Zimbabwe-born and Wellington raised alternative hip-hop artist Waguan was brought up on afro-beats and rap. These influences have helped shape his debut album ‘Vibrations’, which seeks to take you on a journey through the young artist’s life as he navigates finding a space to be himself.
“Vibrations is inspired by my existential journey throughout adolescence and the conclusions I’ve come to with each rabbit hole I’ve willingly thrown myself into. From the idea of discovering God, to tussling with perspective, to tussling with God’s perspective, to thinking if life was an NCEA math equation, vibrations is me showing my working”.
Inspired by Kanye West and Russell Brand, Waguan has a radically artistic approach to music and life in general. The artist seeks to draw purpose from the way music allows you to move through the world, hoping to share a piece of his energy with listeners. With his first major release, the versatile artist is hoping to make a splash. ‘Vibrations’ is his formal introduction to the New Zealand music scene.
“The album represents a lot, it is firstly my self-introduction to the music industry, ‘hello, I’m Waguan, and I’m a bit of a weird one’. It showcases all of my favourite styles of rapping and where they meet my character.”
But ‘Vibrations’ is more than just an introduction to the artist. It paints a picture of struggle and hard work, where we see Waguan deal with confinements placed upon him by society and feelings of inadequacy.
“Vibrations tells the story of freedom. Growing up I’ve been artistically repressed by every institution I’ve had in life, whether that be school or work or my family institution. Vibrations tells the story of me, Tino, finally finding space to truly and unashamedly be my messy, explosively artistic self.”
Waguan reveals that making the album was a learning curve, allowing the artist to experience a wealth of personal growth, with close collaborators offering guidance and wisdom throughout the journey.
“One of the special things about the tape is that it’s inspired by those who helped me to make it. Everyone I’ve met in the music world has taught me something about myself and the world we live in, the track HERSHEYS being placed after SUCCULENT shows how Lakeboon came into my life at a point of turmoil and brought calm fruitful energy into my perspective.
“Tracks like GOD and GRAVITY show the hard Mahi I’ve put into figuring out why we exist and how we can be comfortable with it.
“SUCCULENT ends on a defeated note. This is followed by Joe Rogan addressing why everyone in today’s society is so scared of sincerity, followed by dead silence which is broken by the synth cries of Lakeboon at the beginning of ‘HERSHEYS’, silencing my angst and introducing the idea that there is a place for me to do what I do and be loved for doing it.”
Check out the album for yourself below;