Rapper Vietnam was born Hector Rivera Jr, from Brooklyn, New York. Later he would move to Baltimore in a town called Highlandtown. As a young child he was influenced by many artists from the 80′s. During the 90′s he began practicing his vocal skills with friends and in 1998 formed a group called World Destruction, but nothing came of it.
In 2001 Vietnam was introduced to Sinister Dice by longtime childhood friend George Blische jr. Vietnam and Sinister Dice formed a group called Gods Forgotten Soldiers who then changed their name to Iron Heartz. As a group, Iron Heartz released a collection of singles. Among them; 60 dayz, Cold Streets, What U Know About Life, Back It Up and The Streets Are.
Though Iron Heartz still remains together as a group, Vietnam has completed his long anticipated solo album formerly named Blood, Sweat N Tears, but since Ace Hood has dropped an album under the same name, the album is now titled :One Life To Live. The album which is available now, also contains the hit single, “Rock For My City”.
The album is straight fire with cuts like “Stand Tall”, “Keys To Victory” and “Rock For My City”. It definitely shows that Vietnam has spent a lot of time crafting his flow and lyrics because his flow is spot on. One Life To Live includes some cool contributions from guests, namely Eric B & Avion, Wordsmith & Street Child, Pills, Killa Priest and Dice of Iron Heartz.
The first impression is that Vietnam stepped into the studio with his skills and spat description-packed lyrics that tell stories in a straight no bullshit way. Vietnam’s voice graces the tracks and compliments the beats so perfectly that you’d almost think the pulse of the music ran through his veins. He feels the rhythm and gives a new melody to the songs with his fluid style.
In a time when slow, easily understandable rhymes over mainstream bass beats are popular, Vietnam stays true and kicks wisdom into his tunes, displaying a mastery of the language with abundant metaphors and intensely descriptive flows that draw you into the music.
His true heart-felt emotion is apparent on all of the tracks on One Life To Live and in a time when knowledge-based, lyrically-focused, rhyme-oriented hip-hop is on the slide, this is an album you should have in your collection as a constant reminder of times past and possibilities still to come, because Vietnam has dropped a classic indie gem here.
My personal standout tracks definitely include; “Rock For My City,” “Stand Tall,” “Skit(Eric B & Avion),” “Keys To Victory feat.Pills,” “On My Grind” and “Back It Up feat. Dice.”
In conclusion, the beats on One Life To Live are strong, and Vietnam’s lyrics are rough and tough. He really brings rap back to the hardcore street style, while the lyrics prove to be observatory reactions to his everyday life. Vietnam’s outlook is more interesting than what a lot of emcees bring to the table nowadays and his fluid flow is nothing less than addictive ear candy, for any listener.