#MyTime to rap: setting an example through music

Rapper Awate talks about his experiences growing up, the challenges young people face today and pursuing his passion of making rap music.

True Stories

I’m Awate, and I’m 27 years old. I was born on the day the war ended in my country, Eritrea, but due to geopolitics, I was already living in Saudi Arabia. I make dope rap music with my producer, Turkish. Check out Shine Ancient EP and Happiness LP.

Young people are fearless

The best thing about being a young person is that you can get away with more! You can try hustling your way into places, and people don’t see you as a threat. If you’re polite, or can help in some way, people are more likely to let you stick around.

There aren’t enough opportunities for young people

You can’t ignore the lack of public funding at the moment. Everyone from individuals, to charities, to schools and youth programmes are all going for the same pots of money. Many of the places that helped me cultivate my craft as an artist are all long gone now.

I was unlawfully arrested 

Growing up my personal challenges have centred on being unlawfully arrested four times by the police, and the three prosecutions I experienced from them and the Crown Prosecution Service. This impacted my mental health, and even my outlook now – but at least they didn’t win, I feel good about that!

I also dropped out of university and was on the dole for a few years, and had annual knee injuries. That was a difficult time, but I managed to experiment with different sounds before settling on the stuff Turkish and I were making.

The Great Recession wasn’t so long ago…..

The biggest issue facing young people is the lack of respect, funding and opportunities. The economic downturn deferred most of the dreams of our generation. People who should be in management roles are now freelance or interns, and people who would have retired or started their own businesses are hanging onto their jobs.

I want to set an example through my music

Releasing my debut album has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done! It’s also the only thing I’ve ever worked for… it’s been a thirteen year journey, and to be honest, the birthday I just had was the first one I’ve felt absolutely zero pressure in terms of what I’ve achieved.

You can be from a council estate and do this. You don’t have to go to private school or the BRIT school. We are black and multifaceted – we just need representation.

#MyTime is a fantastic piece of work

The younger generation are even more switched on than mine – you can just see by their maturity and understanding in talking about the topics covered in this video.

Time is a luxury

It shouldn’t be this way, but it feels like it, especially with zero hour contracts, and the stress of having a line manager tapping you on your shoulder to go home for a week. This isn’t what we deserve!

If I could I would spend more time making more mistakes, and learning. I wouldn’t go to university aged 18, but wait and have a better idea of my place in the world before starting school again.

You will make it past the age of 25….

…so I would tell my younger self to save some money!

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Updated on 21-Jun-2018