Minneapolis artist, rapper, activist, and community leader Farr Well, aka Farrington Llewellyn, recently dropped a new EP, entitled Hard Pill to Swallow, on which he shares his experiences with gun violence, drug misuse, trauma, and mental illness.
Farr Well explains, “Hard Pill to Swallow is my new album but it’s also my new blog, podcast, and conversation series about things that are hard to accept. Coming to terms with my bipolar diagnosis in 2018, I’m opening the door for discussions around mental illness and generational trauma.”
In a world where the mention of mental illness puts people ill at ease, free and open discussion of the topic is more necessary than ever.
As Farr Well says, “This album is bigger than me; it has the potential to stimulate the conversation around mental illness and trauma in communities where it’s stigmatized. It’s a ‘hard pill to swallow’ but working through our hard life experiences is the path to healing and building resilience.”
In elementary school, Farr Well took part in freestyle battles with his peers. Later, when he was 15-years old, he got serious about his music career, recording mixtapes, performing at local venues, and touring. One thing led to another: Farr Well has shared the stage with Flo-Rida, Blood Raw, and Rakim, along with performing at the Hojoya Festival and Japan’s Alfie Jazz Roponggi.
In 2019, he released He’s Got a Gun, an album coming face-to-face with the problem of gun violence. His unreleased album, For My White Friends, takes on the subject of building real relationships in the middle of deep cultural tensions.
Encompassing six-tracks, the EP begins with “I Think,” featuring Marcus Kar. The song opens on a cool, undulating R&B melody topped by rap-lite flows. The rhythm is tight and potent, providing support for gleaming guitar accents and soulful vocals.
Highlights include “Bprr,” blending surging rock guitars with a deluxe hip-hop groove. Hints of surf-rock roll through the deliciously dirty guitar tones, while rapid-fire delivery infuses the rhymes with urgency.
“Living L(r)ight,” another track featuring Marcus Kar, rides smooth, velvety shimmers of retro textures, imbuing the tune with ‘60s soul and R&B savors. This is my personal favorite track on the EP because of its low-slung creamy momentum.
Musically, Hard Pill to Swallow is anything but hard to swallow, going down with ease on cashmere rapping flows and stellar rhythms.