Ever feel like a tourist in your own city? How about a visitor in your own body?
Jason Ivy surely does, in his song Foreign released last month on his mother’s birthday.
“Foreign” uses its harmonic, summery, and upbeat feel to address the often downplayed topics of intersectionality, mortality rates in Chicago, and the feeling of being unwelcome in one’s own self-identified communities.
These topics would not be out of place in an academic setting like that of the University of Pennsylvania, where Ivy quite literally made a name for himself, adopting the Ivy League status of the school for his own style of profession — music.
Discussions of intersectionality can often be overwhelming, requiring the participant to split themselves into all the parts of their whole to parley in a revolving chamber of loaded gun topics. Ivy opens the song with a similar sentiment, coupled with the all-too-familiar fight or flight response for individuals under duress.
Too many rooms to belong in / Gather my thoughts and belongings
It is natural that one may want to flee, removing themselves from the conversation altogether, but this sort of behavior, while beneficial in the interim, forfeits one’s right to speech and will leave the defector displaced from a space that was once their own. This forfeiture is reflected in the chorus
Feeling so foreign / In my own city, the one I was born in
Feeling so foreign / Out of my body I was born in
This out of body experience leads Ivy to desire things that are just as foreign as he now believes he is, like the “foreign” women and “foreign” cars that comprise most hip hop and rap songs.
Got a new chick, she foreign / Got a new whip, she foreign
The repetition in this verse is a direct analogy to the number of songs on the market that sound like this today.
It's the same old song, it's boring
In place of further verbalizing the problematic issues plaguing the narrator, the second verse of “Foreign” transforms into a sarcastic take on modern pop music, highlighting topics that might serve as an escape from facing one’s problems head-on.
Leading right back into the same chorus, we find that those foreign escapades did not make the narrator feel any less foreign, and have, instead, exacerbated their psychological state.
The takeaway is from Foreign seems to be this. No matter how exhausting the fight for survival in a space that was made by you, but not necessarily for you, stay and engage while you can, or give up what you’ve worked so hard to create and be trapped in a state of “Otherness” and irrelevancy.
Listen to “Foreign” from the EP CØMPLIMENTS on Spotify now.
Follow on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mr_dalliance/