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Why You Should Be a Fan of the Rapper Token

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my first concert. Well actually my first concert was to see the Jonas Brothers when I was like ten, but seeing my friends go to concerts all the time, I felt like I had never actually been to one. I’ve never really had the time or money to go to one, but once I found someone I really wanted to see, I went for it. I wanted to dance, sing, and let go around a huge crowd of people who had the same energy as I did, and I found that at Token’s concert.


A couple summers ago, I was driving around one night with my friend, and he had me listen to some music from a rapper I had never heard of. I thought his music was okay; he wasn’t huge at the time, and he didn’t have a lot of songs. I was digging the couple of songs I had heard, and I downloaded them on my phone, but I wasn’t crazy about him. That was until this past summer, when he dropped a banger called Flamingo. I was laying on the beach, scrolling through Facebook and I saw his new music video and I watched it. From then on, I was hooked; I was listening to that song every day, and I began listening more to the songs I already had on my phone, and then downloaded the rest of his songs I hadn’t even listened to yet.


Token still wasn’t huge at the time, and he’s not exactly huge now; he’s working his way up the ladder to success. People were calling him the “New Eminem”, and I liked him way more than Eminem. I followed him on Instagram and messaged him every once in a while to see if I’d ever get a response (sometimes he posted his messages on his story). I was immediately obsessed, and my friends were getting annoyed with how much I talked about him and listened to his music.


It wasn’t even necessarily his music I was obsessed with; it was more of him as a person. I was watching his interviews on Youtube to understand how he came to be. He had a rough childhood and suffered from anger issues. He began dealing with this in his own way by writing poems in his notebook in his room, and occasionally rapping them. His friend found these and encouraged him to post them on Youtube at a young age. He faced a lot of criticism from kids from his school who picked on him for his music and told him he’d never be famous. It wasn’t too long before he started to get noticed for his talent. He went to a Hopsin concert and tried to tell Hopsin when he saw him outside that he also raps, but Hopsin ignored him. He swallowed his pride and began freestyling in front of everyone, and Hopsin turned around. His career started there.


It’s what came after that where I began to really admire him. He’s really smart for his age and for his own good. Mark Wahlberg tried to get him to sign with Eminem to get big quick, but Token didn’t think he was ready to do that yet. Since then, he’s had many opportunities to sign with other artists, but he refuses because he doesn’t want to get big too fast; he wants to build his way up himself and do it all authentically, and he also doesn’t want to get big so fast that he loses his fame too quick after he reaches his peak. He wants to gain his fame himself and get rich to support his mother, and he describes in many of his songs. I can tell how hard he works by his Instagram page and seeing how much he does himself.


A few months ago, Token dropped his first big album, Somewhere in Between. I spent an hour trying to find the Boston-based radio station (he’s from Salem, Mass), where he described what this album really means before he dropped it. Right after, I downloaded the whole thing and listened to every song carefully and felt like I was getting to know a real person; he described how he didn’t write it to get famous, but to be honest and authentic with the world.


A couple months after he dropped the album, he released tour dates and I bought a VIP ticket within that hour. I didn’t even have a plan of who would come with me; I would’ve gone alone. I ended up going with a friend who didn’t really care about him; he just wanted to go to Boston. This was annoying because he didn’t have the same energy as me at the concert. This was okay, because I did my own thing, fit in with the rest of the crowd and had the best time of my life. I took lots of pictures and videos, danced, and rapped as much as I could with him. I was so happy. The energy there was high; people were screaming, jumping, and chanting. It was the exact kind of stand-up, close-to-the-stage concert I wanted.


One of the first songs I heard was called Exception. It was about a boy he went to school with who was bullied. In the song, he described how he befriended the kid, but admitted in a song in his new album that he had abandoned the kid and left him for the group of kids who had bullied him. In the music video, a kid played the character of the bullied kid named Andy. In the end, he came to the school with a pistol and shot the two kids who bullied him. At the concert, I bought a long-sleeved shirt and a bracelet from a guy at the merch table (I left the bracelet at the hotel and I’m still sad about it but at least I still have the shirt). I found out later in the concert when Token announced that the guy at the table selling the merch was his friend, and the guy who played Andy in the music video. That was another cool moment of the night for me.


After the concert, I stood in line to get a picture with Token. There wasn’t a lot of time to talk to him; it was supposed to be a quick picture and go, so I didn’t have time to tell him how much of an inspiration he is to me. However, a couple weeks prior, he had an Instagram story of him brushing his teeth with a caption of how excited he was for his show that night. Someone replied asking why he used so much toothpaste, and he put that on his story with a caption that said, “people who like to be clean.” I replied to that story with the Patrick Star quote, “A clean mouth is a happy mouth.” He put that on his story, and I was pumped. So right before we took our picture, we hugged, and I asked him if he remembered that and he said he did, so I told him it was me. It made him laugh, and he was giggling as we took our picture. It made my night and the next few days after, and it still makes me happy to think about. I hope I’ll be able to see him again one day and really tell him how much I appreciate him and his ambition, but for now I’ll continue listening to his music and supporting him as a huge fan and promoting him to others to give his music a shot and support his ambition to support his mother and live his dreams.



Nicole Ashe

U Maine '22

Nicole is a Vermonter who came to UMaine to experience a different area of New England. She studies business, with the hopes of becoming a manager one day with a side passion in writing, and hopes to one day become an author as well. She enjoys activities such as hiking mountains and skydiving.
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