New York City, NY — As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop this year and all it’s done for the culture, we wouldn't have the genre without a few of our pioneers: DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash.
The trio is known as the “Holy Trinity” of Hip Hop. It is identified as a subculture and art movement that emerged in the Bronx, New York in August 1973. From the street corner, the genre began to receive widespread popularity in the 80s and 90s through house parties and block parties.
The goal was initially to bring a sense of community to feel connected. As Hip Hop evolved, it became a passion for many Americans who utilized it to express their thoughts, emotions, and for many, life stories.
This allowed artists to express who they were authentically.
While mental health isn't new, it has certainly become the main topic of discussion in the music industry over the last few years. With access to more knowledge and resources, many people have become open to having the conversation and educating themselves on the importance of mental health awareness.
Here are a few artists who have expressed their mental health issues through their music.
He has previously shared that he suffered from anxiety- a mental health issue that affects nearly 30% of Adults at some point in their lives.
In the song “Deep Reverence” featuring the late great Nipsey Hussle, Big Sean shared, "In Highschool, I learned chemistry, biology but not how to cope with anxiety." The rapper then said, “Look, I ain't think I had the thought of suicide in me." Insinuating he has had thoughts of attempting suicide previously.
Aside from music, Big Sean uses his voice to spread awareness about mental health. He has conducted countless interviews discussing his mental health journey and the use of mediation as one of his coping mechanisms.
Lil Nas X
The 24-year-old rose to fame with his groundbreaking hit “Old Town Road” and shared with fans his experience with mental health. On his debut album “Montero”, Lil Nas X has a song titled “Sun Goes Down” where he sings about his experience with mental health he’s dealt with since childhood.
"Since 10, I've been feelin' lonely, had friends but they was pickin' on me. Always thinkin', ’Why my lips so big? Was I too dark? Can they sense my fears?’
Because Lil Nas X continuously shares his openness about his struggle with suicidal ideation, depression, his advocacy around mental health issues and his unapologetic celebration of his queer identity.
In 2021, he received an inaugural Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award from The Trevor Project. This award focuses on honoring someone who utilizes their platform to help normalize conversations about mental health and suicide prevention among LGBTQ young people.
Megan Thee Stallion
The H-Town Hottie has opened up on her mental health issues in her sophomore album “Traumazine”. In her song "Anxiety", she shared, "Y'all don't even know how I feel, I don't even know how I deal. Today I really hate everybody, And that's just me bein' real, yeah."
In addition to her music, Megan Thee Stallion launched Bad Bitches Have Bad Days Too, a website for mental health resources and named after a lyric in her song "Anxiety." The site includes links to organizations, numbers for helplines, and additional information to obtain a therapist.