5 rappers speaking up about mental health

rappers and mental health

Artwork by Ashee Brunson, Frankie’s Mind, Marcus Lane Print Shop, Its Livai and Misha Korablin

The rap community hasn’t shied away from much in it’s lyrics. Tough topics like sexual abuse, domestic violence, poverty and crime have all been well documented through rap music. What was once an up and coming niche genre is now the most mainstream it’s ever been and all ears and eyes are on rappers.

It’s hard to stay healthy when you’re an artist.

All the things that seem fun at first glance, like catching flights to perform all over the world, hosting afterparties, and entertaining groupies can be really draining on your mind and body. Self-care is tough; it’s especially tough when you’re constantly out of your environment and in a different city each night.

Rap has gotten more in touch with it’s feelings over the last few years and rappers are opening up about their struggles with mental health. It’s tough to admit you’re feeling down and not yourself, especially in a high-octane ultra-masculine genre like rap music. Rappers speaking out about their mental health struggles hopefully comforts their teen fans and lends inspiration to start these conversations in their circles.

Recently, Chance the Rapper pledged $1 million dollars towards greater access to mental health services in Chicago. The announcement comes after his admission of dealing with PTSD and anxiety after the death of close friends. Chance has also been a very vocal advocate of his friend Kanye West, whose mental health issues have made headlines all year.

Here are 5 rappers that are speaking out about their own mental health issues

  1. Kid Cudi – Cudder disappeared for awhile and fans were left wondering what the hell happened. He came back in 2016 with a lengthy Facebook post in which he described his time in rehab for depression and suicidal thoughts. Cudi was one of the first to speak candidly about how anxiety has made it difficult for him to trust people throughout his life and how his paranoia was once so bad he was afraid to leave his house.

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  2. Logic – Calls to the suicide prevention hotline spiked when Logic performed his touching song about suicide at this year’s Grammy awards. The track 1-800-273-8255 which is also the number for the National Suicide Prevention centre, features Alessia Cara and Khalid and addresses dark but relatable thoughts. Logic was inspired by Kid Cudi to speak openly about his own lifelong struggles with depression and anxiety.

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  3. Kanye West – Kanye is the most prolific rapper to speak about his mental health struggles and also have them play out in the media. Kanye opened up to his fans after being inspired by his close friend and collaborator Kid Cudi. Kanye has rapped about seeking therapy and being on antidepressants in his 2016 album ‘The Life Of Pablo’ and recently went on TMZ where he discussed his lengthy hospital stay where he was treated for bipolar disorder.

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  4. Eminem – It’s unsurprising that many people self medicate through drugs when their mental health issues go untreated and this is how Eminem coped for nearly two decades. The rapper has been vocal about his addiction to prescription pills both in his music and interviews. He kicked his habit in 2008 and credits his sobriety with clearing his mind of cluttered thoughts.

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  5. Danny Brown – Danny Brown may seem like he’s always hype and in a great mood but he’s been very open with his fans about his experiences with depression and sleep issues due to anxiety. He’s admitted that his prior rampant drug use was to numb himself so he didn’t feel these issues as deeply and has repeatedly encouraged his fans to seek help if they’re going through the same things.

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This article is inspired by World Mental Health Day and was originally published on Vellum’s blog –  SMOKE + MiRRORS.

Where We’d Go? The Screen Girls Return After Working on Vellum Wellness

We’re Back…
After a long break, The Screen Girls return

Its been 588 days since we last shared anything with you guys. At the time, we had no idea our last radio show, on April 20th, 2018 would actually be our last show.

Since then, we’ve been working on expanding Vellum Wellness. What started off as a way to ‘stay moisturized between the joints’ turned into a complete wellness line, with products designed to unite your mind and body.

The Vellum brand is heavily influenced from our time as Screen Girls and our late nights covering shows and interviewing artists. It was during our time shooting and editing for The Screen Girls that we discovered what wellness meant to us. It was tough with only two of us, going out every night to cover the latest rap shows and snag interviews. Each night, we fell asleep knowing that our sleep hygiene was suffering and our overall sense of well being was slipping away from us.portrait file
How The Screen Girls Inspired Vellum Wellness

So much of what inspired the Vellum brand was the journey of artists we met along the way as Screen Girls. Staying physically healthy on tour is a challenge, and with the current state of the world today, staying mentally healthy is even more challenging. We’ve long praised the benefits of cannabis sativa for both the mind and body, and it felt natural for us to include a form of this magical plant in our first formulated product – Elevate Hemp Hand Lotion. We’re so proud of this unique formula we created in conjunction with our team of experts, and even more proud to present our first full collection: Mental Essentials.

Mental Essentials is a collection of 100% pure essential oils designed to reflect your mood and emotions. A strong appreciation of art is at the cornerstone of our brand values, so we worked with LA based artist MRBBABY and commissioned hand painted illustrations of the oils personified into characters. The idea is that when you inhale the oil, and reflect upon the artwork, your mind and body work together to explore the mood the oil is praised for. We found Lavender Oil to work wonders at restoring our night routines.

Although our time at CiTR 107.9 fm has come to an end, we’re just getting started with Vellum and we’re so excited to share updates with you along the way. We’ll still be covering artists, but this time we’ll be focusing a little more on their self care processes, for all the latest updates, follow @vellumwellness on social media (Twitter, IG, FB) and check out the blog SMOKE + MiRRORS. While you’re at it, pick up some products to get started on your wellness journey and use the code TSG18 for 40% off your first purchase (code valid until December 31st, 2018).

The Screen Girls Work on Vellum Wellness and present Mental Essentails

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Episode 38: Rappers in Fashion

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Tune in to Part 1 of Episode 38: 

1:00-4:45 Good Drank by 2 Chainz ft. Quavo and Gucci Mane

04:53-08:55  Sneakin’ by Drake ft. 21 Savage

08:45-12:00 Fade by Kanye West ft. Post Malone

13:55-18:25 We caught Post Malone’s show, sponsored by Red Bull and we discuss how tours differ, when they’re sponsored by brands.

18:25-21:42 Majid Jordan has a predominantly female fanbase, and they were out in full force at their Vancouver stop. We review their show and try to decipher what makes them feel like boybands in the ’90s.

21:43  Make it Work by Majid Jordan

Tune in to Part 2 of Episode 38: 

00:00-02:55  Strive by A$AP Ferg ft. Missy Elliott

03:20-9:30 A$AP Ferg is one of the more popular members of the A$AP Mob, and his latest album “Always Strive and Prosper” was a nod to the group that was founded by deceased leader A$AP Yams. We attended Ferg’s concert a few days after the mob released Cozy Tapes: Vol. 1 Friends, and his show was definitely a high octane party.

9:35-14:55  A$AP Rocky is definitely a fashion rapper, who’s been embraced by high fashion, and who reciprocates by dropping brand after brand into his raps. We delve into the history of high fashion and rap, and the artists who paved the way for Rocky and the like. We also discuss whether this is a fad, or here to stay.

14:55-17:50 Bachelor by A$AP Rocky ft. MadeinTYO, Lil Yachty and Offset

17:51-21:02  Art Hoe by Tommy Genesis

21:00-We discuss Tommy Genesis’s appeal as a fashion rapper. She’s just come off of a Calvin Klein campaign, as well as appearing in Teen Vogue and in Carine Roitfield’s fashion book.

23:00 Our next show is on December 14th and it’s all about the holidays. We hope you tune in live from 11:00 PM-12:00 AM

23:55-28:55 A declaration by Clairmont the Second

MAJID JORDAN RELISH IN THEIR SEX SYMBOL STATUS

MAJID JORDAN’s performance reminds us of boy bands in the ‘90s. There’s no synchronized choreography, or cheesy harmonizing, but there are hordes of screaming, wanton women in the audience, and the duo seemingly can’t get enough. The duo feed off of the feminine energy, and Majid especially so, as he gyrated on stage with longing looks, that every audience member thought was to them. The entire OVO brand seems to be based off of catering to a female audience, and it keeps the fans coming back in droves, every time they’re in town to perform

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Majid Al Maskati is a Bahrain born and raised singer/songwriter who moved to Toronto to pursue a business degree. A chance meeting with Jordan Ullman at a bar during Majid’s 21st birthday party, led to them working on music, as a duo under the name Good People. After renaming their act Majid Jordan, they began releasing their synth heavy, downtempo R&B, which caught the ears of producer Noah Shebib. Majid’s vocals sounded ethereal on Drake’s Hold On We’re Going Home off of his Nothing Was The Same EP. It was a breakout track for both Majid and Jordan and fast tracked them to releasing their own music under Drake’s OVO label.

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Jordan Ullman is a Toronto born and bred producer extraordinaire, and one half of Majid Jordan. He’s responsible for the moody sound that has become a signature for the duo, and he was creating for Drake since he was a teenager. Jordan is a classically trained pianist and as he stood up on this futuristic, star-trek looking platform that housed his keyboard, he stood with all the confidence of a maestro.

With the release of their self- titled debut album this year, Jordan and Majid are stepping out from the OVO shadow, and crafting their own vibes.

Tune in to Episode 38 of TSG:OA for a recap of Majid Jordan’s show at the Commodore Ballroom.

 

CHANCE THE RAPPER DELIVERS BLESSINGS ON TOUR

In 2016, Chance the Rapper has: performed at major festivals like Bonnaroo, and Made in America, thrown his own Magnificent Coloring Day festival in Chicago, landed a global ad campaign with Kenzo X H&M, and petitioned the Grammy awards to include streaming only music. This would be a monumental year for any artist, but it’s historic for an artist that has remained independent.

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“Are you ready for your blessing!” is how Chance begins his show, telling more so than asking his audience. Receiving blessings was the them of the night, as Chance recounted his own torrid path before he reached his own blessing. All the talk of blessings, newfound redemption and higher powers gave him the feel of a preacher at his pulpit, and his message wasn’t lost on the sold out crowd in Vancouver.

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Chance the Rapper’s concert felt like an off Broadway revival of Avenue Q, as he was joined onstage by puppets that bantered, flirted, danced, and sang with him on stage. His inclusion of the characters in his live show was a nod to the childlike innocence and optimism in his raps – optimism that is very needed in hip hop right now.

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For a full recap of Chance’s performance, check out Episode 37 of The Screen Girls On Air