That was “It’s Alright”, a rap song by Nuce that has been receiving tens of thousands of views on social media. It’s actually one of his first happy songs since he started writing rap at the age of 15 as a coping mechanism for his mental struggles.
Nuce suffered from quite a few mental problems growing up, such as anxiety, depression, and Tourette’s syndrome - a disorder that involves tics - repetitive movements or unwanted sounds that are not easily controlled. He considers rap an emotional outlet. It was only a couple of years ago that he decided to write songs and share them with the public. “It’s Alright” was inspired by his life in Vietnam.
“‘It’s Alright’ is a very good representation of my mentality on being in Vietnam as a rapper," Nuce said, "It was kind of me reflecting on how I’m here now, and everything is alright, as the title of the song says. So that’s me being happy about where I am in life and where I am geographically in Vietnam.”
|Nuce travels to Sa Pa in the northern province of Lao Cai. (Photo: Nuce)
Nuce travelled to Vietnam three years ago following a friend’s suggestion. From Ho Chi Minh City, he rode a motorbike to Hanoi and the northern provinces of Vietnam, and fell in love with the land and people. So he went back to Canada, saved up money, sold everything he owned there, and moved right back to Vietnam.
“I love being in Vietnam," he shared, "I never get tired of seeing the beautiful countryside, and biking through the mountains is probably one of my favorite things to do. And there’s a beautiful chaos in the cities. It was scary for me to ride a bike when I first got here, but I’ve adapted to it by now. And I really like to find the beauty in the chaos.”
|Nuce loves taking motorbike trips across Vietnam. (Photo: Nuce)
That beauty in the chaos inspired him to film a music video for “It’s Alright”. In it, he’s dressed as a Grab motorbike taxi driver, picks up some customers, drives through some busy and some quiet Hanoi streets and raps along the way. Being a Grab driver is not a typical occupation for foreigners in Vietnam, so the bizarreness of that turned a few heads.
“It was really fun to drive around and get stared at, like ‘Why is this foreigner a Grab driver?’," Nuce recalled, "It provided the happy atmosphere for the music video, and it reflected on me being comfortable in Vietnam.”
|Nuce raps in front of Vietnamese Grab drivers. (Photo: Nuce)
The music video brought him a good deal of attention from the public. Aside from all the views, likes, and comments, it also led to appearances on Vietnam News and news outlets in Canada, like SteinbachOnline and CBC Radio.
He even made a rap piece incorporating some of the comments under his Youtube video. Some of it read: “Bringing the heat and it’s always so attractive. Thank you, man! I’ll be spittin until I’m trapped in the ground. Wow, this sounds so clean man! Well, that’s the reason you can see me on the screen man! Nice production and catchy song. I see you’re putting a lot of work in it… all day long. Keep it up! I promise that I will. My main goal is to hone my skill. Nice bro, from Vietnam with love. Well thank you for having me, can’t thank you enough.”
In addition to the beautiful countryside, magnificent motorbike routes, and the irresistible chaos in the cities, there is more about Vietnam that keeps Nuce staying.
“All these things about the culture and the history of Vietnam, and learning a language along the way, it always keeps my life full of fresh and new experiences," Nuce shared, "And the locals here are amazing, they make it a great place to live. And one really awesome thing too is meeting all the other foreigners from different parts of the world. It’s really cool to have friends from many different places and learn a lot about different cultures that way. Hanoi specifically is like a melting pot of a lot of cultures and people. I think that’s really cool.”
|Nuce's first performance in Hanoi in April, 2021. (Photo: Nuce)
By day, Nuce is an English teacher, and by night, he’s making a name for himself in the Vietnamese hip hop scene. He’s also taking baby steps in learning Vietnamese, hoping that in the future he can rap in Vietnamese to reach more music lovers. Nuce still has a long way to go with this rapping career, but with music as his soulmate, one thing he knows for sure is that he’ll never stop rapping.