Mental Health: Pharoahe Monch Raps About PTSD

Many artists have actually spoke a lot about mental health, or have given examples of their own mental health issues, in their music. As I stated in a previous blog, artists like 2Pac, Biggie, and even The Geto Boys have mentioned much of their mental health issues to a dope beat with impressive rhymes. Yet, so much of it goes/went under the radar. Many of us enjoy the music, yet we never understand how real the issues are. As much as mental health is talked about, much of the message gets lost in translation.

Mental health issues have not gone away, I’m afraid.

In fact, there is one mental disorder that can be labeled as a growing epidemic: PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). PTSD can develop after a person is exposed to one or more traumatic events, such as sexual assault, serious injury, or the threat of death [1]. It needs to be notes, however, that someone does not have to be injured to get PTSD. Being an anxiety disorder, the victim relives that trauma through nightmares or flashbacks [2]. In turn, PTSD is a serious disorder because of the possibility of it happening.

Think about it: a traumatic event happens to, and around, people every day. So, PTSD can either manifest or become triggered every day.

Pharoahe Monch and PTSD

With this anxiety disorder in full prominence due to the consistent air of war (Iraqi and etc.), crime, and other happenings in the world, Pharoahe Monch recently released his album. This album is aptly titled PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). It is filled with stories of depression, angst, confusion, and eventually “mental freedom”. However, most of the musical ride has a very serious tone. With PTSD, Pharoahe Monch gives you the run down on how someone with this anxiety disorder might function.

Pharoahe Monch PTSD promo

Lyrically, the album gives examples of a person’s thought process with PTSD. For example, the track “Time2” actually gets into some serious issues that people with PTSD can possibly face:

Protection orders for my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Molested Mexican daughters, stretch across the border/The streets paved in gold often fade/When the paint they use to pave the streets is henna/And greener is the grass on the other side/Except for when that other side is geno/Or sewer (sui-cide), you smile while you sippin’ a cup of Kahlua/That makes me wanna mainline a fucking fifth of Dewars. [3]

If you noticed in the lyrics, there is a tone of how things are not what they seem. When the truth comes out, all the people that look at America as the “place of greener pasture” realize that the greenery given off may just be fake. Also, there are plenty of “sides” to choose from: genocide, suicide, and even homicide (pun intended). Much of this makes for many people to want to relieve their stress within a bottle. With just a few bars in a rhyme, Pharoahe Monch releases a lot of information.

Pharoahe-Monch-PTSD (1)Yet, Pharoahe gives even more examples of PTSD and how it affects the world around us. On the track “Losing My Mind”, he notes that he “Saw more war than Warsaw Poland/viewed an infant’s insides/outside of his body/inside of a place of worship, ungodly/out cries tears ‘Dear God, where are we?’[4]” With these lyrics, he takes on what a person has seen either in their mind or has come face-to-face with in times of war. Another arousing use of lyrics comes courtesy of “Broken Again”, where he takes on the thoughts of a drug addict:

On the floor going through withdrawals I was itchin’/she rescued me, my heroine to the en/but then she morphed into heroin in a syringe/around my bicep, I would tie a shoestring/Tap! five times to find a vein in there/squeeze 7cc’s so I could see the seven seas/and CC all my friends so they could see what I was seeing/but what they saw was a despicable human being/so, I guess they just wasn’t seeing what I was seeing [5]

In such short time, Pharoahe Monch gives a lot of examples of how PTSD (and even depression, in some cases) affects people.

Pharoahe Monch and the PTSD Conclusion

In the end, Pharoahe Monch made an album that encompasses the issues and occurrences of having PTSD. What I am afraid will happen is that this album, along with those that have PTSD, will be ignored. This is my rallying cry for those that need to understand. With violence, wars, and consistent every day trauma, this album is important. It is about time we listened and helped those with this anxiety disorder.

No one should keep suffering from PTSD without proper help.