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Hip-Hop Prevents Suicide

Hip-Hop Prevents Suicide

Hip-Hop Prevents Suicide

Friday.Oct.02.2020
Survival Kit Neon Cassette UV Light Blacklight
 

A Broken-Hearted Collective

 

One year ago today, I released a rap video on Facebook about depression and suicide prevention. It was an extremely emotional moment for me that my friend happened to catch on camera. The lyrics are about the depression I’ve experienced, thoughts of suicide, and how I keep going forward.

 

Since then, miracles started happening.

 

MIRACLE #1:   That video reached over 10 million people and has been shared  142 thousand times.  There are over   4,000 comments,  many people tag their friends to bridge the gap for an important conversation they want to have about their own struggles. Others are publicly sharing their pain, taking the risk to put themselves out there like I did.
 

MIRACLE #2:    A shocking amount of people said the video talked them off the ledge and saved their life. 
 

MIRACLE #3:  A “Broken Hearted Collective” was formed. I use quotes because those are the words from one of the fan comments that really got me (see below). The video’s Facebook comment feed became the  safe space  some people needed. They feel understood from the video, I reply to their comments and messages, and so do strangers from all around the world. I never knew there were so many people in pain like me, or that there was so much help.

 

 

A Life-Saving Survival Kit

 

Since that day, I have devoted my time and energy to a special project for that Broken Hearted Collective. It’s called Survival Kit.  

First, I recorded the rap into a full song, produced by 14Trak, along with 6 other songs that help me get through rough days. Give the “Survival Kit” EP a listen in the music player at the bottom!  

Second, I created an actual Survival Kit for my fans. It contains:

• All 7 songs from the “Survival Kit” EP along with videos
• A floatable SOS keychain
• A sticker
• A Survival Card  containing emergency contact hotlines and a mental health checklist.

Available on CD or Flashtape. Never seen a Flashtape before? It’s a USB drive in the shape of a cassette tape (see below). That’s how I make sure my fans get videos and other cool content. I put a copy of that Facebook video on there, just incase it helps someone in an emergency when they don’t have WiFi to go on Facebook.

I.T. Official Branded Flashdrive Product Shot

 

A Free Virtual Music Experience

 

I wanted to create a way for people to experience the tape Survival Kit for free, from any device.

My answer to that inspiration was to create a Survival Kit Virtual Music Experience.

I send my subscribers links to 4 experience pages over 4 days. There, they can download the music for free, watch behind the scenes videos, play games, win prizes, and more. I wanted people to be able to take a moment to themselves and get present to what’s important to them.

The experience will be available on October 10th for World Mental Health Day 2020.

 

If You’re Reading This…

 

If you’ve ever felt like this, you’re not alone in what you’re feeling, and you don’t have to be alone going through it. If you’re one of the strong ones, check in on your friends and family. Let them know you’re a safe space and that they could talk to you about anything and you’d still love them.  Sometimes we just need to hear that. I’m going to keep making myself vulnerable in my music. Because there’s people who desperately need that.

If you’re reading this, I could use your help too. If you know someone who could benefit from this message and this music, please contact me [itofficialchannel@gmail.com].

Stay up!

Travis Meade
– I.T. Official

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I’m Trapped in My Life… Get Me Out!

I’m Trapped in My Life… Get Me Out!

I’m Trapped in My Life… Get Me Out!

Sunday.Jun.21.2020

 

A Shared Struggle

 

I’ve had the unique privilege of connecting with millions of people worldwide over the topic of suicide prevention after a video of mine went viral on Facebook, and I see from all the comments and messages that mental illness is a silent killer. Countless people quietly suffer, trying to be strong for their family and friends, afraid to talk about their pain. Somewhere out there, a single mother of 3 feels like a failure and is struggling to hold it together. A teenager feels unloved and insignificant in this huge world. A war veteran struggles to re-assimilate to every-day life. Depression does not discriminate, and it can be hard to pick ourselves up sometimes.

 

Infinite T See Something Say Something EP Album Art

 

“Okay Fine… HELP!”

 

I don’t like help. Who needs help? I’m a grown ass man. I got this shit. I can handle my feelings. Matter of fact, what feelings? I’m a rock. I’m a boulder…

 

…A boulder sliding backwards down the side of a mountain.

 

Why is mental health associated with weakness instead of power? The stigma attached to a therapist is enough to drive people away. Before I experienced it for myself, when someone would say they see a therapist, the first question that naturally comes to my mind is, “Why?” Then I’d start considering, “is this person unstable? Are they crazy? Did a judge order them to go see a therapist?” I had no positive reference as to why someone could see a therapist without being certified crazy first. I never knew how much I would benefit from having a safe space, too.

 

A Safe Space

 

Imagine a place where you can speak your soul and be heard without any judgement or chance of it coming back to bite you. A place where you can vent your true feelings about about your boss, about your husband or wife, even about your kids. Think of all the things you feel inside that you wanted to say but couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t say. Imagine a place where it’s okay to feel those things for a while and eventually you can relieve that pain and return to your life refreshed.

 

For me, half of the value of going to therapy is having a safe space. I had pretty cool friends and a pretty supportive family, it’s not like I felt unsafe around them. But sometimes they were the ones frustrating me and I needed to go somewhere else. Sometimes I needed to talk about something personal, something that might make my friends or family look at me differently if I brought it up. Sometimes I needed more help than my people were able to give me. Either way, I was able to dump my stress with a therapist, process my emotions, and come back to my life with a new perspective. The people in my life were less affected by my negativity; for a while, no one even knew I was seeing a therapist, but they reaped the benefits of a happier me.

 

Part of my goal with this article is to help create a safe space for important conversations about our mental health. I believe it would benefit everyone if we talked openly about mental health, but the stigma often drives away the conversation. Many people feel the world is still not a safe space for that kind of vulnerability, that it can cause more harm than good. Maybe they’re right, but my experience has been different. Despite the risk of sharing my feelings, my life depends on it.

 

 

Where to Start

 

Calling your Local Warm Line could be a great place to begin the search for a safe place. This is a local resource for mental health needs. They can spend time on the phone and help you cope, even if it’s not an emergency. (The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also available for emergencies at 1-800-273-8255). The Warm Line itself could even become a safe place for some people. Help is more accessible and affordable than some might think, and there are many options available depending on your needs. Click here to download my Mental Health Checklist with a list of contacts for mental health needs.

 

Here’s to us all finding a safe place and keeping it sacred.

Infinite T This is I.T. Album Artwork

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Don’t Buy My CD

Don’t Buy My CD

Don’t Buy My CD

Wednesday.Jun.10.2020
Survival Kit Neon Cassette UV Light Blacklight

 

Seriously… WHY Buy a CD?

 

I’m so amped to share this with you. I honestly haven’t seen another artist do something like this before with their music. Selling it on USB flashdrives?

 

Yeah, it might sound crazy, but hear me out. Why buy a CD in 2020? If you still have a CD player then that’s awesome, I made CD’s just for you. But in the era of streaming and Bluetooth, is a CD really a valuable item? All it does is play the artist’s music (until you hit a pothole on the road) and take up space. You can’t even reuse the CD if you needed to! The songs are permanently pressed on there. And what does the case do? Other than sporting the cover art, it just protects the CD and take up more space. Nowadays, people seem to buy CD’s moreso as commemorative items to support their favorite artists, or because they like the nostalgia of a time in music when CD’s were king. But we all know CD’s are not the easiest way to listen to music in 2020.

 

 

My Music, Where I Want It

 

Personally, I like my music DIGITAL, at my FINGERTIPS, and in the place I like to keep music (which changes sometimes). I like to be able to snatch a song from anywhere in the universe and add it to my personal pocket playlist. Real quick. Need dat speed dat. If you listen to music on streaming platforms like Spotify, or Apple Music, or Tidal, you can add Survival Kit to your favorite songs with one tap and access it again at any time.

 

But what about video? That’s like, at least half the experience of hip-hop music! I listen to music on Youtube a lot because I like to play the video at the same time. iTunes and other music libraries can store and sync videos and all that to your smart devices, too. As for CD’s… well, there’s no shot of CD’s playing a music video anytime soon (you need a DVD and a screen for that).

 

I.T. Official Branded Flashdrive Product Shot

 

The Immortal Flashdrive

 

That’s what got me thinking about USB flash drives. There’s so many types of cool content that can be put on USB: songs, videos, pictures, text notes, even URL links. I felt like I could give my listeners a way doper and more flexible experience that way. Think about it, you can do WHATEVER you want with the Survival Kit content once I give you the files. You can add the music, artwork, and the videos to your music library of choice, sync that on all your devices, and boom. Now you can play Survival Kit anywhere in the world, no need for internet connection or cellular data. That means you can even play it in airplane mode! And when you land, you can email your favorite track to your best friend. Then hop in the Uber and Bluetooth it through the car speakers.

 

It gets better. Ready for the kicker?

 

YOU CAN RE-USE THE USB FLASH DRIVE.

 

Just dump the files off of the USB onto a computer to clear the USB, and boom. Now you can store whatever you want on it. Way more useful than a CD, right? And smaller too. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you wouldn’t throw away a perfectly usable flash drive, would you?

 

How about if it looked like this?

 

Survival Kit Flashtape Product Shot

 

Flashtapes?

 

I call it a Flashtape. Like the original cassette mixtape, but in USB flash drive form. The USB swivels 90˙ to fit easily in any port. The Flashtape even has room for custom artwork like cassettes used to.

 

This is the typical conversation after I show someone a Flashtape:

 

Them: “Woah, I’ve never seen that before. It’s like a cassette tape, but it’s a USB.”

Me: “Pretty cool right?”

Them: “Yeah! So the music is on the flashdrive then?”

Me: “Yep. Videos too.”

Them: “Wow. Does the cassette actually play in a cassette player?”

Me: “No, do not try it.”

Them: “Ohh… that’s still cool though.”

Me: “Yeah, and you can take the files off the flash drive and use it for storage.”

Them: (pauses)…. “Bro… that’s actually dope as hell. I would actually use this.”

 

 

A Way Cooler Music Experience

 

I know buying music on a USB is new and uncommon. It’s risky but I’m going with my gut feeling and the honest reactions I’ve gotten from my fans. I feel good about it in the long run. USB flash drives have been around forever. They’re becoming like fossils as people collect them in their computer bags over time. But people don’t throw them out, and they’re not going anywhere. Most vehicles made after the year 2012 have at least one USB port in the car (yes, that’s where your cigarette lighter went). If you plug a Survival Kit USB into that port, the music will start playing just like a CD. Even the audio from the attached videos will play through your speakers, but without a screen there will be no visual, of course. (good, keep your eyes on the road!)

 

The industry believes that since the emergence of streaming platforms, people don’t care to own physical copies of music anymore. But in my opinion, they’re wrong. This is what I believe: people don’t care to own physical CD’s or other useless clutter. Can you blame them? I’d rather rip the music off the CD onto my computer and toss the whole package. $10-20 basically halfway trashed. If you ask me, you deserve more for your money and space. So in theory, I believe if artists can deliver a variety of great content on a useful device, more people would care to own a physical copy.

 

So that’s what you get when you order a Survival Kit. Each kit comes with a reusable USB flash drive containing a variety of content you get to keep. Because I believe you actually want that.

 

Don’t prove me wrong =]

 

 

I.T. - "This is IT" Single Artwork

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You Are Not Alone.

You Are Not Alone.

You Are Not Alone.

Wednesday.Jun.10.2020
 

A Shared Struggle

 

I’ve had the unique privilege of connecting with millions of people worldwide over the topic of suicide prevention after a video of mine went viral on Facebook, and I see from all the comments and messages that mental illness is a silent killer. Countless people quietly suffer, trying to be strong for their family and friends, afraid to talk about their pain. Somewhere out there, a single mother of 3 feels like a failure and is struggling to hold it together. A teenager feels unloved and insignificant in this huge world. A war veteran struggles to re-assimilate to every-day life. Depression does not discriminate, and it can be hard to pick ourselves up sometimes.

 

Infinite T See Something Say Something EP Album Art
 

“Okay Fine… HELP!”

 

I don’t like help. Who needs help? I’m a grown ass man. I got this shit. I can handle my feelings. Matter of fact, what feelings? I’m a rock. I’m a boulder…

 

…A boulder sliding backwards down the side of a mountain.

 

Why is mental health associated with weakness instead of power? The stigma attached to a therapist is enough to drive people away. Before I experienced it for myself, when someone would say they see a therapist, the first question that naturally comes to my mind is, “Why?” Then I’d start considering, “is this person unstable? Are they crazy? Did a judge order them to go see a therapist?” I had no positive reference as to why someone could see a therapist without being certified crazy first. I never knew how much I would benefit from having a safe space, too.

 

A Safe Space

 

Imagine a place where you can speak your soul and be heard without any judgement or chance of it coming back to bite you. A place where you can vent your true feelings about about your boss, about your husband or wife, even about your kids. Think of all the things you feel inside that you wanted to say but couldn’t, wouldn’t, or shouldn’t say. Imagine a place where it’s okay to feel those things for a while and eventually you can relieve that pain and return to your life refreshed.

 

For me, half of the value of going to therapy is having a safe space. I had pretty cool friends and a pretty supportive family, it’s not like I felt unsafe around them. But sometimes they were the ones frustrating me and I needed to go somewhere else. Sometimes I needed to talk about something personal, something that might make my friends or family look at me differently if I brought it up. Sometimes I needed more help than my people were able to give me. Either way, I was able to dump my stress with a therapist, process my emotions, and come back to my life with a new perspective. The people in my life were less affected by my negativity; for a while, no one even knew I was seeing a therapist, but they reaped the benefits of a happier me.

 

Part of my goal with this article is to help create a safe space for important conversations about our mental health. I believe it would benefit everyone if we talked openly about mental health, but the stigma often drives away the conversation. Many people feel the world is still not a safe space for that kind of vulnerability, that it can cause more harm than good. Maybe they’re right, but my experience has been different. Despite the risk of sharing my feelings, my life depends on it.

 

 

Where to Start

 

Calling your Local Warm Line could be a great place to begin the search for a safe place. This is a local resource for mental health needs. They can spend time on the phone and help you cope, even if it’s not an emergency. (The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is also available for emergencies at 1-800-273-8255). The Warm Line itself could even become a safe place for some people. Help is more accessible and affordable than some might think, and there are many options available depending on your needs. Click here to download my Mental Health Checklist with a list of contacts for mental health needs.

 

Here’s to us all finding a safe place and keeping it sacred.

Infinite T This is I.T. Album Artwork

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I.T. Official- the Story Behind the Name

I.T. Official- the Story Behind the Name

I.T. Official- the Story Behind the Name

Monday.Jun.08.2020

 

Name That Rapper

 

My name is I.T. Official, and as of February 18th 2020, that’s official.

Check out my fully updated catalog on Spotify.

Or, if you prefer, listen on Apple Music.

It’s hard to believe I arrived here after 5 name changes since my first rap name at 10 years old, TNT. But I’ve grown as an artist, I’ve outgrown names, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and about this music game in the process.

To clear it up real quick, here’s the deal:

I started rapping at 10 years old under the name “TNT”. I thought I was dynamite, explosive… whatever, you get it.

At 16 years old I was heavily influenced by battle rap culture, and I started rhyming like I was trying to “take someone’s head off.” My cousin called me the Gillateen, and that started becoming my nickname around the barber shop. So I added it to my name, and I went by “TNT da Gillateen”. When I was 18, I dropped the “TNT” and just rocked with “Gillateen” for the next 5 years or so.

Around that time though, I was really figuring out what kind of life I wanted for myself, what kind of music career. I asked myself, “What do I want to be known for?” My answer at that time was, “making timeless hip-hop music.” I realized Gillateen no longer described what I was rhyming about or why.

 

 

“Gillateen” No More

 

I sat in my car for 4 hours the night I decided to (literally) drop the “Gillateen”… I needed to think of a new name IMMEDIATELY. And claim it on every platform I could with the same username. Website domain too. Then most importantly, I had to wake up with it the next morning and try it on, make sure it fits. If the name didn’t feel right, it was back to the drawing board. I scanned the dictionary and punned my way into a name that said “timeless” with my own personal touch: “Infinite T.”

I said it out loud. Fast and slow. I tried rhyming words with it to see how it sounded in a rap. I wrote it out like a signature on a piece of paper. I pictured it in lights. I liked it. I told the homies, and it grew on them, too.

 

Infinite T See Something Say Something EP Album Art

 

“Infinite T”…

 

In 2016 I dropped my first single as Infinite T called “Bass Sick,” followed by 4 song EP called “See Something Say Something” later that same year. I was amped to see what people would think about the name. And…

Well, good news and bad news.

Good news: a lot of people who heard my music, or saw the visuals were impressed with the work. People wanted to hear more from me! “Where can I find your music man?”

Bad news: NO ONE could find me, pronounce my name right, or spell it correctly. I mean it. I can’t tell you how many shows I performed at where the host said some B.S. like, “let’s give it up for Infinity! Infinity T everybody!” It didn’t matter how he pronounced it anyway, because they already had me listed as “Infant-T” on the flyer.

I wanted to snap. =D

But there’s always a more creative answer…

I decided to shorten Infinite T so no one can misspell it. Call me “I.T.”

 

Infinite T This is I.T. Album Artwork

 

This is IT

 

So in 2017, I got slick and dropped 10 song album under the name Infinite T, but I called the album “This is I.T.” I wanted my listeners to get used to identifying me as both Infinite T and I.T. for short. To make it clear that they’re the same person, the cover is a picture of me (with short hair!)

The name I.T. was catching on. People told me I.T. reminded them of information technology, so it felt smart and techy. Works for me.

Then a bunch of people started called me “it”..

At that point, part of me was like, “SH*T! I can’t find a name that only has one clear pronunciation? How the hell did people find Tekashi 6ix9ine on a Google search before he was big?!”

But I tried to look at the bright side. “IT” actually sounded like a compliment, and who am I to refuse that? So I flipped it and started saying,

“Call me I.T. that’s common sense/ but if you call me IT that’s a compliment”

At least people started spelling my name right.

…I know what you’re thinking.

 

“But wait, IT is a clown!”

 

Watch your mouth.

 

I.T. - "This is IT" Single Artwork

 

Just call me “I.T.”

 

I’m playin. Yeah, IT is a famous clown movie originally directed by Stephen King in 1990. The dope part is they decided to revamp the movie and release a new, horrifying version in 2017 that got everyone talking and thinking IT. If you’ve seen my official “This is IT” music video you know I’m a big fan.

So I made sure to grab an official looking “I.T.” handle on every platform I could.

Instagram: @itofficial

www.itofficialchannel.com

Youtube: “I.T. Official Channel”

www.Facebook.com/itofficialchannel

Soundcloud “I.T. Official”

www.Linkedin.com/in/itofficial

Snapchat @itofficialsnap

TikTok @itofficial

Email: itofficialchannel@gmail.com

I’m still @infinite_t_ on Twitter… (hey @itofficial answer my DM’s and give that username to it’s rightful owner lol!)

Then in 2017 I dropped a 10 song album called “Push That Button,” a collection of sapiosexual drippy tunes to solidify my identity as I.T. ….at least for now.

The only ones who couldn’t solidify my identity at the time was the online streaming platforms like Spotify, iTunes, and the like. They said “Infinite T” and “I.T.” are two totally different artists, with two different profiles. So I was forced to begin a new catalog under “I.T.” where I’ve released a bunch of music. But Infinite T is still out there somewhere

But BRUH…

 

 

 

“I.T. Official, dots in the initials”

 

Here’s the kicker. People quickly started calling me I.T. Official instead of just I.T because that’s my username and I can’t do anything right. But I like that sh*t so I decided I’m keeping it. DJ Jam the Official DJ of the West Coast spun my record on JAM N’ 95.7 FM and he called me I.T. Official so I guess there’s no turning back now.

I just had to find a way to get my I.T. catalog moved over to I.T. Official without a hassle. Turns out my current distributor at the time was unable to transfer my catalog. I either had to start a new catalog for I.T. Official, or find a new distributor.

So I hit up United Masters to see if they could help. I heard good things about them from some fellow artists I admire. UM advised that they could help me update my artist name on my existing catalog and helped me transfer my existing catalog to United Masters. They also explained how I could keep my stream counts. I just had to keep my album artwork the same, so you might see “I.T.” on the picture and “I.T. Official” as the artist for some of my past releases. Many thanks to United Masters.

Now that all the organizational stuff is out the way, I can get back to dropping this new music.

P.S. My apologies to any of my fans who had issues finding my music online in the past. I’m committed to changing that.

 

 

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