“Hey kids, stop bullying people” would not have been the most effective lyrical approach for Vancouver hip-hop artist SonReal to take on a song in support of Telus's #EndBullying campaign for Anti-Bullying and Bullying Awareness Weeks (Nov 12 to 25).
Fortunately, the 33-year-old rapper born Aaron Hoffman didn’t have to compromise his art to work with such a large telecommunications corporation on an issue he finds important. "I've got thick skin but not as thick as they wanted," he begins "No More," drawing on his own experience, subjecting himself to public criticism each time he puts out a song or video.
"I ain't too cool to be affected by the hate in the comments / And now my problems gettin' big like Christopher Wallace / And I wanna fight back without resortin' to violence / Got a message from a girl, told me, 'Artists like you get me through a tough day when it's heavy at school'/ I replied, 'Don't you let up,' but replies mess my head up / Come to think about it, maybe I am just like you."
He’s proud of “No More,” recorded at Toronto’s Metalworks with producers Pops and Trevor Muzzy, and feels it will be part of his live set for years to come. It’s available on Spotify, Apple Music and all other streaming platforms, with a music video launching soon. A portion of the song profits will be donated by his label Black Box Recordings to the Telus Friendly Future Foundation to support the #EndBullying program.
TELUS will also give $1 to support #EndBullying programs with every Telus Wise Digital Pledge made at telus.com/endbullying. “#EndBullying builds on TELUS’ long-term commitment to making the digital world a friendlier place,” the press material states.
According to a report called Young Canadians’ Experiences With Electronic Bullying, paid for by Telus, 42 percent of Canadian youth are affected by it monthly.
Samaritanmag spoke with SonReal about partnering with Telus, creating the song, his own experience with cyber-bullies and the biggest bully of them all — Donald Trump.
Why do you feel a connection with this issue?
To be honest, I've probably written like three or four songs about this, but never actually got one that was strong enough for me to release to the world. Telus asked me to do – Continue reading Karen Bliss’s Q&A with SonReal on the SamaritanMag website.