By Shawn Kim || Contributing Writer
Although Logic, also known as Robert Bryson Hall III, has already established himself as a well-respected and skilled rapper, he recently took his influence to another level through his most recent album, “Everybody”. Though the album itself is powerful, the song,“1-800-273-8255” especially stands out for its resoundingly profound message about depression and suicide.
The song begins at the hook from the perspective of a caller to the 1-800-273-8255 number (the hotline for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). The caller begins by detailing the dread and excruciating pain of living to the responder; the speaker expresses, “I’ve been on the low / I been taking my time / I feel like I’m out of my mind / It feel like my life ain’t mine” which transitions into the chorus to lament,
“I don’t wanna be alive I don’t wanna be alive I just wanna die today I just wanna die”.
The caller then further confesses, “I never had a place to call my own / I never had a home / Ain’t nobody callin’ my phone / Where you been? Where you at? What’s on your mind? They say every life precious but nobody care about mine”. From this perspective, Logic exposes the reality of depression as one of emotional numbness, unbelonging, and isolation.
However, in the second time the chorus appears, Logic switches the perspective to the person at the other end of the phone, the operator. The operator states,
“I want you to be alive I want you to be alive
You don’t gotta die today You don’t gotta die”.
The operator then states, “ It can be hard / It can be so hard / But you gotta live right now / You got everything to give right now”. The second chorus is closely similar to the first chorus- the rhyme scheme and the syllable count stay the same. However, there is a change from “I don’t wanna be alive” to “I want you to be alive”, a subtle change of paramount value. The nature of this change reflects the nature of depression and suicide- just as a small word change can alter the meaning of the whole chorus, a conversation (or phone call in this case) can save a person’s life.
Though his other songs such as “Under Pressure” and “Till The End” have catchier melodies and lyrics, Logic tweeted that “1-800-273-8255” is “the most important song I’ve ever wrote”, and the statistics support his claim: on the day of the song release (April 28), the NSPL received the “second highest daily call volume in its history, 4,573 calls, an increase of 27% when compared to the average volume of the same day of the week for the past three weeks.
For the MTV Video Music Awards this year, Logic chose to perform this song. He brought out artists such as Alessia Cara and Khalid for his performance, but what was most powerful were the other guests that accompanied him on stage: suicide attempt survivors of all different ethnicities, ages, and genders. CNN reports that after his performance, calls to the lifeline increased by 50%, but John Draper, director of the lifeline states that, “It’s not just about the calls; it’s about increasing awareness about suicide, and suicide prevention in particular. The calls don’t even begin to count the number of people who, just by listening to the song and hearing the lyrics, feel more hopeful and less alone.”.
Logic explains in an interview that he wrote this song after a fan had told him how his previous music had saved his life. He recollects that he thought, “Man I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life” before he had a revelation- “And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happened if I actually did?”. With the recent passing of Chester Bennington and the prevalence of certain artists such as XXXTentacion, who had a suicide scare on social media that was feared to have encouraged the idea of suicide to his fans, discussion about issues such as depression and suicide are vital. Logic has taken a step to abate the stigma of such issues, but much work still needs to be done on our part as a collective society. The influence of social media has never been greater, and it is each of our responsibilities to use it to raise awareness of issues prevalent within our own communities.
If you or somebody you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-8255 and contact a counselor from F&M at 717-544-9051.
First-Year Shawn Kim is a contributing writer. His email firstname.lastname@example.org.