Finally, mental health is being covered more and more in hip-hop, both in the music and in the media. The latest artist to share their story and help battle stigma is Fat Joe, who sat down with the Hot 97 crew to discuss his two-year battle with depression in the early 2000s.
“After Big Pun died… My sister and my grandfather [died in the] same week,” Joe began. “I was under depression for like two years. I went to see a psychiatrist. I gotta go for my health, for my benefit, for my family, my friends, everybody, so I went to see a psychiatrist and I had to learn how to snap out of that, so two years later I snapped out of it.
"I really know depression. I know coming outside when the sun is dark. I know sleeping in the bathtub when there’s no water running and you just looking at the ceiling thinking because the beef is in your mind... so your mind is like a Rubik’s cube. You’re telling yourself that it’s worse than what it really is. You’re telling yourself the whole time, ‘Yo Joe, you can get out of this! Joe, you know better. You know how to snap out of this. You’ve been through too much… ’ You go to the Bahamas, you go to Africa, you go anywhere and it’s with you.”
As we’ve seen time and time again, depression simply does not discriminate. No matter how successful, rich, or revered you may be, an illness is an illness. Kudos to Fat Joe, someone widely known for his hardened persona, for speaking his truth and joining artists like Kamaiyah and Kid Cudi in making their recovery public. When a fan sees their favorite artists getting help, it might be the push they need to do the same and get the answers and treatment they need.
In 2017, JAY-Z threw out a major co-sign for therapy, advocating for everyone to get the help he or she needs. If real rap cats like Jay and Fat Joe aren’t too tough for therapy and mental health treatment, then no one is.