Acclaim: AWKWORD’s Contentious Song/Video Throw Away The Key

Controversial and edgy: that’s what they want — and that’s EXACTLY what they got from AWKWORD in his latest video, for the critically acclaimed but slept-on #WorldView single “Throw Away The Key“, produced by L.Ment of Canada.

stop and frisk


Co-Signed by Chuck D of Public Enemy:

Quality music that deserves to be heard.

Co-Sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy The Hood.

World Premiered on RapGenius.


Released immediately on VIBE Magazine.

Also acclaimed and/or featured by leading American political and Hip Hop personalities, as well as sites such as MSNBC’s The Grio, Mr. Davey D’s HipHopAndPolitics, The House I Live In, FORBES Music Editor Zack O. Greenburg, The Urban Daily, HipHopDX, HotNewHipHop, Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes, DJ Bobby Trends, You Heard That New, The DJ Booth, Kevin Nottingham,, Sermon’s Domain, Byron Crawford, and The Hype Magazine; as well as top international sites including Spain‘s Versos Perfectos, Germany‘s I Still Love Her, Romania‘s Sunete Sub.Sol and Black Sheep Sound, the UK‘s Black-Budget and India‘s (Bold represents first time featured.)


Below you will find the official new AWKWORD video; free streams and downloads of the song; details on the critical response to the song and video; and AWKWORD’s response to that feedback. Enjoy. And be sure to scroll all the way down.




VIBE Magazine:

Rapper, activist and sociologist AWKWORD premiered his critically acclaimed and internationally recognized ‘Throw Away The Key’ video today (August 6) via RapGenius. The hard-hitting lyrics expose police violence, mass incarceration and other related topics of injustice and inequality in America.

MSNBC’s The Grio:

Ladies and gentlemen, the lines of the week:…

3. ”They say the darkest night comes before the brightest morning/I like to think I’d ask the right things if God was right before me/Like, why you let babies get shot while babies is killing?/All because the system that raised me from grade school made me the villain” — Vic Mensa, ‘Time Is Money’… Every once in a while, you come across a rhyme that can say in a few words what it would take most people a textbook’s worth of essays to get across. Here, Vic takes the effects of systemic racism and makes them immediately, shockingly personal… 2. ”Afraid you’ll get locked up, they’ll throw away the key/They’re free to move across the sea, you ain’t even free” — Awkword, ‘Throw Away the Key’ lyrics… In a similar but more international vein, Awkword takes on international capital here. The stark fact that capital can move around freely while so many people are imprisoned (or unable to go to their country of choice) is a terrifying and often forgotten fact of modern life, one that the rapper reminds us of here.

The DJ Booth (

With Toronto producer L. Ment laying down a pacing and bluesy beat AWK gets right to work with bars aimed at tearing the bars off America’s myriad of prisons: “Born into prisons, most ghetto buildings got bars / when you live without sh*t, go head and worship them cars.” Sometimes it really is bigger than hip-hop. For more music that’s not afraid to take a stand, keep an ear out for AWKWORD’s upcoming World View album, dropping via The DJBooth later this year.

The Hype Magazine:

One of the driving forces for my becoming a journalist was the ability to tell a story about things that matter, talking to people with a larger view of the world outside of themselves and sharing those stories with people who care. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the most impactful and globally active Hip Hop personalities in the game today, Awkword. He’s not only a true Hip Hop product, but he actively and aggressively addresses subjects that make a difference in our communities and societies, as people, no matter our geographical location.

Davey D’s Hip Hop And Politics:

An incredible song and video from NY based artist Awkword who gives us an up close and personal view of what Stop and Frisk is like.

The House I Live In:

Kevin Nottingham:

My man AWKWORD is back at it and this time gives us some powerful visuals for the just as powerful track “Throw Away The Key (On Police Violence, Prisons).” My man knows how to use his craft for the betterment of humanity and there is nothing wrong with that at all. After watching the video you can download the cut below and bang it at every peaceful rally you attend, ”Throw Away The Key (On Police Violence, Prisons)” should be on the soundtrack for those of us that want change.

More than a storyline, but a social message.

Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes:

Fight the powers that be.

The Sermon’s Domain:

Sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy The Hood, AWKWORD’s video for “Throw Away the Key” is a cry against the racial discrimination in America’s justice system. Highlighting everything from the windfall from privatized prisons to drug arrests, the visual depicts differences in police treatment based on class and race, and sneaks in an always-timely shot at Bill O’Reilly.

Byron Crawford:

This CAC is not down with 5-0.

Drew The Loon, NikkiSiixx:

I’m of the belief that if you have a certain amount of clout, if your voice carries some weight, you should use that power and say something worth hearing. The big homie out of NY takes that philosophy and runs with it. AWKWORD uses his platform to pointedly address glaring social issues that the common man glances over without a second though. ‘Throw Away The Key’ is a cry for a reform of a system riddled with corruption. It’s no secret that the American justice system is flawed; filling our prisons with nonviolent offenders and perpetrators of victim-less crimes. AWKWORD calls not just for a change in policy, but also a tear down and rebuilding of our prison and justice system. The video itself is a pretty cinematic experience; it’s easy to see the direction and message they wanted to put across visually. Sponsored by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the video spins the story of the unwarranted harassment of a regular guy based on his clothes or color of his skin. Never one to shy away from the issue at hand, AWKWORD boldly tackles the problems that other artists feel might ostracize them. How many white rappers out of New York are shouting for racial equality and prison reform? This video, along with the NYCLU sponsorship, shows how much clout and traction AWKWORD is gaining as a voice of the people, for the people. This one is dedicated to one man, Ron Armwood, and the victims of the system everywhere. Keep up the fight big homie, it’s only a matter of time before change comes.

nikkisiixx top post: awkword - throw away the key

The NQM:

They screamin’ fuck the po-lice on my block. Rapper AWKWORD addresses the strained issue of cop violence & mass incarceration in his new video premiered by RapGenius just a few days ago.

DOPE Music Blog:

Up-and-coming artist and activist, New York City’s AWKWORD continues to drop socially charged substance for the masses. His latest visual for a record entitled “Throw Away The Key” touches on police violence and corruption, New York’s asinine “Stop and Frisk” policy, overcrowding in prisons, private prisons, our weak educational system and more. Press play and gain a different understanding for things you once perceived as true. Start your day off with some substance.


NYC Emcee/activist/sociologist Awkword has a new video for his song Throw Away The Key (on Police Violence, Prisons)”, which is meant to inspire people to take a critical look at the entire law enforcement and criminal “justice” system and realize that it amounts to what he (and many, many others) describe as modern day slavery… The song comes from Awkword’s upcoming album World View, which comes out late 2013 and is supposed to be stacked with socially and culturally conscious content. 100% of the album’s proceeds will go to the charity Guns for Cameras (Aim to Live) and the album is sponsored by The DJ Booth and The Morgan Stanley Foundation. For World View, Awkword enlisted the services of some of today’s top beatsmiths, including NYC producers Harry Fraud, Numonic, and Domingo. Of course the contributions aren’t limited to instrumental side; KRS-One, Sean Price, Joell Ortiz, Ill Bill (Non Phixion/La Coka Nostra), Slug (Atmosphere), and Chino XL are among those to lend voices to Awkword’s cause . In total, the album features chip-ins from artists hailing from 20 countries spanning “every continent” (oh shiz… Antarctica’ too?!). According to official Awkword promo, the album is “designed to connect us worldwide through Hip Hop music & culture.” That definitely a lofty goal, but it’s one that Surreal Soundscapes supports absolutely and it’s absolutely worth striving for. It also seems like Awkword might be just the right dude for the job. In high school, he partnered with the Anti-Defamation league to create his school’s first annual Diversity Day and while pursuing his Sociology degree, he Launched Vassar College’s Prison Reform Group. Through the group he lobbied for reforms to New York State’s Rockefeller drug laws and volunteered at a variety of penal/rehabilitation institutions like Green Haven penitentiary. These are just a couple examples of the man’s mission-oriented works. Take a more in-depth look at his story and the interesting story of the remix contest that inspired the World View album via Awkword’s website. Though you may want to hold up a sec and check out the visual for another Awkword joint – “The People’s Champ” – we’re throwing in as a bonus. The subject matter is slightly less heavy, but the bars are far from light-weight.

Father Jah (Fatherama Knows Best – the ANTI-WACKNESS blog):

I’m glad SOME are not scard to speak TRUTH to POWER!!!!

Black-Budget (UK):

Big song! Keep up the good work.


Pretty crazy… AWKWORD drops some revolutionary shit about the cops.


Watch this powerful video.


Awkword, one of my personal favorite underground rappers, is back with some political food for thought. Questioning everything you know, both foreign and domestic, Awk runs rampant over a purist underground backdrop.


Loving what AWKWORD and his whole movement are doing right now. His latest set of visuals focus on police violence and prison control. Relax and Listen!


I appreciate Awkword’s consistency with his music and his activism on what is going on in this corrupt nation. For starters, we need to eliminate the unconstitutional stop & frisk laws in the City Of New York. Of course the fascist dictator in City Hall thinks Blacks and Latinos are not stopped enough. Watch the new visuals from Awkword titled “Throw Away The Key”. Kudos to Awkword!!

DJ Kurious Mind, HipHopNometry:



Socially and politically active artist, AWKWORD, doesn’t hold back on the part of the American system of inequality. Touches on plenty of issues like the private corporations making bank off of prisoners to the recent stop and frisk thing going on. Aside from that it’s a tight song in general, nice beats and bars. Share this.

Crazy Al Cayne:

#SpittinInDaWip alumni Awkword dropped a a dope socially conscious HipHop joint called “Throw Away The Key”!… Revolution Rap 4sho!


Learn something today.


Dope visuals.

Neubz (France):

A very good clip (and) the sound itself is very good and superbly illustrated.

Dobro Bad (Italy):

This my second article is dedicated to a great MC and my “web friend” … I’m very grateful to him because is the first artist that has allowed us to publish our covers for its tracks with the project “GoodIdea”. Thanks homie!!! His project as Activist commits him on the field with strong social themes, against the abuses of power. Max Respect!!!

Ryan Devereaux, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The Nation:

Good stuff, man. Just got a chance to listen.

Shonda Rhymes (Dr. Goddess), SiriusXM:

This is well done! Good work, Rap Genius, NYCLU and AWKWORD.

Raphael Travis Jr., #HipHopEd:

Hip Hop, Community & Change.

The Hip Hop Education Project:

Just screened your video, unanimous verdict: #weloveit.

Justice Committee (Watch The Cops):

Thanks, we received your submission & played it for the families.

The Bee Shine:

Great song you released to make change.

Tundé Junior (TUNE), DJ Bobby Trends:

Thank you brother.

Jimmy Beatz,

Thing is, we should be thankin’ you.

DISL Automatic:

Job well done brother. Keep fighting the good fight. BIG respect!


Yo shoutout my dude AWKWORD. That is a well needed song and video.

Frank Lopez, The Peace Poets, Verse Academy:

Feeling it man! #truthtelling #hiphop.

All Real Hip Hop:


Rhonda Renee, HipHop4Change:

If it were some Worldstar bullshit you would have 500,000 views already! People respond to ingnorance more than EMPOWERMENT.

Cynical Smith, Bucktown USA, Beatminerz Radio:

Dope… Thank you!


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While the response to AWKWORD’s “Throw Away The Key” video was certainly great overall, AWKWORD has expressed his displeasure with the video being “still slept on”, even calling out specific media outlets in a recent interview with Vick Slate and REUPSpot.

One could also point to the even greater success of the original “Throw Away The Key” song, which dropped more than a year ago, in July 2012.

AWKWORD Speaks with J. Hart (Big Bang Show) on Response to “Throw Away The Key” Video: