Mental Daily unveils its top Black urban musicians who’ve spoken out about mental health


Last month, the New York music magazine The Source published a story on the lack of public acknowledgment of mental health issues in the urban music industry. According to The Source, important social issues, like mental health, are commonly discussed in almost all mainstream music cultures except for the hip-hop industry.

The psychology website Mental Daily, created by health and digital culture writer Jose Florez, listed its top five Black urban musicians who’ve spoken about mental health issues. As listed in The Source, these five urban musicians have publicly addressed the issue of mental health. The following list is not in any rank order.

  1. Charles Hamilton

New York-born urban musician Hamilton was introduced to music at a young age by his mother who was employed as an entertainment reporter. As The Source writes, Hamilton began to experience mental health problems during his first business collaboration with the music company Interscope Records.

Upon experiencing depression and other types of mental health issues, Hamilton was able to overcome his struggles, re-entering the music industry after having lost a record deal with Interscope. In an interview with Billboard magazine, Hamilton explained: “I wanted to commit career suicide, physical suicide, spiritual suicide ― I didn’t care anymore.”

  1. Mark Battles

Battles began a career in music following the tragic death of his sibling while on their way to Pike High School in Indiana. During the most recent active years of his career, Battles released numerous music albums. He has also collaborated with infamous music executives No ID and Kevin Lee.

In a music track released by Battles titled “The Truth,” he addresses mental health through the help of a director named Jakob Owens. The music video depicts numerous mental health topics, including anxiety and addiction.

  1. YG

YG began to speak out about his mental health issues after being shot three times by an unknown gunman upon visiting a civilian neighborhood. In 2016, VICE released a video with a therapist named Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh. The media segment was titled “YG and the Therapist” and addressed the shooting incident. In addition to the shooting, YG has also spoken out about alcohol addiction and other health problems.

  1. Kendrick Lamar

Both The Source and Mental Daily featured Lamar in its list. The Compton artist has addressed mental health in more than one music album. In an interview talking about his album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Lamar spoke out about depression, alcoholism, and anxiety. The Pulitzer Prize-winning artist Lamar is the highest-profile and most powerful urban figure in the list to have publicly acknowledged mental illness.

  1. Vic Mensa

Mensa is an urban musician based in Chicago. He secured a business deal with the music label Roc Nation during the early part of his career. At the height of his fame, Mensa addressed addiction, including his problems with the use of Adderall and antidepressants. After becoming an established urban musician for Roc Nation, Mensa has spoken out more than once about mental illness and is one of the highest-profile figures so far to do so.