The first time I listened to August Alsina, it took me a while to make up my mind. I wasn’t sure whether his music was going to find itself on my iPod, until I realised what he was about, and promptly found his mixtape and then his album. The 21-year-old may be young and predominately a R&B singer-songwriter, yet he’s always distancing himself from negative stereotypes, as he continues to convey poetic grittiness and authenticity as he portrays his life, a rollercoaster backstory you’d usually associate with many rappers.
‘Benediction‘ is probably the New Orleans’s native’s most honest song from his debut offering ‘Testimony‘ which was released back in April to much acclaim. Featuring Rick Ross, the track tells August’s story about how the problems and heartbreak he encountered early in his life, including the shooting of his brother, and almost ending up in prison, but unlike his peers, August persevered to make something more of himself and left the “hood life,” as he likes to call it, to start afresh with something new.
“Started off in the streets, we would take collection from the fiends,” he sings, “People dying all around me, so I gave you my testimony,” he continues as he discusses how far he’s made it, and how his past has only made him stronger. The synopsis of the track continues to develop as the song progresses, with August discussing the death of his brother, and the stark but beautiful contrast that is his life now, compared to what it was back then. “Now I’m up in hotels on the ocean shore, when I was sleepin’ on the floor at the corner store,” he says.
The one thing I’m drawn to when I listen to music is honesty, and truth, and I feel as if August conveys just that in this five minute track. The video itself is set in a beige church and accompanying yard, enhanced by palm trees and greenery. Simple, but it does the job, as August goes from lighting candles in the church to basking by the swimming pool.
It’s been a successful year for the 21-year-old whose debut album hit number 2 on the US chart and the 10 on the UK chart respectively when released back in April. August also recently performed at the BET awards alongside both Trey Songz and Chris Brown, as well as unveiling plans to release a new single next month – featuring Nicki Minaj.
But in the mean time, why not check out the video for ‘Benediction’ below: