Hip-Hop Lets The Mentally Excluded Speak Part 1
What happens when the school system collaborates with clinical psychology and develops another way to keep children on the outside, away from the “able”? Apparently, the impact of this cooperative has been revealed in the conversations of Hip-Hop. Two artists in particular have intrigued me as they are representatives of generation Y; the age of the cure in pill form, designed to weaken some disorder. Kendrick Lamar and Hopsin—who I will discuss in part two of this next week—each expose the cultural bias and the creation of an outsider perspective that the partnership-- of education and psychology--have birthed.
From people that have gone to a Kendrick Lamar concert, I’ve heard that he opens up about being diagnosed at a young age with AD-HD. It seems, judging from the title of the song “A.D.H.D.”, that this diagnosis has spawned a critique that now has expression. Certainly the song embodies a redefinition, which the title alone changes a clinical disorder into an acronym. I’m Still working on what each letter means, but the lyrics give some hint that Kendrick wishes to really show what AD-HD is.
Kendrick blames the lived experience of “Section 80”, or growing up as an 80’s baby, for the increase in the availability and recreational use of drugs. Alienation seems to be at the heart of the song, as if to imply that exclusion makes us desire trippy experiences:
Man, I swear/My nigga trippin off that shit again/Pick him up, then I set him in/Cold water, then I order someone to bring him vicodin/Hope to take the pain away/From the feeling that he feel today/You know when you part of Section 80/Feel like no one can relate/Cause you are, you are/A loner, loner/Marijuana, endorphins/Make you stronger, stronger
A friend of Kendrick’s gets himself messed up, probably like he does on the usual, but Kendrick understands that his friend resorts to drugs because of some pain from the lived experience. There is something to being a loner, to being abandoned, that gives generation Y its identity. The sorrow of the song links to, ironically, the lack of resources that the new generation has to overcome their social problems and the diverse selection of drugs to temporarily forget about the pain.
Perhaps then Kendrick’s new definition of AD-HD as A.D.H.D creates a spectacle of the system’s efforts to push kids out of the normal population. In other words, while failure to meet the expectations of a biased learning curve labels someone as clinically abnormal, Kendrick sees a resemblance between what an inability to demonstrate normal thinking means and what an inability to improve the social condition means. A.D.H.D. challenges the dividing line that kept Kendrick outside, because he supposedly had AD-HD, and makes it clear that his disorder is a smaller version of the disorder in the system that pushed him out.
The kids that were at the other end of the school have emerged in Hip Hop, much more articulate than any previous pariah. Our limits in terms of thought have been destroyed thanks to the unending divisions of oppression. If the “disabled” have arrived before the production of literature, by way of Hip-Hop, there is much more knowledge to be distributed to other subjugated peoples.