Mental Health is Changing the Rap Game
Rap, the genre most known for having lots of money, drugs, and self indulgence, may be more than it seems. Rap has always had some degree of sadness to it, but the ratio of emotional rap to entertainment rap is as a queen to her ants. 1970s rap first started with Coke La Rock; he originally rapped about being “a bull that can’t be stopped,” which then paved the way for modern rap with self indulged artists making their way to the spotlight. In saying that, there is an exception for rappers who are talking about depression and other forms of mental health, but none of these rappers have as much as an impact as modern artists, and here is why.
A new wave of rap has struck the internet and with an outstanding effect. Famous rapper, XXXtentacion, most known for his song, “Look at Me” which is mainly him screaming and rapping over a distorted baseline, has recently put out an album on his thoughts and internal struggles. The album, titled “17,” is a compilation of what he has and is currently struggling with emotionally, after his friend’s suicide. The most popular song on X’s album is one titled “Jocelyn Flores,” which, is a song about one of his close friends who committed suicide. In the song he describes how it affected him and how he continues to struggle with it. In the lines “I’m in pain, wanna put 10 shots in my brain” and “Suicidal, same time I’m tame.” he really opens up and tells everyone that he was suicidal at a point but managed to stay strong and lived, turning his thoughts into powerful music. Later on the album, X makes a song called “Carry On.” On the song, X states “Carry on, like flights, I just carry on with this pain inside of my chest got no choice but to carry on.” He is telling us that he is depressed, but he has still got to carry on. Along with this album X has been all over social media and said, “If your friends or family are showing any signs of depression and taking any steps towards suicide, it is very important that you support them..” Hearing these lyrics can help people who are facing depression by letting them know they are not alone, other people are struggling with the same feelings, and that they should not be scared to speak up and get help.
Popular hip hop artist Logic has released a song titled “1-800-273-8255,” a song with the strongest message I have ever heard from a rap song. The song, named after the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, is a song Logic made to represent how people with depression feel as he states, “The song is their outlet. I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it but Logic can help me show it by playing this song, he is letting it be known to the entire world forever how I feel in this moment.” In the main chorus, Logic sings, “I don’t wanna be alive, I don’t wanna be alive, I just wanna die today,” which is him singing for a person who is suicidal and calling the hotline. Later in the song, the chorus changes to “I finally wanna be alive, I finally wanna be alive, I don’t wanna die today.” Logic sings still, from someone calling the hotline; he sings their thoughts, feelings, and expressions of “I don’t wanna die today.”
Logic’s song has already become very popular with over 53 million views on YouTube, and many celebrities tweeting #18002738255. Logic really has taken the world by storm with his song, and he hopes to inspire more and more people to live.
Previously, there have been many artists who rap about staying strong and the importance of mental health, but none of them have had such an effect as rappers like X and Logic, with their influence not only in music, but in social media. These rappers have not only changed many people’s opinions on modern rap but have also really brought a new way of thinking to a more weathered crowd; in-fact sophomore Bella Brown says, “XXXtentacion really made himself vulnerable by showing us how he actually is. He often hides behind a persona of a big tough rapper who will mess you up, but in this album, he really shows he’s just human, he gets depressed, he gets anxious, just like you and me.” And she is right; everyone is human, and we are all struggling with different things (even your peers at Apex), but music brings us all together and it is good to see rap is included.