Mental health and the UK rap scene

Don't be afraid to reach out if you're currently going through it

Denzil Bell

4 months ago

By Denzil Bell

So today is World Mental Health Day and with me principally covering UK rap as a journalist, this is a topic that doesn’t come up all that often in the music. But I’m sure many of the artists, as well as the consumers have gone through it at one time or another.

In terms of UK rap, roadman culture is synonymous. And although many of the artists don’t glamourise the trauma that comes from living a gangster lifestyle, it’s definitely there. On top of this, hyper-masculinity is heavily associated with our urban culture, which causes a large amount of stigma around the topic of mental health. This stops it from being talked about in the community and instead, a lot of the rappers will used drugs e.g. weed to cope with the pressures of life and the weight of having to keep up a hard exterior, when really and truly you’re feeling like you don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning.

But thankfully things have changed in the last couple of years. In 2017 Stormzy came out and spoke on his struggles with depression during the recording of his debut album, Gang Signs And Prayer. This showed that even the most “macho” spitter in the scene goes through low times. Hopefully over the next couple of years we see more of this in UK rap and with it being World Mental Health Day today, if you are going through it at the moment, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

If you’re looking for someone to contact, click here for the Samaritans.

Words by Denzil BellĀ @akadiddz