Rapper Kendrick Lamar has had a meteoric rise to the top both critically and financially. With being from Comptom, CA, the celebrated young rapper, 29, is quickly becoming a household name when it comes to music. But despite many of his accolades, Kendrick still has a number of battles he has to face–many of them dealing with depression and what he would call his innermost demons.
In fact, Kendrick really opened up when discussing the song “u” off of his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly. In the emotional track, Lamar discusses his inner demons, rapping, “I know your secrets… I know depression is restin’ on your heart for two reasons… And if this bottle could talk I cry myself to sleep / B—- everything is your fault… Shoulda killed yo a– a long time ago / You shoulda feeled that black revolver blast a long time ago / And if those mirrors could talk it would say ‘you gotta go’ / And if I told your secrets / The world’ll know money can’t stop a suicidal weakness.”
“I’ve pulled that song not only from previous experiences, but, I think my whole life, I think everything is drawn out of that. Even situations from Good Kid M.A.A.D City…” Lamar said, naming his smash hit 2012 album that launched his career. “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.”
The integrated health conglomerate Kaiser-Permanente repurposed some of Kendrick’s rhymes in an ad encouraging people to be more forthcoming about discussing the illness in order to break the stigma around it.
In the 90-second spot, a young black boy wanders around a desolate cityscape. His melancholy recital of Lamar’s words is superimposed as a voiceover.
“I’ve been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent,” the boy rhymes through Lamar’s lyrics. “Duckin’ every other blessin’, I can never see the message.”
“Nothing was as vulnerable as that record,” he said. “It’s pulling from the experience of going through change and accepting change — that’s the hardest thing for man, accepting change.”
Nearly 15 million Americans suffer from depression, Kaiser says, but many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to get help because of ongoing stigmas around mental health — particularly among black communities, where resources tend to be more limited.
The ad comes not long after Kid Cudi, one of Lamar’s industry peers, announced in a powerful note to fans that he had checked himself into rehab for depression.
The decision was credited with sparking a much-needed conversation about mental wellness in the black community and drew an outpouring of support from well-wishers.
“It’s real, man,” the Grammy winner continued. “Three of my homeboys [one] summer was murdered, close ones too, not just somebody that I hear about. These people I grew up with. It all, psychologically, it messes your brain up. You live in this life, you know what I’m saying, but you still have to face realities of this. I gotta get back off that tour bus and go to these funerals… Talk to my mom and talk to their aunties — the kids that lost their lives.”
Professionals in the mental health arena have noticed this and have shared how it can help others who may feel the same way.
Hip Hop Psych co-founders Dr Akeem Sule and Dr Becky Inkster created a unique project which aims to…