Beat Magazine Features ‘Sticks & Stones’: NewAge Poet’s truth-telling anthem of men’s mental health
Arriving on R U OK Day, ‘Sticks & Stones’ shines a light on the ups and downs of coping with internal emotions as a male on a daily basis.
With a rich yet stripped-back aesthetic, densely woven and biting lyricism and an intoxicating flow, Australian-based rap recording artist Eddie Labbad, best known as NewAge Poet, has been steadily on the rise over the past decade.
Also an author, poet and a strong advocate for raising the awareness and importance of men’s mental health across all mediums, Labbad evokes a mood intensity with his gripping sound and philosophical lyrical messages, delivering poetry through modern means within rap to convey messages of truth and struggles of life, especially in his new single ‘Sticks & Stones’, released today, September 8.
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The follow-up to singles ‘Colossal’ and ‘Gold’, released earlier this year, ‘Sticks & Stones’ combines lavish production, punchy beats and unwaveringly honest and poignant lyricism that highlights the ups and downs of coping with internal emotions as a male daily.
With effortless melodic flow, Labbad’s emotive and pained delivery is the centrepiece of the track, rapping circles around us as he lyrically illustrates a distinct narrative about mental health and gives us an insight into the understanding of tribulations in a man’s soul when facing suicidal thoughts.
‘Internally I’m gone ballistic, what is this, let me become just another statistic, I can’t cope, I can’t deal, with everything that I feel’
Speaking heavily about male suicide, the track is filled with truth-telling poetry that lingers long after the song is over while ‘Sticks & Stones’ hits close to home for the singer with close relationships having dealt with mental illness.
“By the time the clock strikes midnight tonight, six Australian Men will have taken their own lives, leaving a trail of destruction and devastation behind only because they truly believed that this was the only way out for them,” he says.
“This is the pandemic that we don’t talk about often enough until it’s too late.”
That’s a scary statistic shared by the artist, and unfortunately, it’s a very real statistic that stems from the difficulty that some men have in opening up and talking about how they are feeling, therefore having serious impacts on their mental health and wellbeing.
“Sticks & Stones’ was born to not only raise awareness about the importance of men’s mental health but to bring to light the almost faux-pas subject of male suicide,” he adds. “Darkness cannot survive in light and it’s time we shun our beams on this virus that lurks and thrives in the dark.”
Striving to continue to be powerful and make an impact throughout his career, the artist seeks to normalise mental health issues.
As well as pointing to the struggles of surviving with the internal battles men face, the song’s lyrics also reflects the perception of men’s mental health and the importance of reframing psychological help as a pathway towards empowerment rather than something shameful.
“It’s time we speak about the importance of fatherhood and the examples we must set for younger males. The next generation’s existence literally depends on it. It’s time we fight back with sticks and stones.”
“My hope for this track is to encourage Men to grow, progress and learn to regulate their emotions and thoughts in a much more positive way, allowing us to teach the next generation of boys to also do this, so that they may be given a fighting chance to also become the men they are destined to become.
“This, I believe will be the greatest gift Men can offer our Sons and humanity.”
Alongside the new single, Labbad has unveiled an accompanying music video, offering a visual representation of his dive deep into the abyss of real conversations and shattering truths. The black and white video features footage of real men and their sons, ranging from close-ups, and a variety of interactions to convey the message of the song.
Throughout the video, blue marks appear on the faces, representing male childhood trauma and all of those who have fallen victim to its stranglehold.
A highly influential role model in the music industry and beyond, Labbad will be donating a portion of his proceeds from ‘Sticks & Stones’ and his book Enter The Poet to the R U OK? organisation. The Australian non-profit suicide prevention strongly advocates for people to build conversations with others by living by the motto “A conversation could change a life”. Today, Thursday, September 8 is RU OK? Day, which encourages you to take action by dedicating the time to meeting with your peers and asking them “R U OK?”
Hip-hop, as one of the largest musical genres today, continues to be relatable to audiences with lyrics that express anxiety, depression, and mental health, particularly among men today. The best songs are the ones that an audience can relate to, and that’s just what NewAge Poet does.