Homegoings: Rivan Calderin On Hip-Hop As His 'Oxygen Mask'

Jun 9, 2021

A conversation with Rivan Calderin about BIPOC exhaustion, safety and music as a platform for consciousness.

Note: Our show is produced for the ear. We recommend listening if you can! But we also provide a transcript here.

This is the third installment of Homegoings, a special series from Brave Little State that features conversations with musicians of color who live in Vermont. Follow the series here as we release new episodes weekly through June 15.

Check out more Homegoings episodes:

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Who is Rivan Calderin?

Rivan Calderin, or Rivan C., is a multi-racial Afro-Cuban-Caucasian hip-hop artist born and raised in Vermont. He's a 20-year-old rising senior at the University of Vermont who writes lyrics that entertain while remaining conscious. Music, he says, is his home, where people can come inside and be welcome.

Stream "Mayday to Pilot" off Rivan Calderin's 2020 EP, igotthejuice:

Lyrics:

It’s the half blind pilot
Violet turning violet
A ticking time bomb with the middle name tyrant
Powerful impact, boom goes the cannon
1000 foot fall but I stick the landing
I’m the black panther, with motives of black panther
Fist up flex, this a Malcolm x stanza
Light skin Danny phantom, this the anthem
Ghosting all you boo thangs no Luigi’s mansion
Floating off my shoe lace, Kid N’ Play stand up
Just copped a new fade, he be hella handsome
Rappin’ like my hoop game, three point and one
Step back, shoot flame, Banging like a handgun
BOW
 

Who in here’s gonna start a riot? And who in hear’s gonna stay quiet
Mayday to pilot, im not gonna crash in the crowd
But I might just clash with the sound.

Like, Fu-- what you mean
Screw what you heard
Sit down and listen and then you can learn
This wisdom I got, bit-- it flows through my veins
Its been in my blood since my people been chained
Shackled and tamed, whipped and re-named, history written on every page
cuffed in a cage, fu-- what you say
400 years and nothing done changed

Thats why im, im bringing it back, bringing it back uh,
Thats why im spitting on tracks, and ripping the wax
Thats why im, im bringing it back, bringing it back uh,
Thats why im spitting the facts and swinging my axe

All work and no play makes me a dull boy
If you wanna response from your song, you need the soul boy
If you wanna rebel you need to preach to the quire
speak to the masses
Lead and inspire
KRS-One totes the gun for protection
By All Means I use my mind as a lethal weapon
WHOOP-WHOOP thats the Sound Of Da Police
So get out the streets ‘fore you end up deceased

Who in here’s gonna start a riot? And who in hear’s gonna stay quiet
Mayday to pilot, im not gonna crash in the crowd
But I might just clash with the sound.

Like fu-- all of that
You want me to sing and dance like I’m a sambo
You want me to rap about sipping lean and whipping lambos
You want me to be black and beautiful until it hurts you
But guess what bit--? I don’t need to fu--ing serve you
I’m the king of my conscious, the leader of my people, the one who won’t rest until we’re treated equal
Don’t need to be anyone else, but who I am
I am what I am and thats a brown man

Thats why im, im bringing it back, bringing it back uh,
Thats why im spitting on tracks, and ripping the wax
Thats why im, im bringing it back, bringing it back uh,
Thats why im spitting the facts and swinging my axe

Credits:

Reporting, production & original music: Myra Flynn

Mix & sound design: Myra Flynn & Josh Crane 

Digital production: Elodie Reed

Brave Little State executive producer: Angela Evancie

bravelittlestate.org

Credit Elodie Reed / VPR

Homegoings is a special series from Brave Little State that features conversations with musicians of color who live in Vermont — about Black grief, resilience and music.

Follow the series here as we release new episodes weekly through June 15.