Indie Spotlight

Baltimore Ravens Darren Waller ( @whereswallthoo ) releases single Better Call Wall after NFL suspension

Baltimore Ravens Darren Waller ( @whereswallthoo ) releases single Better Call Wall after NFL suspension

By Gigi Capone – I grew up in the golden era of football where the 49ers ruled the universe and if you liked any other team, it was probably a loosing team. The memories of boozy breathed grown men having play by play coke rages, and the smell of Skunk Bud lingering out of the back room at our neighbors wild Super Bowl parties. Those are the thought provoking NFL memories that are forever etched in my head. Since I could say the word football, I’m positive I have subliminally associated substances and the NFL.

Nobody could ever possibly blame The NFL for the association of substance abuse and America’s favorite pastime. After all, football has been around a lot longer than the NFL if you want to get technical about it. Right? Elaborating again, so has the pain associated with the extremely rough and sometimes grueling sport. No pain – no gain is what they say. How ever, now in the era of the almighty Kapernick and the NFL’s longtime integrity issues coming into such scrutiny, I research a bit deeper for the sake of being PC and putting real news out into the world.

There is a long history of unique players turning out to have a not so unique story once the lifestyle associated with the NFL chews them up and spits them out. Baltimore Ravens 2015 draft Darren Waller aka D Wall could have been an unfortunate story but he managed to defy the odds and do something about his so called issue without looking back. Despite flawed NFL substance regulations.

The Baltimore Ravens website described Waller as being “Frank With his marijuana use”. Hardcore drugs are not the case with D Wall and his suspension, marijuana is. Although cannabis is medicinally legal with a doctor’s recommendation in 29 states, 1 federal jurisdiction (DC), 5 U.S. territories, 3 Native American Reservations, additionally recreational legal in 8 states, and decriminalized in 14 other states, the NFL still chose to suspend Baltimore Raven’s tight-end Darren Waller for a year without pay after he tested positive for marijuana.

Marijuana is proven to relieve acute pain, anxiety, cure seizures and more, yet the NFL still choses not to recognize it’s value medicinally and update their policies. California is taking a huge step in 2018 and releasing hundreds of thousands of prisoners being held on marijuana charges., how can facts like this be ignored by any profession let alone the NFL is what many people are thinking. Just like with alcohol, many are already betting or depending on commercialism to take the overall-win because of the supply and demand of marijuana.

The biggest question here is, when will the NFL medicinally recognize marijuana so that the amount of players becoming addicted to opioids can decline? Lets not forget to mention how much money it costs the NFL to enforce anti-marijuana policies. In the meantime players just get the shaft on the rule because although the majority of the states recognize the medicinal qualities of marijuana, the federal government does not.

Music is the biggest medium used to keep the fans hyped during the football games hands down, that being said with respect to the cheerleaders and mascots. Recently I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Darren Waller about his story and how he is using music as a tool to sobriety through his journey back on to the NFL field.

How old were you when you were drafted to The Ravens?

D Wall: I was 22 when i got drafted in May 2015.

What were you feeling the moment you found out you were picked? 


D Wall: I was definitely excited when I got picked. I overcame a lot to get to that point and it felt great to receive such an opportunity.

How and when did drug use come into the picture?

D Wall: I started using around 16-17. Started with opiates (oxycodone) and weed. At first it was just experimental, but I quickly fell in love with the high and the relief it gave me from anxiety and self-doubt.

How was life after your suspension?

D Wall: Which one? (Laughs). But it’s been a roller coaster, just as the previous 5 years have been. I enrolled in a 30-day substance abuse/mental health recovery program at McLean Hospital right after my birthday in mid-September. Upon my return, I continued to my training, found a simple yet satisfying job, and continued my recovery through meditation and addiction meetings. Also, I found an increase in time available to work on my music so I took full advantage.

How did your career evolve into music?

D Wall: So when I got drafted, I was temporarily excited but my mental health was deteriorating dangerously. Football represented a feeling of entrapment. I felt stuck in this lifestyle in order to keep the affirmation of people around me instead of trying things I may have wanted to do which may have risked disappointing others or being labeled as a waste/failure. All of these thoughts controlled my mind, and all I wanted to do was get high and mute them. One thing that always served as a temporary escape was music. Back in college, my teammates and I would freestyle regularly. I would have a couple bars that were crisp, but I couldn’t keep a flow going. I always told myself: “If I actually sit down and write to something, I could be pretty good at this.” Through my isolation from everyone/everything in Baltimore, I slowly began to write and began to purchase beats just to experiment on. I improved rapidly, and decided to get in a real studio back in Atlanta after the season ended. From there, it was history.

What’s the story behind “Better Call Wall’, what or who inspired the lyrics to the song?


D Wall: The idea came to me while watching Breaking Bad and it stuck instantly. As the project developed, I found meaning behind the slogan. I feel as if I’m someone you could call if you needed advice on any type of life situation because I’ve experienced so many things; good and bad. I wanted to make sure 
I touched on a variety of topics in my work to express that. 


When I received your music, in the summary it emphasizes that you’re different. Do you mean as a person or as an artist?

D Wall: Both.

What makes you different than others?


D Wall: Excluding my size, if you were to hang around me for a period of time, you wouldn’t receive the typical vibe you’d anticipate from a rapper or professional athlete. I’m a nerd at heart, an introvert, keeping to myself outside of a close group of friends. As an artist, I don’t feel like most are willing to talk about their successes and failures as openly as I am, at least not in the rap game. I’m not here to flex on anyone and I’m not here for the fame or clout. I’m just looking to tell you about what I’ve gone through, to hopefully inspire you, and to just have a good time doing it.

If it’s not too personal, how long have you been clean now?

D Wall: I’ve been clean since August 12, so as I type this it’s been four and a half months.

Did music save your life?


D Wall: I believe it did. If i continued with the same habits and thought patterns that I had before without any means to express myself, I feel that I would’ve done harm to myself. I was ashamed to admit that I was rapping before because nobody’s ever came out and said that they’d choose music over being in the NFL. Talking about my life through the mic has helped me with my confidence and in realizing that there’s nothing wrong with me; some parts may need some fine tuning, but I’m not broken. I don’t have to be who anyone else wants me to be, even if I’m ridiculed for my decisions. At least I know I’m doing something for me for once. 


What comes next after this project?


D Wall: I want to shoot some visuals to quite a few songs off Better Call Wall. Also, I am finishing up my second project, Wall Street. 


Are you performing anywhere?


D Wall: I do not have any performances lined up. I’m a newborn in this music world, but I’d love to perform anywhere, anytime! 


Will you go back to football or will you pursue a full time 
music career?


D Wall: I plan on returning to football with a new foundation and better tools to help me succeed while creating and maintaining my own peace & happiness as opposed to letting it be controlled externally. If I stay clean and play just for the enjoyment of competing, then I know I will be fine. I will continue to work at my music regardless. 


If there is one piece of life advice you could give young men getting ready to go off to college for the first time, what would it be?


D Wall: There will be a million forces pulling on you the minute you step on campus. If you aren’t constantly investing time and awareness into yourself, your values, and your aspirations, you won’t be able to discern between what will help you and what will hurt you. Self-care is the key. Don’t hand the power of your worth over to society because the world is a cold place. Do things because they make you happy. At the age of 22 I had everything that I said I would obtain and I was still depressed because I was abiding by someone else’s plan for success. Just be you.

Is there anything you would like to say to fans and supporters?


D Wall: Thank you to anyone that is genuinely rocking with me. It’s easy to tell now (laughs). I’m not finished by any means. This is just the beginning; God ain’t done with me yet.
(Interview ends).

Anyone with two eyes can see this kid is cut from a different cloth. Staying sober can be a challenge even for some who’ve been sober for years. Undeniably D Wall’s omnipotent attitude towards being happy with who he is without any substances, has allowed him to get back on the field and get the job done. The NFL may not be ready to update their policies on marijuana, but one thing remains certain. There is no way in hell D Wall is going to let anyone or anything stop him from being successful at whatever he is doing in life, especially an outdated policy.

D Wall’s story also sets a doable example for those in the league who are struggling with vices or addictions, you have to dig deep and accept yourself for who you are, without shutting down the notion that there is always room for improvement. Fans can check out D Wall’s new single on the KWWK-DB website and of course in our rotation.

Facts
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate that was first created in 1916 from thebaine, a chemical found in poppy plants.
Since January 1, 2016 in the United States, opioid overdose deaths went from 12,726 to 14,427.

Since January 1, 2016 the number of cannabis overdose related deaths has gone from zero to zero. There has never been a recorded marijuana overdose.

Former NFL players abuse opioid pain medications at four times the rate of the general population, according to a study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

GiGi Capone

January 28th, 2018

No comments

Leave a Reply