Ever heard the saying “real men don’t cry”? It’s sayings like these that contribute to a problem that’s overlooked a lot, toxic masculinity. While it would be easy to get a guy the same way you’d order your Frappuccino at Starbucks (“May I have a tall, handsome, and masculine man, hold the toxicity?”), the men in our world are pressured to live by “real” men standards – be stoic, dominant, aggressive, demoralizing to those who aren’t heterosexual, promiscuous, etc.
New York-based rapper Trav B Ryan successfully illustrates toxic masculinity for those who don’t understand through his beats and soul-piercing bars in his single “No Home.”
Through Ryan’s raspy vocals, tight beat, and infectious hook, the song effortlessly seizes the listener’s interest, entangling them in the intense lyrics.
“Just tell them I had my armor, don’t tell them my soul is cloth.” These lyrics speak volumes about how big of a problem toxic masculinity is. Many people want to be seen as heroes and nothing weak, especially some men in which they’d rather hide their emotions to refrain from being seen as “soft” than embrace the sensitive side that makes them human, even during hard times. Vulnerability means weakness in many of our minds, and that’s a toxic mindset that our world has adopted.
The title is the most gut-punching thing about this piece. Independent people are seen as strong because they don’t depend on anyone to provide them with anything. A home provides shelter and comfort; it’s a place where you feel safe. Ironically, some say that it isn’t the house that makes it a home, but the people. “No Home” doesn’t necessarily mean homeless physically but somewhat emotionally and mentally. Many people (especially men) feel as though they shouldn’t depend on other people for comfort and security, causing them to rely on themselves – talk about loneliness.
Unfortunately, bottling up those emotions and thoughts will eventually lead to an explosion. Being vulnerable is okay. In fact, it’s sexy!
Standing ovation for Ryan creating a bop where people can vibe with the beat while listening and understanding the meaning. It’s definitely a tune that everyone needs to listen to. Ryan is an excellent and highly handsome artist headed towards greatness.
Written by Taylor Berry
Q&A with Trav B Ryan
Q: “No Home” goes deep! What inspired you to write it and how personal are the lyrics to you?
TRAV: Actually my favorite show “The Mandalorian” inspired the song. The main character in the show put his beliefs aside and followed his heart. Which is what the song is about. Letting go of what you know and becoming your own person. It’s very personal to me because I have been known to be that same way. Growing up in the hood could have easily consumed me but I followed my own path and now I’m here. Exactly where I want to be. Sometimes you got to let go of certain friends and family to be a better you also.
Q: What’s your favorite lyric in the song?
TRAV: Definitely the lines about me falling from grace and insisting that my story be told as a hero. “I died in war” instead of someone that had a change of heart. I wanted to touch on toxic masculinity and perception in today’s society. Even in our most vulnerable moments we still want people to remember us as strong. Even though being weak at times is perfectly ok and perfectly human.
Q: I love how you address vulnerability and toxic masculinity in this track. Do you think music is one of the most effective ways to address serious matters?
TRAV: I think music is definitely one of the best ways to speak on serious matters. It’s the greatest form of expression, so when we use it that right way, it can be extremely powerful.
Q: Tell me about the single’s cover and how it coincides with the song.
TRAV: There are a lot of alternate covers for the song but the main one is a picture of the woods at night. I wanted to show beauty in the unknown. The forest is a beautiful place but can be scary. Just like life. Just like risks. You have to take the good with the bad when you are becoming the person you were meant to be. Which is whoever you want to be.
Q: Did you have a particular audience in mind when writing “No Home.”
TRAV: No particular audience at all. I feel like anyone from any age group or background can enjoy it and relate to it. Everyone has a moment in their life where they want to break free of the any chains that’s holding them and become their own person. That’s the beauty of this song.
Q: What do you want people to take from the song?
TRAV: I want people to know that it is ok to be you. It is ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to care about something you are “not suppose to”. It’s ok to be someone you are “not suppose to be”. It’s ok to be mentally homeless while you build your mental dream home. It’s ok to be not ok.
Q: Who are your biggest influences?
TRAV: Real life people. Society. My family. My friends. Me. Whatever is real, I take from that and put it out in my music.
Q: What do you have in store for your listeners in the future?
TRAV: I have a lot more songs with heavy content matter coming out this year. I can’t wait to share it with you guys.