“Running” almost didn’t even make the album. I had went through so many variations of the hook on the song, I was like, "You know what, I don’t even wanna mess with this song no more." Then me and my engineer Devon, we went up to Malibu. We literally packed the studio setup in his car, went to the top of Malibu, recorded the song and got it down packed and was like, "Yo, this is it," and we played it a hundred times. That was it, that was all she wrote. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it.
"Running" grounds everything on my “Save Yourself” album because it’s about like just being comfortable, running away from change, being comfortable and being stagnant. Something gotta give. I was telling myself, "I gotta change this shit up." That’s where it really came from. A lot of people are just comfortable where they’re at. I’m just like, "Damn, I’m realizing my potential, I need to do something with myself. I’m going through all of this shit, but I’m not doing nothing to change my circumstance. I’m falling to some things that aren’t conducive to my growth."
That’s why on the song, I say, "I’m lost, no hope, I floss, I’m broke," going out and buying chains and pretending to have it even though really I don’t have it. Just falling victim to that. People might not admit it, but at the end of the day, we’re all guilty of trying to impress people or doing things trying to impress people, going out and getting shoes, even though you may not have it. It’s really about just realizing, damn, I’m better than that. Even though I fall subject to it or I fall victim to it and I’m subject to it sometimes, it’s like yo, I’m better than that. But at the end of the day, I also get it because we’re all human. We all want to be accepted. We all want the validation. But it’s like how far are you going to go to be accepted? No, go out and actually get it instead of pretending to have it.
If you look around, even in music, that’s what music is all about, that’s what a lot of rappers are all about, flossing and trying to make it look like they got it, when in actuality, they broke. Your mom is still in the hood, they not taking care of they family. It’s bigger than just trying to impress people. We all wanna feel loved and feel accepted, but to what extent? How far are you willing to go to do that? You fuckin off your priorities. You ain’t got no gas in your tank, but you’re going to the club. We’ve all been in that situation and we all fall or have been victim to just trying to impress people.
On "Save Yourself," there’s a theme of people playing dice whether it's the picture on the back cover or the skits on different songs and that goes with the thought of me being at a standstill. It’s like a setting. I’m in the neighborhood and I’m doing the same thing that I’ve always done, but at the same time, I want more for myself. I don’t wanna go through the motions of like doing the same thing every day and not being able to explore the world or see what’s out there in the world and being stuck to the four-block radius. Because a lot of people that I came up with, they don’t even know how to get to Santa Monica. So “Running” is kinda like breaking the curse, me looking for a way out. I’m trying to get out, trying to figure it out.
They say idle time is the devil’s playground and a lot of people, that’s all they know, kicking it, being on the block, doing x, y, z and their answer for that is going out and putting their freedom in jeopardy. Several different things on top of that. A lot of people’s escape is going out and popping a pill and getting turnt up. No shade or anything like that to people that have different vices that they use to escape, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding a healthy way to cope with what you’re going through and a healthy way to not only cope with what you’re going through, but really finding a different way through whatever it is that you may be going through and to really get inspired and to rise up and do something with yourself.
I've had to find that healthy escape for myself plenty of times. Some of the different events in my personal life I mention on “Running,” including my friend’s death and my father’s illness, were moments where it was kinda like you either break down or rise to the occasion. There’s a saying, "Your success is determined by the depth of your struggle." So it’s kinda like you either use things as fuel or they just break you down. I think for me, it was really just deciding or coming to the decision to like allow my circumstances and the things I was going through to inspire and motivate these stories because there’s somebody else out there that’s going through the same thing. It’s always about helping other people out as well as helping myself out because it’s also therapeutic for me to get it out and it’s therapeutic for others in me getting it out, them receiving it and then it helping them.
Getting to meet all different types of people through music, not only meeting people through music, but the people that listen to my music and being able to touch people of all nationalities, different creeds and colors of people, it’s really broadened my horizons beyond the Crenshaw District to see how different it is in the world. Just coming from where I come from and seeing all different types of people that my music has touched and that all goes back to just really tapping into the human emotion and just being able to relate to everybody. But the world is much broader than that four-block radius. That’s what music has allowed me to realize and music was the gateway for that.
Being a musician, I feel like it’s my due diligence to help people get through stuff. This album is about salvation. I feel like my purpose on earth is to help people and to bring people closer to the light whatever that may be. Not everybody believes in the same thing, but if you have a healthy escape, I feel like my purpose here and my due diligence is to help people find whatever that healthy escape is.
The music doesn’t really have a time stamp on it. It’s applicable to several different situations, from Kobe Bryant, to Nipsey Hussle, most of the music was created before these people passed. I created the theme of the album, or just the name, when Mac Miller passed in 2018 and it just kind of echoes into it not really having an expiration date on it because as time goes on and as different things happen, I’m gonna be able to apply it to my life and people are going to be able to apply it to their lives. That’s what really comes with making music again that taps into the human emotion. That doesn’t have an expiration date on it. We’re always going to feel different things and go through things and look for ways to go through those things. That’s why I write and talk about some of the stuff that I talk about because you can always go back to it and it’s going to apply.
Besides those significant deaths affecting me, the true inspiration was the people that I grew up with and seeing the stuff that I saw and wondering if somebody could see somebody from their neighborhood be successful and it didn’t motivate them to want more for themselves. Before, some people saw it as, "Oh, he made it, blah, blah, blah." And they just went on about their lives. The goal is to break the curse.
Listen to "Save Yourself" below.