Beating depression with hip hop? Surely this cannot be possible, we can cure this strange illness with a couple beats and rhymes? According to research from the Cambridge University (it’s my dream to go there) positive visual imagery and rags-to-riches stories told in hip hop and rap can create a better mental state. I’ll be honest and say just the catchy beats can sometimes make me feel better, but recently I have been listening to some more meaningful hip hop songs and they have made me feel better. Some of the songs I link below have got me through tough times, and I hope they do the same for you.
Vinnie Paz – Is Happiness Just A Word?
According to my sources, this song is about Vinnie Paz’s struggles with Depersonalisation Disorder(DPD). While I can’t confirm this, I know that many people suffering from depression will be able to connect with this song and understand they are not the only one suffering with these problems. This song could easily be about many different mental illnesses. Overall, I just really love this song from a rapper that most people have not heard of.
Nas – If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)
I like Nas, and he is considered one of the greatest rapper to have walked on the face of the Earth. This is the positive visual imagery I was talking about, where Nas imagines a better life for all of the people in the world with him in charge. If I could choose one rapper to be in charge of the world, I’m sure Nas would come to mind (because I don’t think he would kill everyone).
Army of the Pharaohs – Suicide Girl
The last rap verse of this song hit me hard. This song might trigger you so don’t listen to it if you are easily triggered, as there is a lot of talk about self-harm and suicide. But that last verse… oh man, give it a listen. If I could sum up my depression in a verse, it would be that last one. I am seriously thinking about playing that verse to everyone I know. Yeah… I’m probably hyping it up a little too much…
Kendrick Lamar – i
I smile when I look at Kendrick Lamar in this video, this is the happiest song on my list. It is very up-beat as Kendrick talks about loving himself, and the message from this song should be that you should love yourself too! It’s been nominated for a Grammy too, so it’s a recognised hit if you want to stay “down with the kids”.
Tupac – Thugz Mansion
There are two versions to this song, the acoustic version featuring Nas, and the remix version featuring Anthony Hamilton. The acoustic version has got me through I got of tough times, I remember once walking out of my house thinking whether or not to commit suicide (I wasn’t actually going to do it) and I had this song on repeat for two hours. I now know all the words! The remix with Anthony Hamilton has a couple lines which make me go crazy whenever I hear it, “I once contemplated suicide, and woulda tried, but when I held that nine, all I could see was my momma’s eyes”. Note that both were released after Tupac’s death.
Eminem – Lose Yourself
In this day and age you are not allowed to compile a “great rap” list without Eminem on it. I could choose from so many songs, Beautiful, Rock Bottom, but in the end I chose Lose Yourself. Why? It’s a song about being an underdog and getting out into greatest. I don’t know why your depressed, but thinking you could be in a better place will make you feel better…