There are certain songs that just stick in the back of your mind. I will never forget “Suicidal Thoughts” by Biggie Smalls. It completely messed my mind up! Not only from the completely vivid storytelling skills (yes, Biggie is one of the best story tellers in hip hop — but that debate is for another post), but also for the fact that his sincerity made it feel as though he actually did it at the end of the song. This song made me realize something. It made me realize that even successful artists can still have thoughts of ending their lives.
Within the rock genre, it was common to hear of suicides from self-inflicted actions or overdoses. However, you don’t hear about it much within the hip hip realm. In the past, we only heard of Bushwick Bill attempting suicide. In the past year, however, the hip hop culture has lost Don Cornelius, Chris Lighty and more recently Capital Steez and Freddy E to suicide. For the sake of the article, I will keep it on point of dealing with rappers though.
At what point does an artist’s bars stop being lyrical and become lethal? Can an artist’s bars of pain become the fans’ amusement? I remember people telling me that when Eminem got clean, he became “lame” and “boring” to them. We even saw how people enjoyed the train wreck that Amy Winehouse rode until her death. Have hip hop fans put the artists in an awkward position?
On the other hand, would we be limiting the artists? Biggie did die, but it wasn’t from suicide. He went on to make another album and seemed happy (for the most part). Many hip hop artists write what they feel, because their fans feel or are going through those experiences. Sometimes, the transparency of talking about suicide can help people with the problem. Also, speaking on certain taboo topics simply reflect the concept of the song.
Regardless of any opinions, no one should ever end their own life. As fans, we should understand that artists are real people. We should never provoke artists to continue to “walk on the dark side,” when we see that they need help. At the end of the day, we never want an artist to feel like it’s “the end.” Spread The Soup!