Planet Vegeta reaffirm the importance of staying true to the journey on ‘Ninety-Two Way’
Western Sydney group Planet Vegeta have returned in style on their latest EP ‘Ninety-Two Way’. Leaning towards a greater focus on rap and lyricism on the project, the trio consisting of Jazz NOBODI, LKGD and SVNO have arrived a year and a half on from their March 2021 EP ‘Letters to Chi-Chi’. Coinciding with the release of ‘Ninety-Two Way’ was a separate SoundCloud exclusive mixtape entitled ‘SZN TWO’. Released on the same day, ‘SZN TWO’ serves as a follow-up to their sample-fuelled and lively debut project ‘Fried Chicken & Flips’ which showcased the trio’s immediate potential to listeners way back in 2019.
The carefree playfulness and dance-inducing energy of ‘Letters To Chi-Chi’ is here in patches, however ‘Ninety-Two Way’ is a clear statement of the group’s intent to be a leader in the Australian scene, a sentiment evidenced by how the EP often hones in on allowing Jazz’s lyricism to shine in spaces where previously the bars were less menacing, and more charming on ‘Letters To Chi-Chi’. And it feels like an important step in their evolution and maturity as a group renowned for their fearlessness as musicians who are always looking to release the music they love that feels truest to them in the present.
Read on for our full breakdown & review of Planet Vegeta's EP 'Ninety-Two Way'.
When we say ‘ANTHEM’ is all Jazz NOBODI, we mean that quite literally. This chest-thumping, speedily-delivered EP opener calls out falsehood and the shoddy work rate of some of Vegeta’s contemporaries and opposition, with the ominous whooping instrumental moving throughout the whole track and never ceasing to let the listener catch their breathe. Jazz takes centre stage, with his bars marked by a balance of bravado – “Best in the galaxy and the solar” – and humour – “All my Usos pull up in the coupe, probably someone’s ute”. Furthermore, ‘ANTHEM’ seeks to remind listeners of Vegeta’s self-made success and the completely unique laneway they’ve carved out for themselves, as the outro reiterates in a distant audio recording, “We don’t follow the culture, we created the culture”. To put it plainly, this is the Planet Vegeta anthem ahead of the world takeover, with an opening address firmly delivered by Jazz NOBODI.
If you haven’t realised it yet, the 92 way is “a motherfuckin’ lifestyle”. ‘LIFESTYLE’ gives Vegeta the opportunity to be vocal about feeling like outcasts in an industry that favours a certain style of drill and rap, something that they refuse to let faze them as Jazz states “Fuck this industry, Super Saiyan we be steering ship”. The beat here feels deconstructed, somehow like LKGD is running the synths and vocal sampling in reverse to accentuate both the self-assured and counter-culture energy Vegeta possess in abundance. You also can’t help but admire the subtleties of his production brain when he adds a winding-up effect to signal Jazz’s second verse. The track concludes with LKGD’s distinct cadence serving to deliver a final verse strutting with confidence that leaves you wanting to pump ‘LIFESTYLE’ loud with the roof all the way down.
In a scene saturated by mimicry and stale sounds, Vegeta seek to go beyond the established route on their way to the top, and ‘DIFFERENT’ embodies that wholeheartedly. “Don’t get me wrong I got love for the game, but it’s all kinda sounding the same” LKGD unapologetically says as the groovy beat kicks in with a cheery flute positioned right at the centre of it. It’s undoubtedly Vegeta at their most playful on the project, while still staying true to the overaching theme of the EP as Jazz uses his verse to speak on their resilience and inimitability. SVNO’s official arrival on this EP absolutely hits the mark with aplomb, offering a balance of clever wordplay and dynamic switch-ups in his delivery, and still leaving room for reflection, “I remember days on the floor in the kitchen / Now we do shows and they all want to listen”.
RIDE IT OUT
LKGD’s production on ‘RIDE IT OUT’ shines heavily as it draws from a multitude of genres that are intertwined over a drill beat. The hook is proof of Vegeta’s willingness to experiment and push out of their comfort zone on every project, with SVNO delivering what seemingly resembles an emotional pop-punk style refrain that has been digitised – “I can’t find a way I see it in your eyes like everyday, I’m tryna figure out the words to say”. Emotionally, the song conveys the importance of staying mentally tough and true to the journey – especially when one feels at their lowest. I have to point out that transition from LKGD spitting his bars on a phone call to his actual recorded vocals as well because it’s very coolly done.
92 WAY (Legends Forever)
If ‘ANTHEM’ serves as Vegeta’s statement to the Australian scene, ’92 WAY’ is their ode to their growth and the family and friends that have stayed true to them throughout the journey. Jazz is relentless in his opening verse, delivering a quick-witted onslaught of bars reiterating the theme that Vegeta are in a whole separate division to those around them. SVNO’s chorus feels like his most epic yet on the EP, building up with what is clearly him getting the frustation off his chest and putting it into the music, “They all say that we average, fuck ‘em all ‘til its action”. Finally, LKGD keeps it real on his verse, alternating between flows to emphasize the work he’s put in to be where he is now. The sombre guitar notes by Joji Malani are a superb accompaniment to the track as well.
There’s a noticeably subdued mood to ‘STRIPPER’ that plays into themes of being unable to save a girl they consider family who has chosen a dangerous route in her life. Jazz utilises his opening verse to put a spotlight on his own natural inclination and passion to simply be an artist, “Get in my bag, I pull out the pen and the pad, free game take you to school”. In addition, LKGD’s emotive, crooning vocals give the track a layer of emotional weight that demonstrates this internal dilemma that comes from wanting to save someone who doesn’t want to be saved.
‘TOPSHELF’ is a smoothly-made track which makes the comparison between the finer things in life and a passionate relationship. LKGD’s hook is packed with vibey finesse and is a quality bridge between SVNO and Jazz’s verses, with SVNO delivering an expert display of his exceptional vocal style. The responsibility of delivering the emotional core of the track falls directly into the elite penmanship of Jazz, who indorses the blossoming that comes from authenticity and comfortability to oneself in a relationship.
I love the way ‘ELEVATE' concludes this whole EP. By smartly reintroducing elements from previous tracks in a subtle fashion – the drum loop from ‘LIFESTYLE’ – ‘ELEVATE’ acts as a full circle moment in both the project and Vegeta’s journey as a group. Jazz’s verse honours the determination that he and the group as a whole have put in to elevate both themselves and the Australian rap scene around them to greater heights, whilst LKGD’s production symbolizes the quiet confidence that Vegeta move with. Finally, it’s a delight to see SVNO finish the EP with such a triumphant vocal performance.
Planet Vegeta’s approach often feels rooted in a lighthearted and DIY energy. More importantly, one’s enjoyment of Vegeta’s music stems from the fact that everything is made organically and submerged in a multitude of old and new school influences without ever sounding borrowed or lazy. ‘Ninety-Two Way’ carries with it that same natural lightheartedness that makes the group stand out, more importantly however the EP acts as a commitment to the path they have taken and stayed true to so far.
‘Ninety-Two Way’ is as fitting a statement as Vegeta could’ve made in regards to the momentum they’re now feeling with the newfound independence that has come from parting ways with their label - something that is further reaffirmed by the release of an EP and mixtape alongside one another. And with a loyal fanbase behind them and Australian tour ahead of them, Vegeta have stayed true to their push to continually build and leave a legacy. If ‘Letters To Chi-Chi’ hooked me into the Vegeta formula, ‘Ninety-Two Way’ has me reaffirmed in my belief in the Vegeta agenda. And by actively choosing to embrace what makes them unique and running with it, one can foresee the 92 brand hitting even bigger heights in future.
Words by Matthew Badrov