Token’s Storytelling Proves That Happiness Can Be A Hard Place To Reach (Video)

From DJ Quik’s “50 Ways” to Eminem’s “Rock Bottom,” DMX’s “Slippin'” to Geto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks On Me,” lack of happiness and depression has been a theme to many Hip-Hop records. Artists like Blu, Slug, Ghostface Killah, Scarface, and Eminem have defined their legacies by writing and rapping openly of mental and emotional challenges, and admitting when the hurdles appear just a little too high.

Token has burst onto the scene through his delivery. The Massachusetts teenage MC becomes impassioned in his messages, and whether freestyle or from paper, rises to the occasion to serve mics. On “Happiness,” Token puts his storytelling pen on the pedestal right with his maniacal method of rapping.

The song centers Token in his high school classroom. Nearby his desk, he observes a fellow student marginalized by the world around him. Grappling with alienation, trouble at home, and self-doubt, that student battles with how to channel those feelings—involving guns. The second verse goes to a popular, admired and attractive girl. Beyond the physical beauty and veneer of the perfect life, she has literal scars on her wrists from her own unhappiness and coping problems. Both characters are enacted in the video.

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The third verse brings it home to Token, literally. The MC talks about his own family, and their reliance on medication and treatment. In a Hip-Hop poster-covered basement, Token’s own childhood is recreated as he symbolically copes through music (Tupac, 50 Cent, The Notorious B.I.G.) while his mother uses pills to get by.

The chorus analyzes why happiness is so often talked about, but for many, so difficult to live.

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The song appears to be included on the upcoming Eraser Shavings album, which is referenced at the close of the visual.