“They talking about a million, I’m talking about Infinity…”
I’ve said it before, but I’ll echo that I have a lot to learn about the UK music scene. I have to say, though, I’m always impressed with the level of talent I hear. My latest find from across the pond is Baliva, a talented MC that wears his heart – and his faith in his sleeve. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, he moved to London in 2001 to study media production and throw himself entirely into his pursuit of his lifelong dream of becoming a successful hip-hop artist. On his journey, though, he faced personal struggles that eventually – at his lowest – saw the young artist become Christian, and focus on using his talent for good. His latest effort, Imperfect, is both culmination of this vision and a wonderful body of music.
“Now people wanna act strange when you start to make a change but keep pressing on because my Lord will make you strong.”
Sonically the album has a blend of club/trap, backpack/street-hop, and Dilla-esque soundscapes over which Baliva delivers messages of self-worth, perseverance, and faith while giving a look into his innermost emotions. It’s telling, honest and quite refreshing. Over songs like Nothing To Prove, Addicted To Approval and Million Dollar Vanity, he tackles issues that range from social and racial injustice to the overall over-emphasis and reliance that many of us have on not only social media but ‘things’ in general. He’s most telling though on songs like the touching Broken Home, where he discusses how painful it is not to be involved in his child’s life.
“My purpose is to empower people to live lives filled with hope, courage and freedom”
Imperfect is an audio manifesto, in which Baliva is showing the world who he was, and who he’s become. He says best on the album’s outro, I’m Free: “this project marks a new chapter in my life.” He’s free from the constant people pleasing, and acceptance seeking that – frankly – plagues a lot of us. He’s not forcing you to subscribe to what he’s saying, rather describing a path towards a respective light he’s found in his life. Whether you follow him or not, he’s saved
Gives this brother a listen.