Top Rap Songs About Mental Health
Usually, we don’t picture anxious or depressed rappers when we think about hip-hop performers. Rappers are known for being tough and invulnerable. But some of the biggest names in rap are breaking down barriers by addressing mental health issues in their music.
Rap celebrities may have the capacity to change public views around mental health and promote more open discussion of these topics because of their outsized effect on young people.
Why Mental Health Rap Songs Are Important
Rap listeners tend to be young people. According to surveys conducted, people aged 16–24 are overwhelmingly fond of hip hop and rap. Thus, rappers, like other celebrities, exert a great deal of impact on the actions of young people nowadays. It’s possible that this could have both positive and bad results.
Rap songs about mental health that promote support and therapy, as the researchers noted, can contribute to increasing awareness and motivating young people to seek assistance.
21 Rap Songs About Mental Health
1. The Message – Grand Master Flash And The Furious Five
Rap pioneers from the ’70s, such as Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, documented the mental health consequences of living in poverty and social discord in the role of “street epidemiologists.” Poverty, deprivation, criminality, and violence are all depicted in their 1982 smash hit The Message.
2. TUPAC: ‘So Many TEARS.’
Lyrics began to openly address mental health difficulties in the ’80s and ’90s, however they were frequently masked by a celebration of masculinity. Popular “gangsta rap” portrayed macho and discouraged vulnerability.
Songs like the Ghetto Boys’ “Mind Playing Tricks on Me,” which describe hallucinations and delusions, show a vulnerable side at a time when “soft” issues were still considered taboo.
In his song “So Many Tears,” Tupac describes the aftereffects of trauma and depression, giving listeners a glimpse into the human side of “thug life.”
3. “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” by the Geto Boys
This is an iconic song that brilliantly expresses the realities of PTSD in city life. Scarface realistically portrays paranoia, schizophrenic psychosis, and depression. Willie D, and Bushwick Bill.
Scarface, who was suffering from manic depression at the time, channeled his inner struggle into the song “My Mind Playing Tricks On Me.” The song’s sincerity is what makes it resonate so strongly almost 30 years after it was written.
4. A Drop In The World – Lil Wayne x Eminem
Societies frequently spread myths such as “strong men don’t cry” and “his emotions got the better of him which only further muddy the waters between mental health and masculinity.
Males’s emotional expression is stigmatized because of the belief that it indicates a lack of masculinity; Men under 50 had a higher suicide risk and are less likely to seek treatment during a mental health crisis than women of the same age. Lil Wayne’s song Drop The World depicts an upsetting struggle between rage and depression (featuring Eminem).
Although Lil Wayne had previously claimed that he had accidently shot himself in the chest as a young man, he has now disclosed in interviews and songs that this was actually an attempt on his life. I’ll never forget how angry I was the day I attempted suicide but failed… Before it becomes a problem, you must let it go.
5. Channel 4 News, Stormzy
Rappers began to reveal a softer side of hip-hop in the 2000s and 2010s, often addressing mental health issues such as sadness and anxiety. In 2017, British rapper Stormzy discussed his own struggles with depression, explaining why he felt it was critical for others to understand that anyone may be affected by the it.
6. Craig G’s “Narcissist Theme Song”
Craig G sings about NPD and its symptoms are displayed graphically in the music video. Many of the characteristics he describes in the song, such as “grandiose,” “vulnerable,” “issues with empathy,” and “a sense of entitlement,” are used to describe him.
While the term “narcissist” is often used as a pejorative to describe someone who is exclusively concerned with themselves, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a real mental illness that can be treated.
Craig G’s song raises consciousness of narcissistic personality disorder, which is important given the general public’s little familiarity with the condition.
7. Angel Haze: Cleaning Out My Closet
When Angel Haze covered Eminem’s song Cleanin’ Out My Closet in 2012, she created what she called “probably the realest song I ever recorded,” a frank and frightening song about the sexual assault she suffered as a child.
8. 1-800-273-8255 – LOGIC
Logic collaborated with the national suicide prevention lifeline on this marvelous piece, which is about a person contemplating suicide who calls the hotline and receives help. Calls to the suicide prevention hotline increased after Logic’s Grammys performance of the song with suicide survivors.
9. Rico Nasty – Sell Out
Hip-hop has also been used by several female musicians to highlight mental health issues. Rico Nasty’s latest album, Anger Management, is a vehicle for her to transform destructive emotions like hatred and anger into strength. In the song “Sell Out,” she discusses the ways in which she has manipulated her feelings to benefit herself and others.
10. “U” — Kendrick Lamar
In his song “U,” Kendrick Lamar describes isolating himself in a hotel room with a bottle of vodka. In this song, Lamar expresses his struggles with imposter syndrome and survivor’s guilt and raps about how money can’t fix mental health problems.
Lamar’s melancholy and self-hatred are on full display in this song, as the “you” he raps about is actually himself. Similar to other songs by rappers, this one demonstrates that even the wealthy and famous are not immune to mental health issues.
11. Man On The Moon – KID CUDI
Rappers who have come into prominence in the last several years have promoted therapy and spoken openly about their own issues, both of which have contributed to a reduction in stigma.
Kid Cudi, a rapper, is one such supporter who has spoken up about his own experience with mental health by sharing his journey on social media about entering an inpatient treatment facility. A fan wrote under the Man on the Moon music video on YouTube, Keep your chin up, everyone; everything is going to be fine, if you can hear this. His music clearly has an effect on people on a deep emotional level.
12. 4:44 – JAY Z
Jay Z is a strong proponent of therapy as well. Speaking with CNN’s Van Jones in 2018, he called attention to the “ridiculousness” of the stigma associated with mental health issues and advocated for the presence of therapists in the classroom.
In the title track of his album, 4:44, Jay Z expresses regret for his actions and seeks forgiveness. The album is a documentation of his time in treatment.
13. “Stress” by Organized Konfusion (1994)
The anthem about stress by Organized Konfusion changed the perception of how hip-hop and mental health intersect. Buckwild’s “Stress” did a good job of reflecting the realities of life for young African Americans in the United States in the 1990s. They may not have become household names, but their impact on the discussion of mental health was significant nonetheless.
14. “Nightmares” by Clipse & Bilal (2006)
When it comes to drug slang, the Clipse had few equals in terms of wit and agility. Even the Clipse couldn’t shield themselves from the mental stress of the drug trade.
The duo confronts the trauma of the drug trade head-on on “Nightmares,” which also features Bilal on vocals. It’s normal to feel paranoid, anxious, stressed, have hallucinations, and even have bad dreams.
15. “I Feel Like Dying,” by Lil Wayne (2007)
Lil Wayne’s vulnerable approach to the subject of suicidal ideation is exemplified by his use of a sample from Karma’s “Once” in which the lyric “I feel like dying” is played over and over again.
During the height of his fame, Lil Wayne admitted to having mental health and substance addiction issues. He admitted to being addicted to the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Wayne cleared the way for other rappers to discuss the devastation caused by substance misuse and mental illness openly.
16. “Beautiful” by Eminem (2009)
Eminem’s sixth studio album, Relapse, featured the single “Beautiful.” In 2005, he began writing the song while undergoing treatment for an addiction to sleeping pills. A third verse was written by him after he had been sober for a while. Eminem uses this song to express his anguish over his drug addiction.
This song was one of Eminem best songs he cherished, here’s why: “The fact that I consider it the best song I recorded while under the influence is the only reason that I included it.
It seemed like the end of the world to me at the moment. I started writing the first part of the song while in treatment, and I finished it once I was discharged. Only this music can transport me back to that time and location without actually taking me there.
17. Long Time II, by Chance the Rapper and Nico Segal
Chance the Rapper isn’t afraid to show his faith in his music. However, even the most devout believers experience the ups and downs of life’s emotional rollercoaster. The track “Long Time II,” which features Nico Segal, is an emotional request for help in overcoming the depths of heartbreak. Chance plays a heartbreaking piano piece in which he reveals his inner agony and struggles to find peace.
18. “Grief” by Earl Sweatshirt (2015)
Grief has no time limit. Everyone must eventually come to terms with death; it is an inevitable element of life that cannot be avoided. All we can do is get through each day and each moment as best we can while grieving.
The rapper talked about being afraid and feeling alone. He weaves in his grandmother’s death, his growing mistrust of the world, and the accompanying anxiety.
19. There’s Alot Going On by Vic Mensa (2016)
When it comes to his own mental health, Vic Mensa has been completely transparent. His otherworldly skills as a rapper are matched only by the demons he must face within. Mensa finds solace in his creative pursuits as a means of protecting his sanity and overcoming the effects of past tragedy.
Mensa makes a profound creative statement on “There’s A Lot Going On” by delving deep within himself and confronting his personal issues. Throughout the song, Mensa describes his struggles with mental health and the drugs and alcohol he turned to in order to cope.
20. “Wounds,” by Kid Cudi (2016)
Kid Cudi had a nervous breakdown in 2013 following a failed romance. He had been having problems with prescription drugs, anxiety, melancholy, and suicide thoughts, so in 2016, he made a public announcement that he had checked himself into a rehab center and was receiving treatment. Cudi’s songs frequently reflect his struggle with mental sickness.
Cudi explores the repercussions of various emotional states in “Wounds,” a track from his album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’. In “Wounds,” we see a real artist struggling for their sanity.
21. McMiller’s “Self-Care”
Taking care of ourselves emotionally, spiritually, and mentally is crucial to our overall health. Mac Miller’s “Self-Care” song was much ahead of its time.
When he broke up with Ariana Grande, he wrote this song about the heartbreak he felt. Mac Miller’s life was cut tragically short by the struggles he chronicles on “Self-Care,” including substance abuse, mental illness, and heartache.
Final Words On Rap Songs About Mental Health
These songs shows that anyone is vulnerable to mental health problems and that there is no shame in seeking treatment. If you or someone you know is dealing with a mental health issue, it may be helpful to schedule some time to speak with a therapist or seek online counseling resources.