In this write-up, we will be discussing, “ Depression rap songs”, introduction to depression and it’s symptoms, the association between songs and depression, top rap songs with the theme on depression and finally some frequently asked questions regarding the topic.
Depression rap songs are widely known and acknowledged because:
- Rap songs are often therapeutic
- It is a mean to share their lived experience and struggle
- It functions more like a catharsis
- Rap songs help the person to share their struggle with others
- To get rid of the negativity and thoughts
- Elevates their mood and improve mental health
Depression is believed to be the key cause of disability around the world. It is a mood disorder characterised by the feeling of persistent and prolonged low mood, sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities: anhedonia, feeling down and low throughout the day, weeks and months.
Although the feeling of sadness and loss of pleasure is familiar and a normal feeling to every one of us, depression is something that persists and causes severe impairment in an individual’s life. It can affect people from any age group ranging from children, adolescent, adult and geriatric population.
The duration of depressive episodes differs and varies from each individual wherein, for some cases, it lasts for about 2 weeks while in others it might persist for months and years.
Symptoms of Depression
Despite Depression being a mood disorder and causing severe impairment in the individual, there are other associated effects of depression in the everyday functioning of the individual.
It can take a toll on one’s psychological health, physical health, job performance, social relation and overall well-being.
The three noting symptoms of Depression are:
- Fatigability, tiredness and feeling of exhaustion
- Anhedonia, loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Depressed mood or prolonged sadness
Some of the other signs and symptoms of Depression are:
- Sustained and prolonged depressed mood
- Loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities or those that one enjoys doing
- Loss of sexual drives
- Fluctuations in body weight
- Disruption in sleep cycle resulting in insomnia and hypersomnia
- Muscle agitation, restlessness and twitches
- Disruption and disturbance in speech
- Fatigue and low energy in performing daily task
- A feeling of worthlessness and excessive guilt
- Recurrent thoughts on death, suicide and attempts for suicide.
- Impairment in concentration and attention
These are some of the major signs and symptoms of Depression. The severity and the interference of these symptoms differ and varied individually owing to other underlying reasons.
Songs and Depression
Owing to the discussions and conversations that are taking place around the topic of mental health and related illnesses as well as the issue gaining limelight in the public’s eye, songs and music have also provided the platform to openly discuss the topic resulting in the removal of taboo and stigma associated with the topic.
The conversation around mental health and depression has started channelling through music in a subtle way in recent years. Amongst the wide genre and assortments of music, rap song has been one such platform or medium through which artists share and openly confront their struggle.
Research findings have shown that people are more likely to listen to music when in the episodes of depression. Among the different genres and types of music and songs, they tend to prefer those kinds of music that have a negative pattern of thought and thinking.
Listening to music helps the person to manage their depressive symptoms as well as their mood better. And there is a varying effect of music and song on the mood as well as mental health of the individual.
Hip pop and rap songs are actually therapy for people struggling with mental health-related issues and concerns. It is considered more like a therapy for them where the artist vents their emotions and challenges, making it more like a catharsis. They tend to delve deep into the discussion of mental wellness and well being and how it actually affects them through their music and lyrics.
Rap songs with the theme of Depression
There are a wide range of rap songs that cover or highlight the struggle of a person with depression, their journey, recovery and the death toll as a result of psychological illnesses.
The Geto Boys, “ Mind Playing Tricks on me”, 1991
The song is from their album, We can’t be stopped where the theme captures the reality of Post Traumatic Syndromes especially prevalent in urban communities. Other than that, it also describes other mental states such as depression, schizophrenia and paranoia. The song is more like a reflection of Scarface’s own turmoil and struggle of Manic-Depressive. Despite the song being old and retro nowadays, the authenticity of the song still makes it a go-to.
The Notorious B.I.G, “ Suicidal Thoughts”, 1994
The underlying theme of most of their songs is death and the recurrent suicidal ideation. From the album, Ready to Die, the rap song, “ Suicidal Thought” is believed to be an exceptional song. The song highlight the suicide notes that was believed to be conflictual and the tragedy of a single gunshot after which the phone call being left off the hook.
“Stress”, Organised Konfusion, 1994
The song is believed and known as the intersection of hip hop culture and mental health. The song stress is produced by Buckwild depict the lived experience of Black American during the 1990s. The conversation on mental health highlighted in the song make it a noteworthy despite the lack of popularity.
“So many tears” by Tupac 1995
Tupac was known for the songs he has produced and his influence well celebrated in the culture. His album covers the wide spectrum of human emotion, exposes his innermost feelings and emotions against all sorts of barriers. His song “ So Many Tears” compiled his vulnerability to the fear of life, suicidal thoughts and his struggle with Paranoia.
“Stressed Out” A Tribe Called Quest, Faith Evans and Consequences”, 1996
A tribe called Quest “ Stressed Out” features Faith Evans and the consequences. It showcast the mental gymnastics most blacks have undergone simply for their existence. The song shares the reality of anxiety, having to take the prescribed medicines for treatment, seeking support and building a firm support system to include in the mainstream.
“Slipping” by DMX, 1998
Slipping is more like an exorcism. The song reflects the traumatic events underwent by DMX and how these major events from his life shaped and groomed him. The beginning of the song goes, “This life bad, this life bad is like is like bugged the wild out, son, for real. See, to live is to suffer. But to survive…Well, that’s to find meaning in the suffering.”
Jean Grae, Keep Living: 2003
Jean Grea is known as the favourite rapper of all. Her release, “ Keep Living” documents and shares her journey of insight into mental health issues and how these have impacted her family as well as her coping with stress.
As widely known, the ideal way she believes in coping with stress is Keep Living.
Clipse and Bilal, “ Nightmares”, 2006
Nightmare features singer Bilal, wherein the song the duo shares about the struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and their drug abuse episodes. Apart from that, another theme of the song is the anxiety, stress, hallucination and paranoia experienced by them.
Lil Wayne, “ I feel like Dying”
Lil Wayne shares much of the song with the theme of suicidal ideation and the vulnerability. His song “ I feel like dying” shares his mental health journey, drug addiction and his dependency on anti-anxiety pills. Despite being the well known and most celebrated rapper in the world, he often had a hard time tackling drug dependency. Wayne shares his journey and opens the door for most of the other rappers to confess and confront the destructive nature of addiction and the impact of mental health in different ways.
Eminem “ Beautiful”, 2009
Relapse is the studio album of Eminem and the single Beautiful talks about his addiction with the drug. It is the song in which he shares his rehabilitation journey and experience. He composed the song during his stay in a rehabilitation centre where he was dealing with the addiction due to sleep medication. It is the only song that was composed when he was in rehabilitation. He believed and confessed that this was the best song from his releases and the one that was written without him being sober.
Grief by Earl Sweatshirt, 2015
In the song grief, Sweatshirt addressed the paranoia and isolation faced and also about human morality. He also associates the loss of his grandmother during the time, distrust of others and people around him and the consequent anxiety he had to bear all alone. The song was from his album, “ I don’t like stuff I dont go outside”. He shares the best way to deal with death and a lesson that everyone has to learn and imbibe is to manage grief from time to time and moments to moments.
These are the famous rap songs with the underlying theme of depression and often addressed the composers and the singers lived experience.
FAQs: Depression rap songs
Does rap help with depression?
Yes, hip-hop and rap songs do improve mental health and elevate the mood of an individual battling with depression and anxiety.
What is the hardest song to rap?
The hardest songs to rap are Drake, God’s Plan and Made men by Migos. These are two of the hardest rap songs.
What songs help with depression?
I won’t give up by Jason Mraz and Keep holding on by Avril Lavine are two of the songs that help with depression.
Who started sad rap?
Artists like Metallic, Linkin Park, Eminem and many others are believed to be the starter of some of the sad rap songs.
In this write-up, we discussed, “ Depression rap songs”, introduction to depression and it’s symptoms, the association between songs and depression, top rap songs with the theme on depression and finally some frequently asked questions regarding the topic.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
Links for more information and more songs covering depression and mental health-related issues:
Classic FM. (2019). New program explores the relationship between music and depression. Classic. https://www.abc.net.au/classic/read-and-watch/news/music-and-depression-app/10703118
Grove, R. D. (n.d.). In honor of Mental Awareness Week, here’s a roundup of 24 memorable rap songs about depression, featuring tracks from Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, and more. okayplayer. https://www.okayplayer.com/music/rap-songs-that-address-mental-health-depression.html