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How rap is making it okay for guys to talk about mental health

“Bro, this fucking sucks. I cannot believe it, he was blowing up bro.” These were the first words I heard mumbled through the hard 808’s that shook the room, as I made my way into one of my closest friend’s apartments.

“White Tee” by Lil Peep and Tracy was on full volume, as my homie Noah lifted his head encased with Backwood smoke and eyes welling up. He looked me right in the eyes and for the first time, I saw one of my big brothers hurting and not hiding it.

He never showed emotion like this and we always hid our depression/anxiety from each other even though we both knew our issues. We would hang out and laugh and laugh, but we would never cry or talk about why we wanted to cry.

With the music moving the room and my internal organs, I decided to sit down to experience the loss of one of the best up-and-coming artists.

I held back tears, just like Noah, as we sat without saying a word. The next song started playing, “Benz Truck” also by Lil Peep.

Lil’ Bo Peep with a brand new bitch

In the back of the club with the GothBoiClique

Iced out teeth on an iced out whip.

I was now laying down looking up at him gesturing me to take the blunt, and we started singing the lyrics though choked up voices. We had a moment of bereavement, we felt like we had lost a friend or role model.

Noah and I became closer after the passing of Peep, It brought us closer together because Lil Peep let us express our emotional tribulations to each other through the music. Being able to sing the lyrics that resonate so deeply brings people together.

Mental health is one of the many neglected aspects of the youth growing up in today’s Internet-fueled world. At this point, we all know about Kanye West’s battles with mental health and his recent lightning bolt contentment with his being bipolar.

He is embracing his pain.

With “I hate being bipolar, it’s awesome” scribbled on the ye cover, it’s obvious that West is trying to tap into the pain the youth of America is feeling in relation to their mental health. The chemically saturated, SoundCloud-listening, angry high schoolers look for relief from the pain.

No matter where it is coming from, people look for a way to numb it. Sadly, with the rise of sad SoundCloud music that has been popular with the new generation of teenage Americans, the main focus is on the coping mechanism, drugs.

We listen to music about smoking weed, sippin’ lean, popping pills, all while surrounded by the pain of growing up.

The late, great Fredo Santana said it himself in response to rapper Russ’s provocative commentary on drug abuse with a shirt that read, “How much Xans and Lean do you have to do before you realize you’re a fucking loser”. Fredo responded,

“Until I can stop thinking bout my dead homies and the trauma that I been thru in my life that’s when I’ll stop”.

With rappers actively being open about their self-medication and talking about their emotional issues headlines like ‘Future’s Drug Addiction is Killing Him & We Love It’ infuriates fans because it paints with a broad brush.

The subheading to that article doubles down by saying “The more Future raps about committing suicide by drugs, the more popular he gets,” which is insulting and accusatory to the fans who buy his records.

We understand and feel the pain Fredo and Future are talking about. Regardless of the drug abuse, the lyrics speak for so many who don’t have a voice and need this outlet of music about mental health/pain and addiction.

The flip side to this is that you are in an echo chamber of bad thoughts that keep you in a perpetual depression. In a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers said,

“Listening to sad music and talking about sad things tended to make people feel more depressed after listening to music. This kind of group rumination was more common in younger people, and likely reflects the relative importance of both music and social relationships to younger people.”

Music has a social effect that might be contributing to the abuse of drugs and the destructive depressed behavior that we see in so many teenagers these days.