Music and Mental Health: Hip-Hop’s controversial relationship with depression


Mitchell Durant

Mental health and rap do not seem to have any real correlation without thinking about it. But through what I’ve seen (especially in more recent times) rappers have seemed to be more forthcoming with their mental illness and even making songs and lyrics about them. Notably the most commonly used and misused mental illness in rap is depression. XXXTentacion and Lil Uzi Vert are two popular rappers who have claimed depression.

XXXtentacion also did a controversial stunt where he faked his own suicide for the world to see. The social media world was outraged, especially since he previously had claimed that his goal was to help people struggling with depression like himself. This stunt made it seem more like he was using depression as a sort of novelty for his brand and to get publicity. XXXTentacion is actually considered talented by a lot of hip-hop fans and people who appreciate singing because X (X is a nickname for XXXTentacion) tends to genre hop. He is mostly well known for his rap but he continues to put out music which features himself singing more than rapping or even singing the whole song. When X sings it sounds very good but he seems to always take a sad tone when he sings. He seems to let his singing side be the sad and emotional side of himself while letting his rap voice be his escape from his emotions or depression by focusing on other topics.

Lil Uzi Vert is less outspoken about his depression, but, if you know much about Uzi, he doesn’t really talk that much about his emotions outside of his music. Lil Uzi is a rapper who always switches between two emotions. This is to the point where fans know two distinct Uzi emotions happy and sad. We rarely get other emotions from Uzi but when we get the sad it gets very dark. One lyrics in particularly comes out of his most popular song to date XO Tour Life. In the song he says “She say I’m insane now, I might blow my brains out”. This is a very sad line talking about love loss and depression at the same time. Uzi held nothing back in this line truly just saying he felt suicidal and that he felt as if he’d lost all hope. I have no true opinion on this. I feel on one hand it can help people depressed and or suicidal or even just getting over a breakup to know that someone out there even a world famous superstar knows what it feels like to feel alone and abandoned. But on the other hand, it may simply let people slip down deeper into their feelings and not experience any true help. While at least X has songs about hope and getting through his struggles.

From these two artists we see hardship and pain but we cannot clearly see any solution. I personally think that if artists want to talk about their personal depression they should offer a solution and help just as Logic did with his song:”1-800-273-8255″. In the song he begins the song with a sad tone and progressively gets more optimistic and telling the listener that he wants you to be alive. The songs purpose was to spread awareness and discourage suicide. I believe that if artists continue to talk about their depression, pain, and suicidal tendencies, it is morally right for them to try to help others get through their own issues rather than just using their music to vent. Artists should still use their music to express their emotions but they should have alternatives to the negativity they feel that way listeners will not drown in the emotions of the artist.

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