Mental Health Guest Posts

Hip Hop and Survivor’s Guilt [Part 4]

When certain artists do reach a more affluent position in their lives, selling out shows and touring around the world, their childhood relationships suffer and it sometimes leaves them with the tormenting question. Why me?

SURVIVIOR’S GUILT

Another mentally scarring trauma that many artists suffer from is that of survivor’s guilt.

Despite now being a mainstream genre, where artists are able to make millions through their music, many artists that achieve fame or stardom still come from a background of deprived neighborhoods and broken homes. When certain artists do reach a more affluent position in their lives, selling out shows and touring around the world, their childhood relationships suffer and it sometimes leaves them with the tormenting question.

Why me?

“You ain’t no brother, you ain’t no disciple, you ain’t no friend/ A friend never leave Compton for profit or leave his best friend.”

Kendrick Lamar raps those words on, ‘U’, a track on his Grammy-winning album, To Pimp A Butterfly. U is an incredibly dark and somber track where Kendrick exposes the negative thoughts that plague his mind. His lyrics paint his grievance over the sentiments he faces as a success story from the streets of Compton. Kendrick has not only gained success while his friends did not, he also grew up watching many die while he was able to make it alive and sell records on the stories he told of his upbringing.

Kendrick Lamar is a revelation and now the voice for a generation. However, through his music it is clear he is haunted by a sense of shame for ‘making it’, adding to his confessed depression.

Likewise, in an interview with Power 106 Los Angeles, rapper Goldlink stated,

“We all cut from the same cloth, it’s just like why us?”

It is this very sentiment that plagues many successful artists, leading them to either a state of greater depression or it manifests into manic paranoia as they feel they are unable to trust people, due to jealousy and envy ruining many childhood relationships.

Survivor’s guilt is a unique phenomena and I feel what might makes it even more alienating for those suffering from it, is the fact that so few are able to empathize since only a select few go through a similar experience.

More money, more problems? Maybe there is some truth to that.

On the other hand, certain artists choose to tackle their mental state from a completely different angle.

Written by Ali Humayun


Liked this? Take a look at these:

A Rap State of Mind: Hip Hop and Mental Health [Part 1]

Hip Hop and Depression [Part 2]

Hip Hop and Addiction [Part 3]

Hip Hop, Self-Empowerment, and the Law of Attraction

Beyond The Bars


 

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