|Ben Goldberg, better known by his stage name Token, grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. Raised in a family with a great focus on music, he was introduced to hip hop at an early age. Token became intent on listening to Eminem, 2Pac, Ludacris, Jay-Z, and many other prominent hip-hop artists of the time. In 2005, as a first-grade student, music became something more to him than just a listening experience. As conflicts and struggles arose in his life, he began to express himself through poetry. As he became more prolific with his writing, it found form in hip-hop. After working on his craft for several years, he began releasing music on the internet. What started out as a hobby and outlet for his emotions began to define him as an MC. He dedicated himself to writing and recording everyday, improving his lyrical ability and rapping skills. Now a sophomore in high school, Token spends most of his free time writing, recording, mixing, editing videos, and networking. Combining tremendous talent, work ethic, discipline and passion for hip-hop, Token is determined to make his dreams come true.
CW Music got an opportunity to interview this young up and coming MC …
CW: How long have you been rapping and how did you get started in the first place?
I’ve been writing since first grade so about nine years. I’ve been recording since 5th. I was always a fan of Hip Hop since a really young age. I started writing to deal with stuff I was going through and as time went on, I started relying on it more to handle my emotions rather than lashing out. Over the years, it’s just meant more and more to me.
CW: Is there an artist you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity to work with?
There are tons of artists who I would like to work with. I have close friends who I haven’t even had a chance to work with so the list goes on and on. Hey! If you want to work with ME, get at me for a feature, SHUN!
CW: What is the best piece of advice in this business you’ve received thus far?
Work hard, work smart and stay humble.
CW: What Hip Hop albums did you grow up listening to? Where is your favorite place to perform?
My favorite albums when I just began listening to Hip Hop were Eminem Show, All Eyez on Me, Get Rich or Die Tryin’, Marshall Mathers LP, Red Light District. The list goes on, but those were some of the first albums I ever heard.
I performed only once in different types of venues, but I love going out of state to do shows. To see fans somewhere other than where I grew up is inspiring.
CW: Which emotion more than any other, currently dominates your music? Joy, sadness, anger or passion etc., and why?
In the past, probably anger just because I began writing to get rid of it. It’s still probably anger, but some of the tracks I’ve been working on lately haven’t been too influenced by that single emotion.
CW: What’s something that people do not know about you?
A lot of people assumed that I either dropped out of school or don’t care much about it. In fact, I for the most part maintain all A’s. School is important to me as well, you ignorant fool!
CW: In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Out of all your music you have made what songs you feel are your favorites?
I always have trouble answering this question. I like some of my songs for different reasons. From a technical aspect, I would say one of my Yelawolf remixes. My other favorite tracks have yet to be released.
CW: Tell me about an important issue you encountered recently.
This isn’t the biggest problem in the world, but I hate the way people look at hip hop. Hip hop began as a way to express yourself. The fact that many people think they have to be materialistic and arrogant in their lyrics to be big disgust me.
CW: Which famous song or sound production, ultimately describes what you’d like your music productions to sound like?
I strive to be the best me. I have no interest to be like anyone else.
CW: What other artists do you see as your primary inspirations?
Tupac, Hopsin, Eminen, Ludacris, and Jay-Z among many others.
CW: How many EPs, mixtapes, and albums do you have under your belt?
I just have one mixtape out now which I released about a year ago. It’s called the Mindstate.
CW: What’s your favorite thing to do when you aren’t rapping?
CW: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Salem Massachusetts. Now I live with my mom in a small town called Marblehead. My dad still lives in Salem.
CW: How do you separate yourself from others?
Dedication and knowing what to work at. In my mind, both are needed to be successful.
CW: What schools did you attend?
I went to a Jewish school until I moved to Marblehead, then went to the public schools.
CW: Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
I’m featured on a few albums that aren’t yet released. I can’t speak about them now, but I was honored to be a part of some of these.
CW: What can we expect from you in 2015?
A lot of music videos, features, shows and at least one project.
CW: Tell us something about any projects and ideas you have in store or are already working on?
We haven’t yet chosen the direct route we want to go on for my project. We have a couple offers, but right now, I’m working on singles for the most part.
CW: In closing, is there anybody you want to shout out?
Shout out to all of my family in Glasshouse Productions and of course the fans. I owe everything to you guys.
Check out Token’s music here