Kendrick Lamar makes no attempt to hide from his battles with mental health. To Pimp A Butterfly is essentially his couch while we the listeners play therapists; pens in hand while observing his every word choice. Kaiser Permanente took notice of this as well and they’re now incorporating hip hop’s resident poet laureate’s lyrics to express the importance of mental health awareness.
Walking along a trail, a young boy recites “i” in a docile tone as part of the healthcare company’s Find Your Words campaign. The ad ends with the phrase, “Depression is hard to put in words,” which is more than just a clever tagline. While Lamar was able to succinctly channel his emotion in the aforementioned song, it’s not easy for everyone nor do we all have the same outlet he has.
Sometimes it takes a song or just one lyric in one verse to summarize how we’re feeling, to say nothing of the fact of how hard it is to even speak to someone else when we’re feeling down. K. Dot managed to bottle all of that pain, fear, anger, and every other little nasty emotion that comes along with feeling blah.
Whether you’re with Kaiser or another healthcare provider, do yourself an immense favor and use the mental professionals at your disposal. There’s nothing wrong with needing help and certainly nothing wrong with admitting it but it starts with, well, “u.” I go to a therapist once a month and have for almost four years now.
It worked when I found myself on the mat for the 10-count battling depression and continues to work now that I’ve landed a knockout blow and raised my hands in victory. Even when you’re walking on sunshine, it helps to have a pro in your corner, even if it’s just to listen to you venting.
Lamar isn’t the first rapper to discuss these mental issues. The Geto Boys made a career out of it, Tupac’s music is filled with it, and we’ve already touched on DMX. The irony lies in hip hop’s alpha mentality that sometimes limits a person’s ability to ask for help. Not everyone has the courage Kid Cudi has to get help and admit it to the world on one of the largest social media platforms.
Props to him for that and props to anyone else who’s found themselves in a similar situation. King Kendrick found the words so you could find yours.