Speak Up – Drugs, Mental Health and The Future of the Hip-Hop Industry (Op-Ed)
Yesterday was Mental Health Awareness day, but this is a conversation that should be had EVERYDAY in the music industry.
Lil Uzi Vert, Logic, and Chance The Rapper are just a few of the hip-hop artists that have addressed mental health, anxiety, and depression publicly or have used their platform to educate others on their own battles.
I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a few music artists on many different levels of their career and one thing that I have found with every single one of them is the story of struggle as it pertains to their individual histories.
When you watch any artist rise to success, you will only see and hear the parts of their stories they “allow” you to hear. Some artists have histories involving sexual and physical abuse, depression, undiagnosed schizophrenia and bi-polar disorders and PTSD which they have never discussed with anyone out of shame.
Due the fact that the majority of music artists do not discuss symptoms or seek help, some artists fall into heavy drug and alcohol abuse in attempts to mask their symptoms of failing mental health. The drug and alcohol abuse might make them feel as if they are better in the moments of the “high” they reached, but usually this is followed by feelings of depression and occasional guilt once sober. The depression and guilt might make them turn to the same “medication” or drugs and alcohol they originally used or they might even seek a harder drug that would allow them to be high longer.
During our present period, you will probably not see your favorite music artists abusing drugs in their music videos or on social media, however, you might hear about possible drug-fueled rants or public behavior.
Unfortunately, I could not find many hard statistics on how many music artists deal with issues of mental health (probably because there are very few who actually address the issues and get help), however, what I did find was a large number of drug references in lyrics as it pertains to “using” drugs.
Evolution in the hip-hop industry, in my opinion, means acknowledgment of the fact that children look up to our music artists. We must present a better example for our next generation of music artists and promote the understanding of self-awareness when it comes to issues of mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and the correlation of the two.
The future artists of the industry have to push to stop the glorification of drug abuse, and start encouraging others through speaking up on their own trials, tribulations and past and present struggles into positive mental and general health.
Rap on the TRUTH 2017!
(This article is an opinion based article from Rocky Rockett of whom is a Hip-Hop Activist addressing issues of the industry. Please address issues of mental health with a professionally trained doctor.)