A couple of years ago, diaCRITICS interviewed and reviewed Saigonese rapper Nah. The following letter by guest writer Lac Su, author of I Love Yous are for White People, provides an update on Nah who has recently garnered attention for his provocative new song “Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản” (“Fuck Communism”), the lyrics and video for which you can find at the end of this post. To hear more from Nah in his powerful open letter to the Communist government and the Vietnamese people, read Part 2 of this series. Part 3 features Lac Su’s interview with Nah.
I have a lot of things to share on this post. When Son Vu Nguyen, also known as Vietnamese Rapper Nah, emailed me a couple of weeks ago to ask me to translate a letter from Vietnamese to English, my first thought was, “it must be for a new record he’s dropping.” Nah provided me a link to a letter with minimal instructions. I gave the link a click. I was immediately intrigued by an image on the site that shows five former Communist leaders partying it up and drinking from Solo red cups. I scrolled down the page and tried to understand but couldn’t. It was written in Vietnamese, and it was a LONG letter. My next thought was, “Nah is a rapper. What can he write about that he can’t express with a few bars in a rhyme?” So the Viet-Kieu-Who-Has-Lost-His-Native-Tongue in me decided to Google “translate” the letter. And as we’re all aware, Google Translate does a poor job at translating. What Google vomited were barely legible clumps of English words and sentences. But I read on anyway, ironically, in broken English. The more I read the more I realized that Nah was entering a different sphere in his rap career. It’s becoming clearer to him that the musical art form that he has perfected was becoming more than music. The same art form that has made him arguably the most prolific Viet rapper on earth—with music videos that have been played well over 10 million times on Youtube—mostly by Vietnamese youth worldwide.
Nah’s thoughts are raw in the letter. Unsatisfied with Google’s translation, I’ve since hired a translator to do the job more adequately. Even so, the translation is not as powerful or as eloquent as the original version Nah initially published in Vietnamese. Knowing Nah, it’s primarily about content that matters the most. Nothing complicated, academic, or poetic—just straight talk. However, the language and the tone that Nah chose to use in the song and letter aim directly at the Vietnamese youngins.
The record Nah released with the letter is titled “DMCS”, an acronym for “Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản” or “Fuck Communism.” He’s currently busy conducting media interviews to explain what his fans are deeming “an unexpected plan.” Fortunately, I was able to have a Q and A session with Nah.
I’ve structured this post for diaCRITICS from the pieces I’ve gathered and from what Nah have shared. We’ll proceed with the song, the song’s lyrics, the letter, the Q and A, then to his recent interview with the Saigon Broadcasting Television Network (SBTN). I’ve also invited Nah to engage in the comment section of this piece, so please feel free to leave us your thoughts. He writes in both Vietnamese and English.
Lac Su is the author of the memoir, I Love Yous Are for White People (Harper Perennial, 2009). He has written for, or been covered by, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, AOL News, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Tribune, and NPR.
Địt Mẹ Cộng Sản” (Fuck Communism) Lyrics by Nah
Who would go to hell if not me? Fuck communism.
It’s wrong to dare to change the country? Fuck communism.
You dare to sell our fathers’ land? Fuck communism.
Manslaying, blinding, gagging? Fuck communism.
Slaughtering our people in Hue? Fuck communism.
I will never fucking accept being a slave. Fuck communism.
You will be overthrown soon. Fuck communism.
Everyone will know the truth. Fuck communism.
Where will Nguyen Tan Dung hide, with all the wealth?
You’re all professional thieves with methodical plans!
People are in misery. By whom is the country being sold?
All embezzlers will die without being buried
Yea, the traffic police will be the one being executed first
I promise I will pee on your corpses without holding back
Does it serve you right by arresting people, beating them ruthlessly without even a reason?
Returning the money you appropriated from us will make you go bankrupt
Starting tomorrow, I won’t give you even single a penny
I’m doing nothing wrong, so don’t fucking call me in
I will neither offer any bribe, nor beg you
I’m no coward like those sheep in your cage
Want to confiscate my vehicle? I won’t fucking pass it to you. Now what?
Gonna arrest me and lead me a merry dance?
Gonna torture me the same way you torture other thousands of people?
You will kill all and every Vietnamese? Let me laugh at you
No Vietnamese website will fucking dare to publish this song
The socialist regime’s docile sheep don’t dare to even listen to it
They only want to gossip about Kenny Sang
While the Communist Party is selling our fathers’ land
The whole generation has been brainwashed. What a misfortune!
They’re like zombies that will only waste our bullets
Hate the Communist Party but won’t fucking dare to speak up—you’re as good as mute
Hate public bribery but still give them your money—you’re insane or mad?
These are rude words but I dare to speak up
Inside foes, outside aggressors, China is still hungry
It’s impossible to kick them out before changing the government
We must execute the internal embezzlers and traitors first
There’re so many fairy tales in the history books our children study
You force them to learn them by heart. How does that fucking empower?
It’s so ridiculous that all your life, you’re as good as blind
Living under restraint, just like prisoners
Becoming a legend is nothing easy
The way you live, you die; all will be passed on from one to another
So why bother to live a boring, aimless life?
Drinking, gambling, and selling your body?
If you have a vision, will you die for it?
Are you ready to sacrifice everything on the way of finding freedom?
In Vietnam, people die every day
No one can list all their sufferings
After this song is released, some “certain” ones will find a way to hurt me
Hiring gangsters, faking accidents, doing everything to defeat me
To eliminate people with no wrong-doing
To spread fear and suffering
However, they forgot to measure how hard my balls are
Do they even forget that the sun still rises high in the sky?
You want to harm me but have failed every single time
You don’t know that even a lightning bolt will carefully miss me on purpose.
Be sure to read Nah’s open letter to the Vietnamese Communist Party and the Vietnamese people in Parts 2 and 3 of this post.
This post was organized by diaCritic, Jade Hidle.
Jade Hidle is a Vietnamese-Irish-Norwegian writer and educator. She holds an MFA in creative writing from CSU Long Beach and is working on a PhD in literature at UC San Diego. Her work has appeared in Spot Lit, Word River, and Beside the City of Angels.
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