Depression is a reality that transcends social barriers and affects millions of people globally. Although often a taboo topic, depression is a mental health issue that needs to be addressed. One way individuals can open up about their struggles is through music, specifically in rap. Many artists have used their platform to shed light on depression through their lyrics, providing relatable content to individuals suffering from the illness.
This article delves into the world of rap songs about depression, exploring how they address the topic and serve as a medium for mental health advocacy.
“1-800-273-8255” – Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid
Logic’s compelling yet raw song addresses depression, suicide and loneliness in a manner that lauds the value of life; encapsulated with Kendrick Lamar and Khalid’s amazing vocals.
“Everybody’s Something” – Chance The Rapper
Chance The Rapper’s “Everybody’s Something” is a poignant reflection on the mental battles that people face, even when life seems to be going well on the surface. He delves into the complexities of depression, anxiety and self-doubt in a way that is both relatable and honest, without sugar-coating the severity of the issues.
The song’s introspective and melancholic nature evokes intense emotions and serves as a poignant reminder that mental health should be taken seriously.
“Rock Bottom” – Eminem ft. Dina Rae
Eminem’s “Rock Bottom” captures a profound sense of depressive ennui through his candid and deeply introspective lyrics and his distinctive, abrasively raw delivery. The song chronicles the rapper’s struggle with drug addiction and his sense of hopelessness and despair, as he recounts numerous personal and professional failures.
Eminem’s account of his own rock bottom is a stark and unflinching portrayal of the depths of depression, and his willingness to confront his demons in such a public and visceral way is a testament to the power of music as a means of coping with emotional pain.
“Ride” – Twenty One Pilots
“Rock Bottom” is a poignant track by the legendary rapper Eminem that showcases his experiences with depression and addiction, a subject matter that has been a recurrent theme throughout his career. The song portrays the struggle of an individual with mental health issues who finds solace in substance abuse.
With his powerful lyrics and skillful delivery, Eminem manages to capture the raw emotions that come along with depression, making this track one of the must-listen songs for anyone experiencing mental illness.
“U” – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s emotionally charged “U” delves deep into the artist’s psyche, where he retraces past traumas and touches on issues of addiction and depression. The track features intense, introspective verses, punctuated by outbursts of raw emotion and self-doubt.
Lamar’s intense persona and skilled lyricism make “U” a poignant example of a rapper exposing their vulnerability on a track, and an affecting exploration of the negative effects of stardom on mental health.
“Numb” – Linkin Park
The track discusses complex issues surrounding depression, substance abuse and self-destruction. Kendrick sends a poignant and introspective message about his own battles with addiction warning against the dangers of succumbing to the influence.
The song presents a raw narrative, with introspective lyrics and a haunting melody, poignantly representing the bleakness of depression. It’s a candid insight into the personal experiences of one of the most respected rappers of his generation.
“Swimming Pools (Drank)” – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank)” delivers a layered and thought-provoking take on depression. On the surface, its heavy beat and catchy hooks belie the darkness of the lyrics, which detail Kendrick’s struggles with alcoholism and its debilitating effects.
Additionally, the song critiques the societal pressures that drive individuals to drink and the damaging cycle of addiction. Amidst the song’s pulsing rhythms and shifting perspectives, Kendrick imbues “Swimming Pools (Drank)” with an affecting examination of the complexities of mental health.
“The Village” – Wrabel
“Heavy” by Linkin Park ft. Kiiara is a rap-rock ballad that explores the overwhelming weight of emotional pain and depression. The track’s melancholic melody mirrors the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of despair while Kiiara’s haunting vocal adds additional layers of complexity to the song.
The lyrics delve deep into the struggles of depression and the battle to keep fighting, ultimately offering a glimmer of hope as the chorus repeats, “I’m holding on, why is everything so heavy?”
“Hope” – XXXTentacion
“Hope” by XXXTentacion is a melancholic rap song that captures the emotions of depression and the struggle to cope with it. The song’s lyrics depict the feeling of a heavy burden that seems to suffocate and weigh down on the individual. The use of metaphors and analogies adds to the complexity of the lyrics, making it more relatable to those who have experienced the crushing weight of depression.
XXXTentacion’s hauntingly beautiful vocals add to the song’s somber tone and make it a poignant representation of the emotional turmoil associated with depression.
“Carry On” – Fun
“Carry On” by Fun. is a heart-wrenching ballad that speaks to the struggles of life and the desire to press on despite hardships. The song highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity, while acknowledging that life can often be a painful and uncertain journey.
Lead singer Nate Ruess delivers a passionate and emotive performance, capturing the raw emotions of depression with an honesty and vulnerability that is both poignant and inspiring.
“Hurt” – Johnny Cash
The song by Johnny Cash expresses anguish and distress of a person, who has lost everything and everyone in their life. Through melancholic lyrics and a gloomy tune, Cash speaks directly to the listener’s soul, articulating feelings of despair and hopelessness.
Touching upon themes of depression and addiction, the song ‘Hurt’ is a somber yet moving rendition of a person’s feelings of loss and sadness. It conveys a sense of complexity that reflects the multilayered emotions and inner conflict that people going through depression may experience.
“Say You Love Me” – Jessie Ware
Jessie Ware’s “Say You Love Me” is a soulful ballad that deals with themes of sadness and longing. The song’s lyrics explore the feelings of the speaker who desires acknowledgement and comfort from a loved one. Ware’s smooth and emotive voice conveys a sense of vulnerability and heartbreak.
The track’s slow tempo and minimalist instrumentation serve to underscore the mood of despair and isolation that permeates the lyrics. “Say You Love Me” is an affecting and poignant representation of the pain of depression and the search for connection and solace.
“Yesterday” – Atmosphere
“Yesterday” by Atmosphere is a poignant and introspective track that explores the impact of trauma and personal struggles on mental health. The lyrics delve into the themes of anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness, culminating in a raw and emotional examination of the human experience.
With its haunting melody and powerful message, “Yesterday” offers a stirring and relatable perspective on the challenges of navigating mental illness in an often-uncaring world.
“All Too Well” – Taylor Swift
“All Too Well” by Taylor Swift is a beautiful ballad that describes the pain and heartbreak of a past relationship. Though not a rap song, the lyrical depth of the track captures the very essence of depression as Swift’s vocals exhale a bittersweet narrative of love gone wrong.
The poetic genius of the pop icon gives a heart-wrenching description of the emotional turmoil experienced after a significant other leaves and the long-term effects it has on one’s psyche.
“Cigarettes & Loneliness” – Chet Faker
Chet Faker’s “Cigarettes & Loneliness” is a pensive ballad that laments the human longing for connection and the void that often accompanies its absence. The haunting melody is augmented by Faker’s raw and soulful voice, which evokes the kind of emotional anguish that is often associated with depression. The lyrics are introspective and mournful, as they explore themes of solitude, isolation, and heartache.
This song expresses the kind of angst and sorrow that many individuals with depression can relate to, highlighting the importance of music as a medium for emotional expression and catharsis.