I won’t be surprise if it ends up as a ringtone for all the hustlers and pimps out there. Whether you’re pimping cans and newspapers or bitches and hoes, “Keeping it Riel” can easily be a soundtrack to your life. If that’s not your thang, no worries, he’ll bring you back to hope with educational rhyme so dope that you’ll have to listen to it a few time to get the cunning word play.
The brother does a lyrical Double Dutch with his Khmer and English rap, demonstrated on the track called, Simplistic. It delivers beats reminiscent of Usher’s new song, In the Club. The song will definitely get you off of your “ka-tale.” Heavily laced with onomatopoeia like the sounds of eating salt and spicy ass pepper, this track has brought back the gangsta-like, self-promoting, self assured style of hip hop… beautifully intertwined with Khmer wittiness that only praCh can deliver (no postage necessary if mailed in the United States). Debuting at $10USD, the album will be a bargain once it hits the market… definitely a great way to spend your tax relief dollars.
If that’s not enough for you to grab the album, there are even guest performances by Sinn Sisamouth’s and Ros Serey Sothea (remixed), Master Kong Nai and a variety of up and coming Khmer artists from C.L.A. (Cambodian Living Arts) that will get you wondering about the sound and the instruments that they used. “Memoirs of the Invisible War” is an album that educates, demonstrates, and retaliates against all the naysayer that said Khmer Hip Hop can’t be done. With this album, praCh gives ’em the middle finger with one-hand and a peace symbol with the other, a gesture truly representative of the hypocritical Hip Hop/Rap culture. Hopefully, Hip Hop culture will be the vehicle and the voice for freedom of expression in countries that have oppressed their citizens… and give them a chance to be heard… that their stories be told.