In recent years, mental health has become much less of a taboo topic. In fact, even various hip-hop artists and rappers have spoken out about their own experiences and struggles with different mental health issues. Below, find quotes from Jay‑Z, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Kendrick Lamar addressing the ways that mental health disorders have impacted their lives.
Jay‑Z and the Importance of Therapy
An American rapper, songwriter, record executive, businessman, and record producer, Jay‑Z is often referred to as one of the best rappers of all time, as well as one of the most influential hip-hop artists throughout history. But even this level of success doesn’t guarantee good mental health, and Jay‑Z hasn’t been shy when it comes to talking about just how important therapy can be.
Jay‑Z has addressed the stigma against therapy in black communities, saying, “We can’t go to get therapists. You crazy at that point. It’s like, ‘A psychiatrist? You crazy.’” He went on to explain why it shouldn’t be that way: “Three of your brothers are dead and your mother used to beat you. You need help. Someone needs to talk you through why you’re feeling these feelings.”
Kanye West and His Bipolar Disorder Diagnosis
Not only is Kanye West extremely well-known for his music and clothing line, but his marriage to Kim Kardashian propelled his fame to unprecedented heights. Over the years, West has been open about his diagnosis with bipolar disorder, explaining that “it’s not a disability, it’s a superpower.”
Kanye West has also spoken out about the way that people with mental health disorders are treated in society: “It’s like having a sprained ankle. With us, once our brain gets on the point of spraining, people do everything to make it worse.” He went on to say, “When you get the stigma of crazy … they love to write you off. They love to cut your sentences off halfway. What you say doesn’t mean as much. People are allowed to say anything negative about mental health challenges and discriminate in any way.” Luckily, Kanye West has been able to receive the help he needs and also embraces spirituality as a way of handling his bipolar disorder.
Kid Cudi and His Struggles with Anxiety and Depression
Mentored by Kanye West, Kid Cudi rose to fame in early 2008 and has stayed there ever since. He hasn’t shied away from speaking out about mental health topics, especially his own challenges in handling anxiety and depression. “My anxiety and depression have ruled my life for as long as I can remember… I don’t know what peace feels like,” Kid Cudi once said in an attempt to show that even those who are hugely successful can also experience mental health disorders. It’s amazing to hear rappers speaking out about anxiety and depression, which are two of the most common mental health disorders; anxiety is characterized by intense, irrational worry and nervousness (to take a free anxiety assessment, go to Mind Diagnostics), while depression is hallmarked by a feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in life. Kid Cudi has explored the effects of anxiety and depression in his music and in interviews; he’s even been quoted in a psychology textbook!
Kendrick Lamar, Mental Health, and Vulnerability
The rapper, songwriter, and record producer has spoken out about his own depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as his struggles to accept change. Speaking of his 2012 record Good Kid M.A.A.D City, he said, “Nothing was as vulnerable as that record. So it’s even pulling from those experiences of coming up in Compton. It’s pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change — that’s the hardest thing for man, accepting change.” Lamar has since spoken out about the ways that growing up in a violent community can have lasting effects on mental health, and the importance of getting help to work through those effects.