How Token Overcame A Language Disability To Become A Gifted Lyricist (Video)
At 17-years-old, Token has already embarked on a successful journey as an MC, working with Joell Ortiz and Snow that Product in addition to one of the most memorable appearances by any emergent rapper ever on “Sway in the Morning.” A chance encounter with T-Pain by way of a Twitter share earned the Salem, Massachusetts spitter some much-deserved attention, but the tremendous talent he possesses at such a young age is only part of the picture. Token – born Ben Goldberg – has suffered from not only anxiety, depression, and obesity but also a language disability, a struggle he continues to deal with today. For those who haven’t yet heard this young man’s delivery, the news that he once had difficulty speaking “normally” may not come as anything particularly shocking. The same cannot be said for those who’ve been following his career as they’ve already discovered his nearly inhumanly possible speed, dexterity, creativity and annunciation on the mic.
In a new mini documentary produced by Uproxx, Token’s unbelievable talent is showcased, as is his heartening personal story. Having been called “an alligator on the mic” by Sway himself, Token’s talent is no stranger to applause, but it has also endured its fair share of criticism. Growing up as a Jewish White kid in Boston with an affinity for Hip-Hop, his ability to parlay with fellow Heads hasn’t always been easy. But rather than cower in conformity, he took a stage name that shines a bright spotlight on exactly that which make him stand out. “Growing up I always felt that I was real different. What helped me deal with it was writing,” he shares. During his childhood, it was evident that the young boy was gravitating towards becoming a rapper, and despite the emotional issues he was dealing with – his mother mentions that even his psychiatrist noticed that being a rapper seemed to be the only thing on his mind – his talent eventually caught up with his ambition. And then some. But it wasn’t all so simple. “At one point, my anxiety got really bad and I didn’t want to make it a big thing,” he says, and he was eventually taken in for neurological and psychological testing. According to his mother, his doctors noticed “something with not understanding language, particularly expressive language. And of course, the greatest irony is that he lives in metaphors.”
After listening to Token, Heads will be hard-pressed not to react with anything but the expressive. He’s set to debut his debut album in Summer ’16.