Farr Well is a hip hop artist who’s far from new to his own community in Minneapolis, where he’s helped put on charity music events such as the Collective Noise Meet & Greet Community Concerts and the Black Identity Series as well as over 200 performances. Soon to be based in Tokyo, Farr Well is continuing his community outreach work but now on a global scale. His new EP Hard Pill to Swallow is not just a devastatingly beautiful love song to his own diagnosis and struggle with mental illness but it will also be a groundbreaking digital television series that not only discusses and addresses that struggle but actively aims to get help to those struggling.
Hard Pill to Swallow as an EP combines chilled out trap, soul and jazz with Farr Well’s poignant, emotive and sometimes urgent lyrics. Inspired by his bipolar diagnosis and the painful journey leading up to it, Farr Well does an amazing job of explaining how such a struggle feels both with his words and his vocal timbre. Listeners can feel that inner turmoil as he describes the feelings one goes through when something just doesn’t feel right. Repeating over and over in “2/20”, for example, “I don’t know what’s going on but something’s wrong; it’s taking all I got just to hold on…with my head, in my brain and my heart tells me feel some type of way…” the strain in his voice is real and will likely illicit real feelings in listeners.
In the short 17-minute EP, Farr Well deals beautifully with many of the issues that come up when trying to deal with mental illness: self-medicating before getting a proper diagnosis in “Living L(r)ight,” symptoms, the problems with medication and events that may have triggered mental illness issues like the suicide of a mentor in “Think,” erratic behavior and a manic episode in “Bprr,” nostalgia for simpler times in “Wish I Was a Kid Again,” trying to heal, get stable and even succeed in a difficult environment in “Street Forecast.” The lyrics tap into so many aspects of mental illness, cultural barriers and trying to find oneself in the fray that truly anyone can relate to this EP.
As much as he may have struggled, Farr Well is still a force in trying to help the causes he believes in, and the journey of Hard Pill to Swallow doesn’t end with the EP. His community outreach work will now be concentrated online in his mental health awareness initiative of the same name. Currently fundraising for the project, he plans to have an online forum discussing different mental health topics as well as live panel discussions with trauma experts and mental health practitioners with the goal of normalizing the conversation around mental health and getting help to those who need it. It’s a lofty goal but the pursuit to understand mental illness and help those who struggle with it can use all the help it can get.
For more information about the Hard Pill to Swallow project or how to help, visit Farr Well’s website. Click here to listen to the full EP on multiple platforms. Check out Farr Well’s new video with Manny Phesto called “Questar.”