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

A black and white image of a person holding a sunflower. Blue hearts are over the persons sunglasses, and little yellow crowns are on the ends of the person's braids. Red background with green outlines around the image of the person.
PHOTO: Myla Jacobs, Courtesy
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GRAPHIC: Elodie Reed, VPR
Rivan C. is a 20-year-old multi-racial Afro-Cuban-Caucasian hip-hop artist born and raised in Vermont.

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:

Subscribe to Brave Little State for free, and never miss an episode:

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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

A thin grey line.

the word homegoings written in white lettering, with a yellow crown over the "m," surrounded by cutouts of black and white lilies and carnations
Credit Elodie Reed / VPR
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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.

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