After being back home for just over a year, Rochester native V. Ciannii has quickly gained his city’s attention with his ability to effortlessly relive his experiences and pain over melodic beats and engaging lyrics. With his highly-anticipated debut album Balance now available on all streaming platforms and his track “Patience” reaching over 100k views on YouTube, the album has potential to leave a lasting impression - especially with every song on the album telling a different story and leaving room for people from all walks of life to relate.
The 15-track project is a reflection of Ciannii’s lifestyle, and includes the recurring topics of his life both during and after prison, the loss of close friends, disloyalty, husting, mental health, and more. In the cover art, he’s pictured looking back at himself in two forms, which I see as a reflection of how where he’s been has led to who he is now; a combination of a father-figure/businessman and a product of his environment which he still finds himself in-between. Along with his image, he also balances his sound and displays versatility between melodic pain and drill, which is definitely a plus for this album. The project includes features from Trav, Lil Wes, Lil Perco, Dottchi, and fellow Rochester drill-rapper/close friend Klass Murda who appears on two different tracks. My top 5 are “The Realist”, “Vouch 4 Me” ft. Lil Wes, “Patience”, “Fighting Demons” ft. Klass Murda, and “Anxiety”. Here’s why:
I personally believe there was no better choice for an intro track. We get a feel for who Ciannii is as an artist early on, and through this song we hear about some of his experiences including the way he was raised, having his first daughter at a young age, returning to jail, and what qualifies a “real nigga”. There are two mini-monologues where he talks over the beat and gives insightful words to listeners on making it out, which I think is a good way to hook people who don’t know what he’s about. It’s very motivational and real.
When I’d listen: Speeding with the windows down, getting in my bag, or working out at the gym
“Vouch 4 Me”
Honestly, not much to say here - I just like the vibe of the song. Lil Wes was a good addition; his voice fit the beat well, and him and Ciannii sound good together. I would like to hear another song from the two of them in the future.
When I’d listen: Anytime! It’s really a vibe.
As I mentioned before, this is the debut song from the album and can stand as a commentary for who he is and where he came from. He reflects on the pain of losing a friend while in prison, having friends turn into enemies, and leveling himself by way of his experiences to be a better person. Even though he’s turning over a new leaf now, he’s still LIKE THAT & can always revert to his old self if tried - don’t let the motivational quotes and positivity fool you.
When I’d listen: Anytime. Again, I actually really like this one.
“Fighting Demons ft. Klass Murda
This song reflects on the grieving process and getting through the hurt that comes with losing a loved one - from violence to drug abuse, losing sleep, and ultimately trying to keep from acting on impulse. Klass Murda’s feature is just as impactful as Ciannii’s, and he reflected on his personal experience with loss while also vowing to keep his loved ones’ name alive. I also really liked the melody of this song.
When I’d listen: Reflecting on life, going for a late night drive, or while upset with life
The central idea of this song is about dealing with trials and tribulations in life and mental health. Based on a true story, Ciannii talks about his brother “losing his mind” after being prescribed medication for depression from a doctor, and dealing with his own anxiety. The lyrics beyond the chorus doesn’t really touch on his pain, but I really commend him for being vulnerable enough to put it out there that people may not really understand who he really is, and he’s dealing with stuff that goes beyond the surface.
When I’d listen: (See “Fighting Demons”)
Overall, the entire album is a story of his life and reflection of his experiences, and each song opens another door into who he is. There are a lot of references to him being locked up which is expected, but I truly think it was a strong comeback after a 5 year hiatus. I look forward to seeing what’s next!