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20 Rap Songs That Address Mental Health & Depression

Some would think that celebrities live beautiful and perfect life, but some of us don’t realize that they are human and feel how we all do. This is why there are a lot of sad songs that are made by singers who are personally experiencing hardships in their lives. 

Here’s a list of 35 amazingly heartfelt and incredibly honest songs that could help us understand anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. These songs give us the strength to live with our own daily battles with mental health.

1. “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes

This song makes us more aware of the struggles people with anxiety are going through. If you are someone diagnosed with anxiety disorder or someone who is feeling down and anxious, music can help us realize that we may be feeling this way. These songs remind us that we’ll get through it and that there is always someone who can understand.

2. “Breathin” by Ariana Grande

This song explains how you can still be anxious while doing something you’ve always done before. Ariana has been doing music for years now and she still can have anxiety attacks while doing what she loves to do. The thing about anxiety is that it can happen to you at any moment, in any situation, it doesn’t matter if there’s a reason for it or not.

3. “Sober” by Demi Lovato

Lovato called the song “My truth…” in a tweet as she shared a clip of the music video for the song “Sober.” It is a song that is so direct and honest. It is her message of apology to all the people who saw and followed her battles with mental health, including her family, friends, and fans. It showcases what she is still going through and how hard it is for her knowing that a lot of people are rooting for her. Demi is no doubt one of the strongest artists I know. She holds on and fights for the better after a very difficult and long battle with her mental health.

4. “Save Myself” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has created some of the most beautiful love songs of this generation. But this song, in particular, is more sad and emotional. It is about giving so much to other people and into the world and forgetting about yourself in the process. It is a beautiful song that can help us realize that in this world which, sometimes, can try to bring us down and ask so much of us, we also need to take care of ourselves and prioritize our own happiness.

5. “Perfect” by Anne-Marie

In this day and age, people tend to give so much attention to physical appearances because of how easy it is to compare each other on social media. We often feel bad about how we’re not meeting society’s standard of beauty. We tend to feel like we’re never going to be enough for the world that we live in.

6. Crucify” by Tori Amos

Amos’ poetic, confessional lyrics are open to many interpretations, but if you have social anxiety, you may find plenty to identify with in “Crucify.”

The opening lines, “Every finger in the room is pointing at me,” might resonate if you’ve ever entered a room feeling self-conscious, only to feel as if a spotlight has suddenly snapped on to illuminate you further.

7. The Fear” by The Shins

Anxiety doesn’t always have a clear trigger. Sometimes it’s just a pressing fear you live with, a “fear of all the stupid things” you could feel.

8. “The Young Thousands” by the Mountain Goats

Living with anxiety often means grappling with fears of what the future holds. You might often feel consumed by “the things you’ve got coming,” as John Darnielle sings.

Maybe the worry and stress you experience leaves you with a “dull pain” that never seems to recede, or your brain sometimes feels like a closet where you’ve stashed videotapes of anxiety-inducing memories, or “sordid little scenes in living color.”

9. Map of the Problematique” by Muse

There’s no denying that anxiety can often leave you feeling isolated and lonely, especially when you get caught up in a cycle of worry and rumination.

This song conveys the frustration you might face when you feel as if every choice you make is the wrong one. Various possibilities play out and seem to pass you by as you struggle to find a way to escape feelings of fear, panic, and despair.

10. Concertina” by Tori Amos

Amos has explained in interviews that this song highlights her own experience with social anxiety, or walking into a room and feeling “so uncomfortable you’re crawling out of your skin, even though nobody’s touched you.”

The lyrics “a fever above my waist” and “a chill that bends” might describe the sweating and chills that often accompany anxiety, while “you’re the fiercest calm I’ve been in” seems to address anxiety directly.

11. Basket Case” by Green Day

If you turned on the radio once or twice in the late ’90s and early 2000s, you’ve probably heard this song before.

Vocalist and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong has stated he wrote this song to cope with feelings of anxiety and panic he experienced before eventually receiving a diagnosis of panic disorder.

12. Paperbag Writer” by Radiohead

The opening line, “Blow into this paper bag,” evokes someone trying to manage feelings of panic, as breathing into a paper bag has long been upheld as a helpful technique for the hyperventilation that can happen during anxiety and panic attacks.

“Take your armor off, you’re not under attack” illustrates the key symptom of panic attacks: an overwhelming perception of fear that doesn’t relate to any real threat.

13. Tupac — “So Many Tears” (1995)

Tupac was one of the most compelling personalities that hip-hop has ever produced. His influence still reverberates within the culture. On his seminal third album, Me Against The World, he deals with all of the emotion of the human experience, exposing his innermost feelings like never before against the backdrop of an impending prison sentence.

14. DMX — “Slippin’” (1998)

Over the course of his career, DMX has had his fair share of battles — struggling with drug addiction, alcoholism, paranoia, and manic depression.

15. Eminem — “Beautiful” (2009)

“Beautiful” is a single from Eminem’s sixth studio album Relapse. He first began to compose the song during a stint in rehab in 2005 to deal with his addiction to sleeping medication.

16. Chance the Rapper & Nico Segal — “Long Time II” (2012)

Chance the Rapper wears his faith on his sleeve and is unapologetic about it. But even people of faith are not exempt from the highs and lows that come with the emotional rollercoaster of life.

17. Joe Budden & Emanny – “Only Human” (2015)

Before he became a media star, Joe Budden was a formidable and highly respected MC in hip-hop. Always an open book, he bore his soul on “Only Human.”  From his Some Love Lost EP, “Only Human” was recorded the day after he was released from jail, detailing his struggle with his mental state.

18. Earl Sweatshirt — “Grief” (2015)

Grief has no expiration date.  Death is very much a part of life, a lesson that everyone has to learn, and there is no escaping this reality. The best we can do is simply manage grief from day to day, moment to moment.

19. Kendrick Lamar — “​u” (2015)

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most heralded MCs in hip-hop. His lyrical ingenuity allows him to address a plethora of subjects with nuance and vivid insight. Featured on his highly acclaimed LP To Pimp A Butterfly, “u” explores his previous encounters with depression, suicidal thoughts, and survivor’s guilt.

20. Vic Mensa — “There’s Alot Going On” (2016)

Vic Mensa has been an open book about his struggles with mental health. His other-worldly talent as an MC is only matched by the internal forces that he constantly wrestles with. For Mensa, his artistic expression helps him to combat psychological trauma and to keep his sanity.

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