Vietnamese rap artist Binz (pronounced Bin-Z) is not only gaining attention in Vietnam, but around the world. “Bigcityboi” is the latest song from Vietnam’s Poet of Rap, and within 12 hours after the track’s music video dropped on July 5, it made it to YouTube’s Top Trending in multiple countries.
The rapper has truly become a staple in the hip-hop scene in Vietnam. He got his humble start in the hip-hop underground community in 2008, and spent the next 10 years working his way up the ranks, eventually sealing his brand of rap with the community. In his early days, he joined a group of like-minded musicians and artists, collectively known as SpaceSpeakers, and is still a member to this day.
Binz’s distinctive sound stands out. He has a husky rap style that seamlessly transforms into his signature vocal flow, which some consider romantic. Binz’s music has also been influenced by the American hip-hop scene — after having lived in the US, one often hears such elements in his songs. Meanwhile, Binz is known in the Rap Viet community as a “Poet,” and he’s a judge and mentor on a popular Vietnamese reality TV series of the same name. The show, which is currently airing, is about a search for the next rap superstar in Vietnam.
There are many shades to Binz’s music, which is at times gentle and romantic, but can also involve cool, slick rap. He has done a great job in merging those aspects, forming a style of his own for hits such as “Giữ” (“Keep”), “Bên Anh Đêm Nay” (“With Me Tonight”) or “Hoa Hồng Dại” (“Wild Rose”).
Binz then reached a new turning point in his career when he switched to a harder sound with the track “They Said.” Despite mixed reviews, Binz continued in this direction and took a “street” image to his songs, which were not well received by all of his fans. Although he continues to stick to his popular signature sound with songs like “SoFar,” “OK” and “Sao Cũng Được” (“Anyway”), he has also committed to delivering his new style with hits such as “Nguyên Team Đi Vào Hết” (“The Whole Team Comes In”), “Krazy” and “Gene.”
Which brings us to his latest release: “Bigcityboi,” which was released in July 2020. The track sees Binz sticking with his new direction and maintaining his “street” sound. With its “bad boy” lyrics, “Bigcityboi” has gone on to become Binz’s most successful hit. After its release, “Bigcityboi” enjoyed success on Spotify’s “Top Hits Vietnam” playlist, and the YouTube video has over 55 million views as of press time.
Indeed, Binz has come far since his start. Like many artists, his early days were not easy, and even disappointing. He was told he was not suitable for today’s trend of music. Fortunately, Binz was determined to brush off those disparaging comments, and began to evolve after ignoring all the negativity surrounding him. Binz shares, “Only when I truly have passion and a love for something, I don’t feel the pressure anymore. If there were no harsh criticisms, I would not be sitting here right now.”
Binz persevered and maintained his passion for certain styles. The journey to success is never a straight road, and with “Bigcityboi,” Binz proves that he was right.
Going forward, Binz wants to be able to explore and experiment freely with fresh new ideas, and to be at the top of his game. “This is the music I want to do,” he says.