Earl Sweatshirt’s depression (+How he coped)

This article will center around the rapper Earl Sweatshirt and his battle with depression. The article will discuss how he has manifested his depression before, and how experiencing some traumatic events affected it. Aside from that, the article will show how depression affected his career, especially the tour he was in at the time. 

Earl Sweatshirt and depression

The rapper Earl Sweatshirt, born Thebe Kgositsile, has been vocal about his depression a few times. It appeared on his first two albums, Doris, from 2013, and I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, from 2015.

In both of them, he shared some very private feelings, raising awareness that he may have been going through some mental illness. In them, he was very candid about how he experienced loneliness, and how the absence of his father marked him. 

This made him known as a deeply personal rapper, and made people understand that he was sharing his experiences through music without ever even saying a word about it in interviews. So many times he discussed how he felt so deeply, which made it clear to his listeners that it wasn’t a case of simple sadness.

When releasing his second album, He gave an interview to PigeonsAndPlanes at the end of 2015, he came forward about his mental health condition. He said:

“I’m not as depressed as I was last year when I hurt my knee, so I can’t keep making music about being in a cage ’cause I’m not in a cage. I have a thing with myself were, like I have to be truthful with s**t I write, so with me not doing a repeat of I Don’t Like S**t, I have to make sure [I] don’t get to the space again where I don’t like s**t. That’s why a lot of times I end up isolating myself because I O.D. on people.”

And even though he said he felt better, as soon as he was done promoting his second album the rapper went quiet, causing people to assume something worse was going on, and maybe his depression was more intense than he said. But when he released some singles in2016, it seemed like this we were back on track. 

But in 2017 his public appearances became even fewer, and the rapper promised an album for 2018 on his Twitter page on the New Year’s. But right at the beginning of January some tragic event changed the course of things.

Earl’s Sweatshirt father, with whom he had a strange relationship, died in South Africa of a barely discovered illness when he was 79 years old. His father was a South African political Poet Laureate, and political activist called Keorapetse Kgositsile.

In a previous interview with The New Yorker, in 2011, the rapper discussed his tumultuous relationship with his father, he said: “I and my dad had a relationship that’s not uncommon for people to have with their fathers, which is a non-perfect one”

And even though he felt like that, as soon as he got the news, by the 10th of January he canceled his Australian tour that was about to begin, to take some time away to deal with the grief from losing his father. 

But what surprised most people after that is that the rapper also canceled concerts that would take place in Europe in June of the same year.

When he canceled his tours, his crew released a statement saying “The rapper mixed a handful of dates-including spots at Dublin, Ireland’s Forbidden Fruit Festival and Manchester, England’s Parklife Festival-hours before he scheduled Sunday performance at London, England’s Field Day Festival.”

They went on to say that the rapper was dealing with “depression and anxiety compounded by the grief of the death of his father”. And that even though “he thought he could be ready to perform but simply is not yet able to. He would like to apologize to his fans and promise to be back as soon as he can.”

His statement is seen, in the same way as his statement in the interview in 2015, a traumatic situation led him to experience possible worsening of his depressive condition. 

And that is completely understandable when it is a known fact that depression is caused by the experience of a traumatic experience, be it the loss of a loved one, even though they had a strange relationship, or going through a health condition, such as a knee injury that can impact your way of living. 

What seems to be concerning his press release is the use of the word compound. This can make it seem the struggles he has been going through are overwhelming. It may be impossible to resume his tour as he always did before. 

At the end of 2018, he managed to release a new album called Some Rap Songs. And some of it makes it look like he is dealing, through his songs, with the grief of his father. In the song “Red Water” he says: “Pappa called me a chief/ Gotta keep brief/Lock and Load I can see you lying through your teeth”.

And even though the rapper said that 13 of the 15 songs of the album were written before his father’s passing, it seems they all relate deeply to the moment. In the song “Peanuts” he simply states that “Depression is not a phase”.

In “Nowhere2go”, he once again refers to depression saying “Spent most of my life depressed/Only thing on my mind was death”. Showing once again how the battle with depression is not a momentary one, but usually, one that people will endure chronically.

This is also important when talking about depression. Due to its chronic characteristics, it depends on the person’s ability to look for help and keep vigilant on how they feel, and what can trigger than to feel worse. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Is Earl Sweatshirt depressed? 

Why is his name Earl Sweatshirt?

When asked about the origin of his name, Earl Sweatshirt said that it came first from his obsession with “old people’s” name, and from that, he got Earl. In the same way, people think he chose Sweatshirt because of James Pants, a multi-instrumental recording artist that he worked within 2008.

What are the most common symptoms of depression? 

Depression can make the person feel intense sadness. It can also make them lose interest in doing even the things they used to love. It can make the person feel as if they have lost their purpose, and lead them to feel empty. 

Depression takes the energy out of the person and can make them feel more fatigued. It can make you lose your ability to focus, as it may also change your eating and sleeping patterns. Aside from that, depression can make the person more irritable, guilty, and ashamed. 

It will cause you to isolate yourself, cause you have crying spells, and bring your self-esteem, and sense of self-worth down. Finally, depression may cause the person to harm themselves, and sometimes even think of death, or have suicidal thoughts.

Can grief lead to depression?

Yes, grief can be considered a traumatic experience that can lead to depression. Grief, such as ending a relationship, or going through a sudden health condition, as Earl Sweatshirt had with his knee, can cause a person to become depressed. But this is not the only cause of depression.

Some other factors can contribute to a person developing the condition. The first one is that the person may have a genetic predisposition to it. This means that when you have a family history of depression, your chances of developing it are higher. 

Another matter that seems to relate to the development of depression is the chemical imbalance the person can experience in their brain. If some hormones and neurotransmitters are lower or higher than they should be, through a prolonged period, the person may feel depressed. 

Aside from that, it seems that gender plays a role when it comes to depression since women seem to have a higher chance of being depressed than men.

What are the most common treatments for depression? 

Depression can be treated in multiple ways. People will usually look for professional help, be it from therapists, or psychiatrists. And sometimes, people can even go through the joint treatment of both.

First, they will learn more about their emotions, how to handle them more positively, and how to navigate depression. From the second, they may be prescribed medication, which will help with their symptoms of depression, and the chemical imbalance in their brains.

But it is not only up to the professional treatment. There are some things you can do in your day-to-day life that can help you cope with depression. The first thing is trying to have a healthy lifestyle. Try to eat and sleep well, that will allow you to feel a little more energetic, and not succumb to depression.

In that sense, exercising can also be a great thing. You may find it hard to do, but you can start with even a short walk around your neighborhood. That will reduce your stress level, and also improve your mood.

Spending time with the people you love is also a great way to cope with depression. It will allow you to feel supported, and give you some distraction from the negative thoughts going through your head. 

And finally, open yourself up to do things that give you some sense of positive feelings, it can be volunteering, for example. By doing so, you might also get a sense of accomplishment.

Why do celebrities get depressed?

Celebrities, like any other person, can also develop depression. They may have a genetic predisposition to it or go through a traumatic experience, as Earl Sweatshirt went through with the death of his father.

There is a huge spectrum of human emotions, and sometimes even celebrities can be overwhelmed by what they are feeling, and what they are going through. What is important when they are going through depression is that they, like any other person, look for the professional help they need. 

Because even though they are famous, there is a limit to what people can handle on their own, and depression is not it.


This article discussed how the rapper Earl Sweatshirt has battled with depression. It explained how he manifested his mental health condition through his work, and how going through traumatic experiences led him over the edge with depression, making him cancel his tour, and even the release of an album.

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