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Long Beach Rapper Probes Wars of the Mind

Cambodian rapper PraCh Ly has released his third album, “Memoirs of an Invisible War,” a compilation of songs in Khmer and English that range in subject from Pol Pot to modern Cambodian politics and the problems of the next generation.

“Everyone has their own invisible war inside their mind,” PraCh Ly, 30, told VOA Khmer recently. “This album is about mine.”

“Hells Gate” is a powerful track that recalls the Long Beach rapper’s family experience in refugee camps at the Thai border.

“Lucky for us we were all OK,” he said in an interview. “Not like the others, losing arms and legs and stepping on bombs or grenades.”

This album has 19 songs in Khmer and 25 in English on two CDs, a broad expansion from his first album, which he produced in his parent’s Long Beach garage in 1999.

A copy of that album made it to Phnom Penh and took Cambodia by storm. Prach Ly has since garnered national US media attention, putting out a second album in 2003.

In the third album, also called Dalama 3, he said “the music is more mature than the previous two albums. The lyrics are more fierce.”

“The last two Dalamas were more about the ‘killing fields’ and my past,” he said. “This Dalama is more about the present and future.”