Charlamagne Tha God Hosts Powerful Talk About Hip-Hop & Mental Health
By Kelly Fisher
August 2, 2023
Charlamagne Tha God sat down with accomplished psychotherapist Elliott Connie for a powerful conversation about mental health and how Hip-Hop helps artists and listeners overcome challenges during the 2023 iHeartRadio Living Black!, which also celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.
“The music and the culture aren’t just our entertainment. Hip-Hop is a soundtrack to our overcoming of the odds. Mental health is a challenge facing our community,” host Jess Hilarious said as she introduced Charlamagne’s segment with Connie, spotlighting Hip-Hop and mental health. Charlamagne predicted two records that people will look back on and refer to them as two of the most important Hip-Hop albums of all time: JAY Z’s 4:44 and Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.
Charlamagne select a few lyrics from the tracks included on each album to talk about with Connie, starting with “Kill Jay Z”: “And you know better…I know you do/ But you gotta do better, boy, you owe it to Blue/ You had no father, you had the armor/ But you got a daughter, gotta get softer”
“First thing I think about when I hear that is accountability,” Connie responded. “I think very often when we talk about the origin of our problems, we use that as an excuse, or at least an explanation, for our current behavior. It doesn’t really matter what the origin of your problem was, what the origin of your behavior is, you’re still accountable to be you.”
Next, Charlamagne reflected on Lamar’s “Father Time” lyrics: “My (expletive) ain't got no daddy, grow up overcompensatin'/ Learn sh*t 'bout bein' a man and disguise it as bein' gangsta”
“As a psychotherapist, we often say, ‘you can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge,’” Connie said. “And he’s talking about how we hide things behind being hard and being gangster. But you’ve gotta speak to that. You gotta acknowledge, ‘this is what I’m doing,’ if I have any intention or ability to do something different.”
When Charlamagne wanted to know Connie’s thoughts about each artist’s music about how the absence of their fathers led to trauma, the psychotherapist replied: “What stood out to me for those people is it didn’t stop there. So, they both talk about their absence of their fathers leading to these issues, and I don’t like the idea that, ‘had fathers been there, then I wouldn’t have problems.’ We all have problems, we just have to sort them out.”
“Hip Hop is aging and growing and we have some people that have been leading it for a very, very long time, and Jay Z is not the same person that he was at 20, so he shouldn’t be saying the same thing,” Connie added later. “And with age comes wisdom. Think about it. Like, at 20, if you gave me a bunch of money at 20, I’m gonna go buy all kinds of frivolous materialistic things, and show it off, but at 46 — and he raps about investing. He’s telling the absolute truth, that what you should do with your money is different. Because now, at 20, I’m gonna hear this icon talk about investing money which makes me much more curious about investing money, and I think it allows me, for the lessons I didn’t get from my father, to get those lessons from someone else I respect and look up to.”
Charlamagne predicted that the next 50 years of Hip-Hop will continue to grow with music spotlighting healing, financial literacy, dealing with traumas and more, and he and Connie are looking ahead to what the next decades will hold for the genre.