Logic’s Recent Hit Carries Real Social Impact

Logic may have already been a star in the hip-hop world when his third studio album, Everybody, debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart this past May. But for reasons beyond music, the 27-year-old rapper reached new fame and acclaim after his performance of the hit song, “1-800-273-8255,” at August’s MTV Video Music Awards.

Logic, whose birth name is Robert Bryson Hall II, grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in a biracial family (white mother and black father), which he says has caused him to be treated differently by both races. Everybody’s hit song “1-800-273-8255” takes its title from the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Although the messages in Logic’s music address suicide and depression, this particular song deals directly with issues of feeling alone and trapped in a world in which you feel that you don’t belong.

The song, known as “1-800” for short, which also features Alessia Cara and Khalid, rose to #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 list, making it the highest charting song of Logic’s career. Since the MTV VMAs performance, it has also become a sort of anthem for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Logic has often cited his own identity struggles while growing up as being the backdrop and reasoning behind writing the song, as well as many others on the record. “I was born to make this album,” he said in a May interview with NPR’s David Greene. Logic has spoken bluntly about his family, specifically his mother, who often peppered her son with racial slurs, and his father, who was a habitual drug user. “I’ve never rapped about it,” he told Greene. “I was always afraid to do so.”

 
Logic. Photo by Alex J. Etling

Logic. Photo by Alex J. Etling

 

Logic has also been open about his own mental health struggles, including being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and depression. “I was so scared because I thought I had to work, work, work, because I might only be around for five years,” he told Teen Vogue in October.

In a time where mental health seems to be at the forefront of news stories and political debates, Logic’s song both sends a message of hope and includes a very real resource for people to utilize. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Mental Health Association of New York City launched the Lifeline on January 1, 2005. Since then, the service has been a world leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care. It has also launched a variety of programs to help improve suicide prevention initiatives, as well as looking at best practices for getting its message out. Still, no one could have guessed that the most effective method would be a Top 40 rap song.

“…I’m really excited and happy to know that a single song from the album is really shedding light on who I am, and the message I spread as a whole.”

The song is filled with interjections of the question, “Who can relate?” and it seems that a lot of people can relate to Logic and struggles with mental health issues. After “1-800” was released as a single on April 28, according to statistics provided by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the service received the second highest daily call volume in its history: 4,573 calls, many of them citing the song as their reason for finally reaching out. In the months since its release, the Lifeline has seen a 27% increase in call volume, while its Facebook page has had three times more hits than previously, and Google searches for the Lifeline’s number have spiked by more than 100%. Immediately after Logic’s MTV VMAs performance, call volume increased by 50%.

In an August interview with Newsweek, Logic addressed the song’s role in the Lifeline’s increased activity: “That makes me feel so good, just because to know there are people out there that could be hurting or uneducated or not knowing of a place or people that they can talk to … it really makes me feel so happy to know that I’m using my platform to make an impact.”

As a result of “1-800,” Logic is now known as “the rapper with a message,” and he is using this new status as a way to reach people through his music. “But this song, and whatever is happening with it right now, is really opening people’s eyes to then go and listen to the album as a whole and realize that there’s so much more than this,” he said in the Newsweek interview. “I have an entire song called ‘Anxiety.’ I got a song about racism from every end. I got songs about being broke, being on welfare, being poor, Section 8. It literally goes on and on, and I’m really excited and happy to know that a single song from the album is really shedding light on who I am, and the message I spread as a whole.”

By addressing suicide and depression thoughtfully and creatively, Logic has kicked open the pop culture door for consideration of mental health issues. In the process, he has inspired many to seek help, find hope, and hopefully take control of their own situations.

If you, or anyone you know, may be at risk of suicide, just like in the song, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 
Logic. Photo by Alex J. Etling

Logic. Photo by Alex J. Etling

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