Call Me Karizma, an independent alternative rapper from Minneapolis, is no stranger to mental illness.
On “PSA: Johnny”, he shares an intimate, harrowing, and galvanizing account of his own struggles with mental illness and the struggles of America’s youth. The 6-minute long PSA was done in partnership with NAMI, an organization which fights “stigma and encourages understanding,” as well as helping support federal legislation to put mental health therapists in schools.
It was important for Call Me Karizma to release this specific track. Not only does it add an additional way for his fans to connect with him, but it provides context to the following track, “Johnny.” “Johnny” is a track written from a school shooter’s POV, which without context could be taken poorly.
“As an artist I believe it’s my job to push the boundaries and say things most people won’t,” he says, and it’s important to really look at the issue of mental illness among our youth from all angles. This includes thinking of a school shooter as a person with mental health issues, who didn’t get the help they needed. I can imagine this POV isn’t entirely uncommon, but off the top of my head Amanda Palmer released “Strength Through Music” on the topic, with a video shot from a school shooter’s POV. It may feel taboo but it’s an important part of the conversation.
“Johnny” is not only intended to get you thinking, but it’s also for a good cause. As mentioned, Call Me Karizma choose to partner with NAMI. Any proceeds from the track go to support their mission to implement mental health education in schools.
“Johnny” and its corresponding PSA are off of Call Me Karizma’s newest EP “The Gloomy Tapes, Vol 1.” The 7-track EP is an aerial view of his mission to help and be a source of hope for teens and young adults who are suffering from depression and mental health issues. It feels right for a time when America can feel like a giant flaming piece of garbage and its young people feel powerless in controlling it. Call Me Karizma sees it his duty to make a connection with those people:
“My mission is simple: help people. I was put on this earth to create music that speaks to people who feel alone and unwanted. One day my songs will be heard by hundreds of millions of people, and hopefully save millions of lives. Until then, I will be making songs for the outcasts and lonely kids who need a friend.”
You can listen to the entire EP here: