Hip-hop artist RuudAwakening was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, but moved to Florida as a child. His separated parents stayed Haiti while RuudAwakening was brought up by various aunts and uncles. His musical ‘moment of truth’ came to him when listening to the song with that same name by Gang Starr.
The bold rapper released his vividly raw and socio-politically relevant debut album Catharsis this past November via Ruffchild Records. Through the music and lyrics of hip-hop’s greatest, RuudAwakening felt a sense of belonging and identity – and he hopes his own music will do the same to those who listen to it.
Inspired by Jay-Z, Kanye, Nas, Kid Cudi, and A$AP Rockey, among many others, RuudAwakening stirs up the emotions and broadens the mind, aiming to elevate humanity and express his creativity. To that end, Catharsis is an album that wrestles with the scourges of depression, fear, and insecurity with the hopes of reaching a place of strength and peace.
RuudAwakening kindly replied to our continuing The Protest Interview series, addressing depression as a main factor that concerns him and how he tries to overcome this problem.
Hello! Please introduce yourself/yourselves and give a description of your sound/musical vision.
Hi, I'm RuudAwakening. It's hard to say cause even for me it's always evolving, but I try to make people feel things, whether it's through my voice or my lyrics. I want people to feel that they're not alone; that what they're experiencing someone else is also experiencing, from the ugly to the beautiful.
What is/are the main personal, national, and/or international issue(s) concerning you the most these days?
I think that the rising rates of depression, which of course may lead to a point of no return, is what's probably most concerning. I think that life is supposed to be beautiful and when you get to the point where it's no longer enjoyable, that that is a major thing.
What song, video, or lyrics quote of yours best represents your current viewpoint on this/these important topic(s)?
I think the song called "Freedom" off of the album CATHARSIS probably represents what I'm talking about. The speaker's lyrics I quote go something like this, "I see you living in hell but no the preacher won't listen, I see you waiting for heaven but ain't an easy decision, to put your mouth to the barrel so you could leave your affliction, I see you trying to quit but then you need your addiction, I see you hurting inside but you can't heal with prescriptions" - and it goes on further…
What's your favorite song, video, or lyrics quote by another act or artist that best exemplifies, or at least partly relates to, your current viewpoint?
I think Logic's “1-800-273-8255” is a great song that does a really good job talking about this, and having a conversation about it.
What other forms of protest, besides through your music, are you involved with to get your message across?
I feel like the best protest for this kind of thing is me myself as an individual. I think we live in a world that creates a lot of division, competition, comparisons, and labeling that's ugly and that can create an atmosphere for someone to feel like they're not worthy, like they don't belong, like they're not loved. And my protest is not to buy into that, not to feed into that, and if I can make that change myself than I feel like a lot of others can make the same protest too.
It's easy to judge and criticize others, especially in these unsettling times of overt intolerance, ignorance, and insults, but the fact remains that we need to work together. Objecting to and protesting against, but then working on a solution to the problem is critical in ensuring that positive change occurs. Name an action to take, or a campaign/charity that would be worthwhile to contribute to, for your cause.
I feel like the best action to take is to not judge and criticize. Like you said, you have to be tolerant of people's differences and to try to make this world for everyone, to make everyone feel like they belong day-to-day, with every conversation, interaction, and action, however subtle. And for those that are struggling with depression, what's working for me is just to find out about yourself; find out about the mind, like where do thoughts come from; is it real or is it something I'm believing in that's affecting me. I think The Work by Byron Katie is a good place to start.
What gives you hope for the future?
I see hope for the future because, like John Mayer says, the heart of life is good. A lot of people are waking up, I hate to use the word even though it's my name because it's so badly misrepresented, that you don't even know what it means anymore. But humanity's going to figure it out because we have to before we destroy one another.
Where can we purchase/stream your music and find out more about you?
You can stream and find my music on most major platforms. You know, follow me on Spotify if you can and etc. And my music is also on the website: https://ruudawakeningnow.com/