Logic's VMA Performance
Many of us turn to music to lift us up when we’re feeling down. Positive lyrics on a catchy beat can often distract us from what’s on our mind. However, providing this relief for a matter of 3 or 4 minutes can only do so much. In the song “1-800-273-8255,” Logic, Khalid, and Alessia Cara aim to do more.
The song’s title is the phone number of the suicide prevention hotline. The track opens with Logic rapping a very real, intimate verse about feeling suicidal. He mentions feelings of darkness and loneliness that we often avoid in mainstream culture. Suicide isn’t exactly what sells albums, yet Logic’s raw honesty does just that. The detail to which Logic raps about the intensity of suicidal feelings allows listeners to connect with the singer on a deeper level. “I’m hurting deep down but can’t show it, I’ve never had a place to call my own, I never had a home, ain’t nobody calling my phone,” Logic shares in the first verse. These lyrics resonate with listeners who have felt similar things, but haven’t had anyone to tell about it.
Yet the entire song isn’t so negative. In the third verse, Logic delivers a message of hope, saying, “it can be so hard, but you gotta live right now, you got everything to give right now.” Here, Logic speaks directly to his listeners. In April, he tweeted about how several fans have told him that his music has saved their lives. “I’m beyond humbled,” he later tweeted. “But I felt I haven’t done enough. I felt compelled to make a song that could actually help you.” Although suicide may be kept out of the popular media, Logic continued to spread his message. “Who really wants to write a song about suicide, you know? But I was like fuck it, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna make this shit an anthem,” he said in a 2017 interview. With powerful lyrics, talented feature artists Khalid and Alessia Cara, and a beat that gets stuck in your head almost immediately, Logic does just that.
At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Logic performed this song alongside suicide attempt survivors- all of whom were wearing shirts with the suicide hotline phone number. Logic could have easily performed a happier song to appease the crowd and maybe gain some new fans, but instead, he took the opportunity to inform people of a serious cause. Not only did Logic bring such a sensitive issue to millions of people, but he put a face to the struggle, making it more relatable to others.
Artists and actors have immense power over what content is circulated, and thus, acceptable to talk about. As Logic demonstrates, strides are being made to open the conversation about mental health. We now live in a world where you can get help simply by turning on the radio. I commend Logic, Khalid, and Alessia Cara- both for their bravery in releasing this song and for producing such compelling lyrics- and I hope that other artists follow in their tracks.