Phong Le – Ghe Khung

So he’s back. The clown that brought to you the hilarious cai luong-rap “Lay Tien Cho Gai.” With his new release Ghe Khung, Phong Le has yet to step out of his comical role as a Viet MC (his collaboration with Bao Liem on “Giang Ho” is the proof), but he has definitely stepped up his game in term of flow and beat choices.

The title track is one of his story-telling sillinesses that allows him to break into the Vietnamese audience. Like most rappers, Phong Le’s subject matters wrap around girl, sex and fame. In “Den Voi Anh” (featuring Huy Vu on Auto-Tune), Phong rhymes in a horny-little-boy voice: “Ba ma anh khong co o nha thi minh tha ho ma huong / Neu em khong muon thi minh nam coi phim chuong / Roi sao do anh se lam cho em suong.”

The smartest moment in the album is actually when he’s not rapping. How ironic? “Ho Phu Sinh Ho Tu” is a skit between Phong and his dad. While the old man tried to teach his son not to smoke, he lighted up a cigarette. His reason for smoking was the depression from the war. Phong responded, “The war had ended 30 years ago.”

The hardest track on the album is “Tro Lai.” The dual language works rather well with Chosen holding down the English part. In his raspy voice, Chosen raps, “I am on a higher level while you sing your falsetto.” It almost sounds like a diss to his own partner on the same track, but that’s just me. Then again, I find Ghe Khung to be quite entertaining for a spin or two.