Token Tackles Mental Health with New Single ‘Happiness’


Hip Hop’s most talented teenager is back. Following up the divisive ‘Waist Down’, Token returns with ‘Happiness‘, a complete parallel to its predecessor. Where ‘Waist Down’ showcased the Massachusetts MC ‘fucking around’, ‘Happiness’ exemplifies Token’s self-awareness, introspection and deft-ability with story telling. With production from Kato, who architected the ‘No Sucka MC’s’ competition which catapulted Token to fame, the track is a ‘door-opener’ for what’s to come on ‘Eraser Shavings‘ the forthcoming mixtape.

On ‘Happiness’, Token tackles the often tabooed topic of mental health in two different ways. In the first couple of verses, Token tells stories of two classmates with separate experiences. In the first verse, the Massachusetts bar-smith spits the story of a young man who’s family suffer from various issues themselves and how it has a knock-on effect for him. The second verse features the tale of a young woman who seems to have everything going for her, beautiful, smart and popular and yet, doesn’t know “what happiness is?”

On the third verse the narrative turns from third person story telling to first person introspection. In his self-assessment as to ‘what happiness is’, Token admits he doesn’t know before questioning whether his idols happiness is a façade, whether he is genetically predisposed to suffer from depression given its history within his family and challenged whether the medication offered for mental health is legitimately helpful to victims of diseases such as depression.

In 2016, there are worryingly high statistics for people struggling with mental health and the fact that suicide is the most frequent cause of death for millennial males. With Hip Hop continuously snowballing into the most popular music genre in the world and especially for the aforementioned demographic, the responsibility for artists to articulate the pressures that people face in todays society is greater than ever.

In ‘Happiness’, a young man still under the age of 18 bravely opens the door for a conversation on these topics. As I mentioned in my review of ‘Waist Down’, a 17 year old should have the freedom to rap about whatever he wants – but its important to understand the responsibility he has as an artist at the same time. There are countless artists who make music for the ‘turn up’ and never offer solace and understanding to their listeners – but they’re likely to be forgotten in a few years time. Token deserves more than that, and it’s tracks like ‘Happiness’ which will cement him as a top tier talent with a career filled with purpose and longevity.


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