Hawaii rapper Thomas Iannucci and Tongan-American artist Seni. have teamed up to release a powerful new track, “Kuleana (Paradise).” The song, produced by J. Crum, tackles a subject rarely touched on but deeply personal to both artists: the rampant drug addiction, suicide rate, and violence within Hawaii and the broader Polynesian & Pacific Island community.
“My whole life I was told that Hawaii is supposed to be some sort of perfect paradise,” said Iannucci in a statement. “But looking around me, I never saw paradise. I saw a lot of pain, and drug abuse, and I even saw a lot of good, too – but I never once saw paradise. That image of Hawaii, or Polynesia in general, as some sort of perfect place, really papers over and erases a lot of suffering going on, and I felt it was our responsibility – our ‘Kuleana,’ in Hawaiian – to come out and address this.”
“Kuleana” is the title track of Iannucci’s upcoming album of the same name, which releases Tuesday, December 3rd.
Buy/Listen to “Thomas Iannucci – Kuleana (Paradise)” Below: