Mental health, within the realm of hip-hop, is a tricky subject. While it would seem that that isn’t the case, especially given the fact that rap is often brazenly candid and forthright — the genre is also competitive and masculine by nature. If you admit any kind of real vulnerability, you aren’t toeing the line.
Yesterday (September 5), Los Angeles rapper Hopsin took to Instagram to inform his fans that he had been arrested in Sydney, Australia, and that he could be banned from the country. While the post initially looked funny, since Hopsin posted a Kevin Hart meme, he used the moment to be extremely blunt, breaking down and confessing some of the pressures he faces as a rapper.
“I hesitate to post whats really goin down in my life, so I hide it with my cool pictures,” he says, adding, “Since 14 I slaved away for the music and fan base and now music is all I have. That's just the cards I was dealt. I fell into a dark hole that I haven't been able to get out of.”
What’s most worrisome, though, comes later on. “I can't see myself ever doing it, but I actually wanna literally die. Like literally. My funeral would be a blessing for me right now.”
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Charles Hamilton is another rapper who’s openly struggled with the state of his mental health — in his case, bipolar disorder. His 2015 interview with Billboard strikes an eerily similar chord. “I wanted to commit career suicide, physical suicide, spiritual suicide — I didn't care anymore,” he said. Lately, there’s been more discourse surrounding the topic, something that’s largely been fueled by 19-year-old Brooklyn emcee and Pro Era member Capital Steez, who took his own life in 2012.
It’s heartbreaking that emcees feel forced to obscure their pain by putting up a front, by posting ‘cool pictures’ on social media, or trying to make light of their depression. And although Hopsin’s Instagram post is alarming, it’s also progressive, and will only help incite further dialogue around mental health in rap.
By Tara Mahadevan. Follow her on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram