Hip Hop is a genre often associated with raw expression and social commentary. Since the success of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's "The Message," a growing number of rappers have opened up about their personal struggles with mental health. Showing vulnerability and authenticity in music has become a means to both heal themselves and connect with listeners facing similar issues.

Songs like Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid's "1-800-273-8255" highlighted the importance of seeking help during times of crisis. Named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, this track explicitly addressed suicidal thoughts and the power of reaching out for support. Logic’s poignant lyrics and the emotional weight carried by Cara and Khalid's vocals provided a powerful message about the significance of mental health awareness and the necessity of accessible resources. Similarly, Kendrick Lamar’s "i" championed self-love and resilience, and urged listeners to find joy and strength within themselves. By repeating the affirmation, "I love myself," Kendrick reinforced the idea that the path to wholeness begins with self-acceptance.

Below lies 17 tracks centered around mental wellness and self-care -- both for its creator and any listener who can relate to the inner struggle. These songs, among many others, serve as reminders that happiness and healing can be a continuous journey, one that involves acknowledgment of reality and embracing the process.

1. Slippin’ – DMX

The raw and introspective “Slippin’” saw DMX recounting his battles with substance abuse, legal troubles, and inner demons. However, the Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood standout wasn’t just a narrative of despair; it was also a call to perseverance and self-awareness. By openly sharing his vulnerabilities and acknowledging his need for change, DMX promoted the idea that recognizing one's struggles is the first step toward healing.

2. 1-800-273-8255 – Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid

Logic's "1-800-273-8255" promoted – and continues to promote – mental wellness and self-care by addressing the critical issue of suicide prevention. Named after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the song featured Alessia Cara and Khalid and served as a direct call for those who are struggling to seek help. The song's chorus, "I want you to be alive," reinforced the message of valuing one's life.

3. Who I Am – The Diplomats

While “Who I Am” was credited to the Diplomats as a whole, it’s Juelz Santana who took over on this emotionally charged cut. From the start, the Harlem representative made his vulnerability known with lines about letting his tears flow, his mother’s support, using music as an escape, and much more. Press play above to hear why Juelz paints “the most vividest pictures” on wax.

4. Juice – Lizzo

Like many of Lizzo’s most notable hits, “Juice” was a feel-good song about loving the skin you’re in. The upbeat offering celebrated self-acceptance and body positivity with the artist embracing her uniqueness and encouraging others to do the same. Lines like, "If I'm shinin', everybody gonna shine, I was born like this, don't even gotta try" highlighted the importance of recognizing one's worth and embracing individuality.

5. Self Care – Mac Miller

“Tell them they can take that bulls**t elsewhere, self-care, I'm treatin' me right, yeah, h**l yeah, we gonna be alright,” Mac Miller rapped on the somber-yet-purposeful “Self Care,” a standout from Swimming. In the wake of personal struggles and public scrutiny, the Pittsburgh star reflected on the necessity of his own wellness, both as a means of healing and as a path to self-discovery.

6. Broski – Krept & Konan

Taken from Revenge Is Sweet, “Broski” was a song about Nyasha “Nash” Chagonda, a business partner who tragically took his own life. In addition to paying tribute to a fallen friend, the heartfelt cut also sent a message to any listeners who may have been dealing with inner turmoil. On the closing verse, Konan rapped, “Sometimes being strong ain't strong enough, to anybody keeping things bottled up, I just want to let you know that you’re not alone, pick up the phone, don't suffer on your own.”

7. Stronger – Kanye West, The-Dream, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin, and Chance The Rapper

Kanye West's "Ultralight Beam" was a transcendent exploration of faith, hope, and inner peace. The song's gospel-infused sound and uplifting lyrics evoked a sense of spiritual renewal and personal reflection. Ye's introspective rhymes and Chance The Rapper's soulful contribution emphasized finding solace in faith and connecting with something greater than oneself. "Ultralight Beam" encouraged listeners to let go of burdens, embrace positivity, and seek spiritual fulfillment as a means to maintain mental well-being.

8. i – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar's affirmations of "I love myself" on “i” served as a mantra for self-care and encouraged listeners to prioritize their mental and emotional health. By addressing themes of self-acceptance and inner strength, the Isley Brothers-sampled offering promoted the importance of cultivating a positive self-image and fostering a robust mindset. The version of “i” that appeared on To Pimp A Butterfly further enhanced the overall vision with some powerful spoken word in the song’s outro.

9. Trials & Tribulations – Ace Hood

Ace Hood's "Trials & Tribulations" was a deeply introspective track that explored the rapper's personal journey through pain, loss, and struggle, all of which was compounded by self-doubt, financial hardships, and the pressures of fame. Despite this, the Floridian talent stayed resilient and persevered through his faith in God and self-determination. By candidly sharing his experiences on the track (and throughout his album of the same name), Ace Hood encouraged listeners to confront their own challenges head-on.

10. Crooked Smile – J. Cole and TLC

In "Crooked Smile," J. Cole used his own imperfect teeth to illustrate a broader message about self-acceptance. With help from TLC, he emphasized that everyone has flaws and imperfections and argued that striving for perfection is futile. Addressing women directly in the first and second verses, Cole encouraged them to embrace their natural beauty and reject pressures to conform. In the third verse, he shifted focus to critique the media's perpetuation of unrealistic beauty standards.

11. Blessings – Chance The Rapper and Jamila Woods

Fueled by the Black Lives Matter movement and the birth of his daughter, Chance The Rapper used “Blessings” to celebrate life's gifts and acknowledge the importance of faith and positivity in overcoming adversity. The Chicago emcee's heartfelt verses reflected on his personal journey and highlighted moments of doubt and hardship before finding solace and strength through God and gratitude.

12. Intro – DaBaby

On the opening track of his album KIRK, DaBaby used "Intro" to introspectively navigate his journey from humble beginnings to newfound fame, all while grappling with personal losses – including the deaths of his father and grandmother. This poignant reflection underscored the importance of self-care and mental wellness amidst life's challenges. The track's departure from his usual subject matter also highlighted DaBaby's growth as an artist.

13. Keep Ya Head Up – 2Pac

2Pac's "Keep Ya Head Up" was mainly a feminist anthem that challenged misogyny and emboldened women with positive affirmations. Pac's lyrics, which included references to pro-choice politics and an assessment of rape culture, highlighted his commitment to tackling real-life issues through his music. In an interview prior to his passing, he emphasized his role in bringing attention to overlooked problems, stating, "Who was writing about Black women before 'Keep Ya Head Up'? Now everybody's got a song about Black women."

14. Beautiful – Eminem

Considered by many as a standout track on Relapse, "Beautiful" was initially penned during Eminem's time in rehab. In an interview with VIBE, Eminem revealed that the melancholy offering was the only song he produced on the album, explaining, "I feel like it’s the best song out of that batch that I did when I wasn’t sober." The song chronicled Eminem's inner turmoil and the impact on his mental health, yet it also embodied a message of resilience and optimism. By the end of the track, Eminem shifted toward hope for the future.

15. Smile – Wale and ADÉ

There is always a reason to smile, which is a point that Wale made clear on his Shine album. In addition to touching on the political landscape at the time, the upbeat offering saw the D.C. talent and longtime collaborator ADÉ celebrating self-love and resilience and encouraging listeners to find joy and inner peace amidst life's challenges.

16. Playing Chess – J Hus

J Hus “Playing Chess” was a confident offering that revealed the rapper’s mindset and approach to life. Specifically, the Beautiful and Brutal Yard closer reflected his experiences in the streets and his unwavering pursuit of success. Through vivid imagery and metaphors, J Hus conveyed the intensity and passion with which he navigates any challenge. The game he played on the track symbolized the strategic moves he made to overcome obstacles and achieve his goals.

17. Cudi Montage – KIDS SEE GHOSTS

KIDS SEE GHOSTS' "Cudi Montage" was a poignant exploration of mental wellness and resilience that featured a haunting sample of Kurt Cobain's "Burn the Rain." Kid Cudi's verses candidly addressed his struggles with depression and addiction, and reflected themes of inner turmoil and the quest for peace. Kanye West's contribution highlighted the destructive cycle of violence caused by a gang mentality and the need for spiritual redemption. Overall, the song promoted self-care by advocating for breaking free from destructive patterns and finding a higher purpose.