Grassroots Suicide Prevention presents: AWKWORD ft. L*A*W - “#AaronSwartz” [prod. by Steel Tipped Dove]
With “#AaronSwartz”, as the title suggests, I was inspired by the internet activist Aaron Swartz. Aaron created Reddit and invented RSS. His life became a meme. He was the target of American government persecution resulting from his sharing of (incriminating) public documents. And he committed suicide. Some say he was murdered, and it’s possible. Anything is. Some say he killed himself because he was depressed. But his life partner Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, an internet friend of mine, states that Aaron did choose to end his life, but not because he was depressed.
For me, the story of yet another transformative figure finishing him/herself off was enough to get me started. I have been known to reference the number 27 and the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and my childhood friend, artist and skateboarder Jesse Swartout. And I am all too familiar with suicide. I have known a number of good people who chose to forgo living because they couldn’t handle this life. And I too have struggled to get out of bed. My family, friends and fans know I take drugs to keep me stable.
However, as with all my philosophies and everything I create, there are nuances (“In Japan they call it falling on your sword”) . After listening to this song, I’m not sure the listener knows where I stand on taking one’s own life. I’m not sure that I know. Up-and-comer Steel Tipped Dove provided the right backdrop for a song like this, and the homie L*A*W came through with a scene-stealing hook and some guitar to enhance the music.
As stated in the song review on TheBoombox.com, suicide is Hip Hop’s elephant in the room, personalized by the recent deaths of Pro Era’s Capital Steez and TI affiliate Freddy E.
My mission with this record is to help people realize that there are others like them, that there is nothing wrong with their feelings, and that there are people who can help them. It is also to correct the public’s misperceptions about suicide and depression, and make it OK to talk about these topics in rap.
I worked with the UK’s Grassroots Suicide Prevention organization to release this song, as I did with the “Throw Away The Key” video, connecting with the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy The Hood. This is an example of one of those records that is, as my homie Nathan at RefinedHype would say, bigger than Hip Hop.
“Take it from the horse’s mouth, man I’ve been miserable /
Everybody say you great, I felt pitiful /
Perfectionist or negative, whatever you call it /
It’s the feeling that, everything you touch, you spoil it”
Originally written for: Hip Hop Renaissance