Rapping Out the Monsters: Exploring Mental Health Issues In Rap Music
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In our culture, mental illness still exists as a taboo. Although approximately 40,000 people in the United States die from suicide every year, and an even larger number suffer from clinical depression and other mental illness, there is still a stigma attached to discussing these topics despite their prevalence. This thesis observes the ways in which that rap artists engage mental health lyrically, adding to add to the larger conversation of emotional and mood disorders. Because marginalized groups such as adolescents and young adults, the elderly, veterans, and those living in poverty rank as the highest mental illness at-risk population, this study focuses on part of that population; namely, young adults in regards to the average age of rappers, whom additionally account as a marginalized group because of their race and socio-economic status. This thesis uses the unobtrusive method of analysis and qualitative methodology to discuss the ways rappers address mental illness in their music. The findings of this research show that rap artists engage mental illness in three main ways: paranoia; self-hatred, violence, suicide; and through religious allegory.