It’s night time at Discontent City when a shabby-looking man wanders through the homeless encampment, sits on a curb and wonders, “How did I get so far gone?”
This is a scene from So Far Gone, a new music video by Nanaimo rapper Konfidential, real name Tyler Birch. Earlier this month the rapper visited Nanaimo’s Discontent City to capture appropriate visuals for a song that contemplates the struggles of addiction. The video has already racked up close to 40,000 views, but Birch isn’t surprised by the attention.
“Addiction and drug abuse, in general, it’s definitely not slowing down here and just because you don’t have a drug problem, you always know somebody that does or has lost their life recently,” Birch said.
“I feel like a lot of people can relate to that, so I had expected [the video] to do pretty well. I thought people would stand behind it for sure. I thought the way we did it was respectful, too.”
Birch said he asked residents for permission to shoot the video in the camp and was mindful of those who were uneasy with being filmed.
“A lot of them actually didn’t seem to have a drug or alcohol problem, the people we spoke to when we went there. Some of the other people that were using were a little bit more sketched out about cameras and that kind of thing, so we had to be careful what we were filming there,” he said, adding that although he was welcome, “everybody was on edge.”
“It was pretty intense in there. I wouldn’t want to be hanging out in there too long, that’s for sure.”
Birch said it’s been 10 years since he kicked his own addiction problems, and he wrote So Far Gone looking back on that period in his life. He said getting sober seemed impossible at the time.
“I was just as bad as some of the people down there [at Discontent City], living that lifestyle, but there always is a way out, no matter how hard,” he said.
“People might not see it, but if you want it, there is help there.”
In the video’s final scene the individual sneaks into a vacant lot, where he meets the rapper. Birch then takes the man under his arm and they leave together.
To view the video for So Far Gone, click here.
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