With the advent of the twenty-first century, the Cambodian music industry comprising mainly of rappers has started achieving the fame that it rightly deserves. Various Cambodian rappers have been making on the rise in the U.S, to name few; Night & Phinale, Pho, and Tee Cambo (Schlund-Vials, 2008). However, one rapper who has gained the most recognition is Chanthy Sok, also known as ‘CS.’ Sok’s fame is mainly due to the grip that he has on his verse and the flow with which he utters those verses. Not only are his lyrics catchy but they are meaningful as they highlight his experiences. Being a Cambodian immigrant, Chanthy has been a victim of the atrocities that had been inflicted on him and so many others like him. Chanthy was not only victimized in his homeland but in the U.S as well as the locals expressed racial biasedness towards him. His music is based on the racial prejudices, poverty, and his struggles. The Cambodian struggle started in the year 1975 when the Communist Party of Kampuchea took control of Cambodia. During the time that the party was in power, they made specific policies that were inhumane and disregarded the value of human life (Kiernan, 2012). The systems enforced repression and led to the massacre of Cambodians on a broad scale. History regards the democratic Kampuchea as one of the worse human tragedies in the twentieth century. Millions of Cambodians have died only because of diseases as there has been a depletion of medicine and medical services. People have been starved to death, executed or have been overworked to the point that they died. Women in a large number have been turned into widows, the number of orphans is immeasurable. Those who survived the atrocities have been traumatized by the experience. Cambodia continues to suffer from political unrest as there is an endless war between the political parties and the people.
Chanthy Sok’s can be considered as a weapon of change as his songs are based on the struggles that he has faced. He pours his heart out to his fans through his lyrics that are true in their meaning and sense. The singer inspires his followers to confront the issues that have been brought on them by not only Cambodia but the U.S as well. I do not think that Chanthy should be sent back to Cambodia because of what he has done. Chanthy learned from his mistakes during the time he spent in prison. His prison experience has changed him and made him a new man. Chanthy struggles to make his life and the life of his fans better by producing music that touches the heart. Sending him back to Cambodia only because of one criminal act is biased and shows how racially prejudiced we are as a community. Chanthy has struggled long enough to realize that there is so much more to life, he regrets the mistakes that made in the past and strives to move forward. His songs are a proof of what he believes in, and the change that he has gone through can be seen through his music. Cambodian people should be given the opportunity to make something out of their life be it through music or any other profession. Their hardships should be realized, and the judgments based on their actions should be avoided as they have been through a lot. Anyone who has gone through the Cambodian genocide deserves to have a chance of living a better life, and Chanthy should not be judged by his criminal act for which he has already atoned.
Kiernan, B. (2012). The Cambodian Genocide, 1975-1979. Centuries of Genocide: Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, 317.
Schlund-Vials, C. J. (2008). A Transnational Hip Hop Nation: praCh, Cambodia, and Memorialising the Killing Fields. Life Writing, 5(1), 11–27.