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Rap mania. Literally?

January 5, 2011 \pm\31 1:00 pm

It’s time once again to discuss a few topics near and dear to the hearts of WWAATD editors: rap music, criminal law and mental illness.

Pitchfork reports that Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane, recently discussed at great length on HTMLGiant, is in a mental institution. Gucci has been in and out of jail repeatedly for the past two years or so, in part because he keeps violating the terms of his probation. It’s possible that his attorney is simply trying to buy him time to fight a likely probation revocation, or trying to position him to spend the rest of his sentence in a mental facility rather than prison.

Or maybe there really is something wrong with Gucci Mane that we’ve been overlooking. Wikipedia offers the following hallmarks of a manic episode:

[G]rand or extravagant style, or expanded self-esteem; reduced need of sleep (e.g. three hours may be sufficient); talks more often and feels the urge to talk longer; ideas flit through the mind in quick succession, or thoughts race and preoccupy the person; over indulgence in enjoyable behaviors with high risk of a negative outcome (e.g., extravagant shopping, sexual adventures or improbable commercial schemes).

Does that sound like Gucci Mane? Well, aside from the sleep part, it sounds like a lot of rappers, frankly.

It’s possible Gucci is just on drugs. But if he or another rapper were suffering from bipolar disorder, isn’t there a fairly high likelihood that a lot of people would miss the symptoms, chalking them up to wacky arrogant rap star behavior?

I’ve also been thinking about this in connection with YouTube sensation Lil B, a rapper with a very unique style who releases songs on the Internet by the hundreds (the rap blog Cocaine Blunts lists its top 50 Lil B songs here). He popularized the cooking dance and his song titles include “Pretty Bitch” (referring to himself) and “I’m Paris Hilton” (again referring to himself).

Lil B is undeniably creative and unique. However, his extreme productivity, weird stream-of-consciousness-meets-Tourette’s lyrical styling (sample lyric: “hoes suck my dick cause I look like Jesus”), and the fact that he apparently spends 22 hours a day online make me worry that he might be suffering from undiagnosed manic symptoms. Here are some more symptoms, including, worryingly, “clang associations“:  “groupings of words based on their sounds, generally rhyming or partially rhyming, without necessarily having any logical reason to be put together.”

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One Comment
  1. January 5, 2011 \pm\31 5:19 pm 5:19 pm

    it’s true, i do love reading psych wiki pages and committing misdemeanors while listening to southern rap.

    what i have found funny about psychology is you can show symptoms of an ‘illness’ but you are only diagnosed if those symptoms interfere with you ‘leading a normal life’. but what’s a normal life.

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