I gotta maintain/'Cause stress on the brain/Can lead to a motherfuckin' suicide thang... —Big Noyd
RIP to Seattle native, rapper/poet/comic/YouTube star Freddy E, who sadly took his own life, after taking to Twitter to express his last words. The much-viewed YouTube channel for his JerkTV series is full of Freddy's hyperactive comic monologues, skits, and commercials for parties at Seattle clubs—but most striking among this stream are his spoken-word videos, where he opens up nakedly, grieving the loss of friendships and showing the day-to-day struggles many of us know well.
This is barely two weeks after New York rapper Capital Steez—a mainstay of the "Beast Coast" Pro Era crew that up-and-comer Joey Bada$$ belongs to, as well—apparently committed suicide himself. RIP. His last tweet simply said "The end." There's something very chilling and sad in seeing these 21st-century suicide notes, these young men's pain crystallized in these Twitter timelines, tragedy seemingly frozen in the digital world forever.
Christ, I just remembered about industry veteran Chris Lighty's apparent suicide. Which makes me think about actual veteran and active military suicide rates, which are fucked.
Now, I didn't know Freddy or Steez—but I want to take this moment to send some love to both of these young men's families and their friends, even if they never see this; my thoughts are with them, and furthermore, with all of us. We don't talk about suicide in this culture, we don't think about mental health, we don't often enough acknowledge how many people take their own lives, feeling impossibly alone and without hope. We talk about the stress of surviving, about extreme loss, but in rap, it's just "keep your head up"—and please, for the love of god, do just that. Way up. Breathe. Look up at the sky, the stars, think about your universe, strive for some perspective when it feels like the walls are closing in. Exercise, go outside, eat better, sleep better, maybe put down the shit that fucks your brain chemistry all up—especially if you're young enough that your brain is still developing.
But, most importantly, talk to somebody. Don't be afraid to tell somebody close to you what you're feeling; don't be afraid to tell somebody, period. Call a hotline and talk to somebody—and there's a ton of them in Western Washington alone, not to mention all the national ones. Shit, you can e-mail me if you want. We all been through pain. Don't think I haven't been there myself. Hit me up. If you want, I'll send you a link to the beautiful and very touching new video for Lil B's "I Love You," or even show it to you on my phone. I know it made me feel better today. "I made this for all my people that's alive right now," he says, "'cause sometimes, man, I feel dead, we all feel dead." Or maybe you don't like Based God, and that's cool. Listen to some 2Pac or whatever gives you power and motivation—and remember that you're not alone. Love.