Rap with a Reason
By: Maria Guinnip ’20
As the orchestra simultaneously grazes their bows against the variety of string instruments, the beginning notes are heard as the number 1-800-273-8255 flashes onto the screens surrounding them. A rapper takes the stage and begins to sway to the melody of his hit song.
On the MTV Video Music Awards, world renowned rapper Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, better known by his stage name Logic, performed his most recent hit, “1-800-273-8255” a title which is also the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
His performance started out like any other with lights and showmanship, but quickly developed into a masterpiece that brought the entire audience to tears.
This chart-topping song provides a sense of support for many, communicating that no one is truly alone in this struggle. Logic’s powerful lyrics takes us into the mind of someone coping with immense depression and thoughts of suicide.
As his performance came to an end, 50 suicide attempt survivors took the stage wearing t-shirts bearing the message “you are not alone” on the back and the hotline number on the front.
Following the song, Logic took a moment to express to the crowd the message behind his music, and how important it is to treat every single human being kindly no matter the circumstances. He thanked the world for giving him a platform to discuss this very sensitive and troubling topic.
He concluded his performance saying: “[I don’t care] if you’re black, white, or any color in between. I don’t care if you’re Christian, you’re Muslim, you’re gay, straight. I am here to fight for your equality because I believe that we are all born equal but not treated equally. And that is why we must fight. We must fight for the equality of every man, woman, and child regardless of race, religion, color, creed, and sexual orientation. So I say here and now if you believe in this message, and my message of peace, love, and positivity, and equality for all, then I demand to rise to your feet and applaud not only for yourselves but for the foundation we are laying for our children.”
Following this speech he received a standing ovation alongside the survivors and collaborators.
Since his VMA performance of “1-800-273-8255” incoming calls to the hotline have doubled.
He brought attention to a serious topic affecting millions around the world and exceeded the boundaries of mainstream music.
His most recent, dense 70-minute album Everybody brings attention to many social issues that need to be addressed but are being disregarded by much of mainstream music. These topics include mental health, domestic violence, mass shootings, drug abuse, racism, indigenous peoples, anxiety, depression, suicide, happiness, money, education, upper and middle and lower class, fear, hate, acceptance, fame, religion, childhood, individuality, peace, love, and positivity.
This album takes a hard look at Logic’s childhood which consisted of narcotics, absent parents, racism, and an inquisition about his identity.
Throughout his life people had criticized him for claiming to be black while having a fair complexion. He is biracial.
“I was going through the craziest anxiety. . . . I made millions of dollars last year, and I was so unhappy. And that just goes to show that money does not make you happy. Success doesn’t make you happy,” said Logic in an interview with Zane Lowe.
Logic’s journey through his own difficulties and his empathy for those who share similar struggles has turned him into a voice for those whose cries might not be heard.