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Hip Hop/Rap Artists Speaking Out

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Hip Hop/Rap Artists Speaking Out

Tanya Trinidad, Opinion Writer

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                   Many hip hop artists, like Logic, are speaking out on social issues and are breaking the stigma of mental illness in the industry. More rappers are now opening up about their experiences with mental illness and their therapy. Hip hop and rap artists in the past reinforced the anti-therapy narrative meaning they didn’t feel comfortable taking  therapy . they also felt like their music was a form of therapy. This resulted in their denial of any professional help. However, as more artists in the hiphop industry are opening up to the idea of therapy, they say “therapy is gangsta” and are now breaking the stigma around rap and hip hop.  

Logic has been one of the many artists who used their platform to talk about social issues. In his album, “ Everybody” he talks about social issues in America, issues like mental health, racism, sexism and others. Logic’s ‘1-800-273-8255‘ music video is a powerful story about suicide prevention. The video follows the life of a young boy as he grows up and becomes a high school athlete. After realizing he has a crush on a boy at school, he returns home to an unaccepting father. The homophobia expressed by family and bullying at school provide the backstory to the song’s lyrics: “feel like I’m out of my mind / It feel like my life ain’t mine… I don’t wanna be alive / I just wanna die today”. The video reaches an emotional peak as the young boy finds a gun in his home and contemplates suicide. In his performance at the Grammys, Logic also gave an impassioned speech about ethnicity, gender equality, and immigration: “Black is beautiful. Hate is ugly. Women are as precious as they are stronger than any man I have ever met/. Be not scared to use your voice, especially in instances like these when you have the opportunity. Stand and fight for those who are not weak, but who have yet to discover the strength that the evil of this world has done its best to conceal. To all the beautiful countries filled with culture, diversity and thousands of years of history, you are not s***holes. And, lastly, on behalf of those who fight for equality in a world that is not equal, not just and not ready for the change we are here to bring — I say unto you, bring us your tired, your poor, and any immigrant who seeks refuge. For together, we can build not just a better country, but a world that is destined to be united.”

Logic isn’t the only person making statements and using his platform to speak out on social issues. There are also rappers like Joey Bada$$ who talks about corrupt politicians and racism in the United States he rapped “Three K’s two A’s in Amerikkka / I’m just a black spade, spawn out the nebula.” Kendrick Lamar who talks about hood politics and rebelling against those who oppress black people“You hate me don’t you/ You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture/ You’re fu**** evil I want you to recognize that I’m a proud monkey”. He’s also one of many creators who’ve spoken out on their own mental issues by saying “I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent”. He also said “It’s pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change, that’s the hardest thing for man, accepting change”.

300 million people around the world have depression, according to the World health Organization. People feel ashamed or embarrassed to get help because of ongoing stigmas around mental health , particularly among black communities, where resources tend to be more limited. This means not everyone who actually has some sort of mental illness is getting the help they need, making many feel alone. That’s why people like Gustav Elijah Åhr also known as Lil Peep (who died from a drug overdose)  based his whole rap career on talking about mental illness, to let others know their not alone.

Lil peep passed away on November 15, 2017. His recreational drug-taking was certainly a means of escape, His death a marked change in rap culture, most of his songs talk about mental illness and drug addiction, he apparently suffered from depression and anxiety he had bipolar disorder. Some of his lyrics are “I hear voices in my head, they tellin’ me to call it quits, I found some Xanax in my bed, I took that sh**, went back to sleep,” He inspired many other rappers such as xxxtentacion, who died in July 18, to break the stigma around mental health, especially among black communities.

Rap and hip hop artists are now being more open about social issues like mental health, drug addiction, and corrupt politicians. Many creators, like Kendrick Lamar, are using their own personal experiences with mental health to try and help others who are facing similar problems. The’re using their platform to try and make a change, and they are succeeding! Their music is a type of therapy that can help many people heal, especially when the song is about something you can relate to.

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