I know you might not realize this, but life is hard. The transition from your teenage years to being an adult will take a toll on you at some point. There’s no one to tell you how to do it because every experience is different. Now, multiply this feeling times 1,000 and this is what it’s like to be a Black person in America. Daily you hear or see a new story about someone committing an act of racism or the murder of a Black person due to law enforcement. I understand we live in a society where everything is documented, but this is a good thing. Racism and the unjustifiable killings of Black people isn’t a new concept. It’s not like racism disappeared with the end of segregation and just suddenly showed up again like it’s a pest. Racism has been running rampant in America for centuries and is a founding concept of this country. This is where the “racism is as American as apple pie” phrase comes from.
Being young and Black in America is one of the hardest things that a person can go through. How do people deal with things when life gets hard? We’re all different but coping mechanisms are the same: drug and alcohol usage, binge eating, and promiscuity are all popular vices. When you begin heading down this road, using these vices as escapism, it can lead to a lifetime of dependency issues. These issues also lead to creativity many times as the pain is too much to keep inside and needs to be released. Cincinnati, OH’s Devin Burgess isn’t scared of putting these topics in his music. It actually helped him create his latest project, Escape, with producer Fyvr.
Every artist has a platform but what they choose to share with their audience doesn’t always have to be about social issues, such as racism in America. Devin Burgess feels a responsibility to talk about it in his music, saying “I don’t dwell on the topic too much here, but it’s definitely brought up. Not only because I’m black, but because most of my listeners are white. So if I can bring some perspective to ANYONE, I’m going to do that.” Burgess brings up a good point. Many of the consumers in hip-hop are white people (this includes me). I can say that a lot of my people do not have the slightest clue that racism still exists in this country (or they want to ignore it). They think because segregation happened in the 1960’s that everything is fine and we’re all one big, happy country. If you turn on the TV, open social media, or can open your mind, you know that is not true in the slightest. Burgess continues: “I feel like a problem we have is a lack of conversation, perspective, and understanding. So I’ll speak on it without like ramming it down your throat y’know? I feel like I gotta say something because this s**t is still happening, and one of the best ways to get closer to making it not happen anymore, is talking about it.”
Burgess’ voice is reminiscent of Tyler, The Creator’s but his song structure and topics differ in ways that Tyler could benefit from using. Fyver’s production is soothing throughout this project. Escape examines life as a 20-something black man, using drugs to cope with the stresses of just existing. Burgress went through a lot of emotions during the creation of this project and used it as an escape, hence the title. Asked if this project was used as a coping mechanism, he said “It’s definitely a coping mechanism. I stay pretty secluded and to myself, so music is literally my escape. Since I don’t necessarily talk to people about my problems, music becomes my outlet. You can tell that making music is more cathartic for me than it is fun, not to say that I don’t have fun while making it.”
“These substances are our sanctuary. What you call overdose, another calls peace…freedom. That’s a grey area” -“Secluded (Interlude)”
Escape at it’s core is the emotional outlet of an artist who’s trying to figure out the meaning of life. Burgess seeks clarity on this short project, using the ambient production from Fyvr to match his mood and the emotional state of mind he was in during the creation process. The answer’s that Burgess is looking for are only attained through living life. Do you ever wonder about your purpose on this planet? If there’s an afterlife? Escape makes you ask yourself questions about your existence and what it all means to be alive. This project captures a point in Burgess’ life that is the beginning of the man, and artist, that he’s going to become as he matures.