Polo G is paying it forward.
Last month, the rapper released an emotional video for his recent single “Barely Holdin’ On” featuring a group of non-actors opening up about real-life struggles such as gun violence, medical issues, drug addiction and single parenthood. After filming the clip, he surprised each cast member with a $10,000 cash gift, PEOPLE can confirm.
“It was an emotional roller coaster for many,” said director Arrad of the film production company SixTwentySix in a press statement. “Nobody was expecting to get the cash at the end. It was a huge surprise and everyone was in complete denial!”
He continued, “Polo was very generous and wanted to make sure he could thank each and every person — he expressed his gratitude multiple times and gave them all the cash at the end. It was extremely nice and heartwarming of him.”
“Barely Holdin’ On” features lyrics about how “life gets scary as it goes on,” with Polo G describing situations he’s experienced related to violence and death — including his own friend’s life lost to a shooting.
“I ain’t perfect, spare me if I’m wrong / Hope my secrets get buried when I’m gone / Starin’ at the writin’ on these headstones / They keep on tryna tear me, but I’m strong / That’s what you wanted to tell me all along,” he raps on the track.
Polo G plays a piano and raps in the song’s music video as snapshots of each cast member’s life are played on screen, with the individuals going through emotionally challenging situations. At the end of the clip, they each explain the specifics of their lives.
“Hi, my name is Diana. I was born with congenital heart disease, and I recently received a heart and liver transplant,” said one woman from a hospital bed.
“My name is Bobbi. I’m from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I’m a proud single mother,” another woman told the camera from her home.
“How you doing? I’m Deon Sams. I’m from L.A. I was addicted to crack for over nine years, and I’m proud to say that I have 15 years clean and sober,” said a man in his home.
“Hi, my name is Willie. I’m 12 years old. At the age of 6, I was shot in my chest, and it left me paralyzed. I use basketball as my escape,” said a boy using a wheelchair as he played the sport.
Elsewhere in Arrad’s press statements, he opened up about Polo G’s decision to feature each individual in the video. “I met with Polo in the studio when he first played me the record, and the level of vulnerability blew me away,” said the director.
“He simply wanted to show stories of people ‘barely holdin’ on.’ I took this brief and ran with it — striving to tell stories of real people struggling with real issues. I wanted this to be inspiring for others,” continued Arrad.
Polo G’s “Barely Holdin’ On” will appear on his upcoming album HOOD POET — which stands for “He overcame obstacles during pain or emotional trauma.”