Page Kennedy Makes A Song So Real It Hurts

For more than six years, Detroit, Michigan MC Page Kennedy has been making noise. A purebred MC, Page embodied a pivot to Hip-Hop. The actor from S.W.A.T., Weeds, Blue Mountain State, and countless other roles began releasing albums with 2017’s Torn Pages, and his Straight Bars mixtape series. He made collaborations with Method Man, Elzhi, Royce 5’9, Kxng Crooked, and others, and held every bit of his own alongside established greats.

However, upon closer inspection, Page Kennedy was not pivoting at all. Evident in his skills, and reinforced through interviews (where he recounted opening shows for Biggie Smalls and Ice Cube in the 1990s), Page was a veteran MC who used another gift in acting to support and pursue his calling. Nearly 15 years ago, P.K. worked alongside ONYX on the A Day In The Life soundtrack. However, after doggedly chasing a dream, Page Kennedy’s new song may be his realest to date. “Giving Up” explains why that dream continues to be deferred, and captures the frustrations, anger, sadness, and overall struggle of what it takes to make impact in 2023. The self-released single is produced by Mic West (The Game, Childish Gambino, Elzhi), and leaves marks on the ear as one of the year’s most personal, and realest songs.

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The song begins with Page bellowing lyrics like a Blues singer. From the first couplet, it is clear that this is a somber statement. He says he’s the patriarch of the Kennedy family tree, and wishes to support his relatives. “I want so much to make they life easier because my life was so bad / But I done went from havin’ my own four kids to becomin’ every else dad / It’s what God gave me, yes, he made me special in the way he gave me light / But I’m not here to be taken advantage of when I’m workin’ day and night,” spits the veteran.

Page smashes the facade of a Hollywood lifestyle. “It’s smoke and mirrors, when you think, ’cause you see me on TV, that I’m gettin’ all of this dough / What you don’t know is I did two seasons in a row, and they don’t wanna pay me mo’ / I made all this money on this movie, but I only get a third of what I gross / Taxes and ya team take the most, social media, the highlight reel / What you post only way you get clout is when you boast, let’s look close,” he raps—kicking real-life mathematics. “It’s 100 and 20K a year, and that’s on bills alone / So that means it takes 10,000 bucks a month, and I don’t even own my own home.” Page speaks about the pressure of supporting his mother, and how that adds unforeseen stress to his life.

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To add insult to injury, I spent my acting money on my album, A Book Of Pages / The outcome was outrageous / Put it on Bandcamp to try and get my money back / Funny that / Every one that said they’d buy it / Never stood by it,” he charges about the industry. “I had a listening party, but I was the only party listening.” Page reveals he spent six-figures on a career and barely recoup in the modern music model. He weaves in the stresses of child support payments (despite having summer custody of a child), the pressures of possibly getting married, and being inundated with fans asking him what’s next—while not supporting what’s now.

Page also speaks about the first-hand effects of the strikes in Hollywood. The actor who has been picketing vents that he cannot support or promote his efforts. The MC’s voice gets strained as he vents that he is giving up—or possibly worse outcomes. He points out that dead artists earn more respect, their art gets properly consumed, and the checks are bigger too. The verse ends with Page Kennedy admitting that his grievances sound like complaints. Presumably, he moves on.

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In addition to “Giving Up,” the AFH playlist features recent music from Royce 5’9″, Ransom, Che Noir, and Skyzoo & The Other Guys, among others.

#BonusBeat: Page Kennedy’s aforementioned Book Of Pages album is available as a Bandcamp exclusive. It features Ice-T, Elzhi, KXNG Crooked, Jon Connor, Ransom, King Los, Westside Boogie, Nick Grant, and others. In addition to several music videos online, the song “Practice” is available for free stream: