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Keep Holding On: 21 Songs To Help Cope With Depression, Heartbreak & Tragedy

VIBE presents 21 songs to help cope with the dark times.

Usually, this would be time to start things off with some flowery metaphor or an inflated opening, but considering the somewhat bleak times we live in, we're just going to be straight up. Suicide and depression is real.

Let’s look at some stats. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death of all Americans. Various new studies (including those from the CDC) have revealed that suicide rates among all races/ethnic groups have been steadily on the rise after 2008, from rural areas to our youth. White men and Native Americans are still leading, though rates among black and latinx citizens have increased at a lower rate. What makes this more even dire, is that on the night of the 2016 presidential election, the phone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reportedly ran a record breaking 660 times.

READ: Hip-Hop Reacts To The Death Of Chester Bennington

The latest high profile tragedy was the death of Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington. The late vocalist reportedly hanged himself in a “private residence” at Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles County. Even sadder, Bennington, who struggled with depression over the years had ended his life on his late friend Chris Cornell’s 53rd birthday. He passed away in the same way that the Soundgarden frontman ended his life this past May.

The late Bennington had always been outspoken about his mental health issues. Not too long before he passed away, he gave fans a message about his current battle, calling it a “bad neighborhood”.

“My whole life, I’ve just felt a little off,” said Bennington. “I find myself getting into these patterns of behavior or thought – especially when I’m stuck up here [in my head]; I like to say that ‘this is like a bad neighborhood, and I should not go walking alone’".

READ: Daddy Yankee On Chester Bennington’s Death: “This Is A Cold And Cruel Industry”

He continued: “Most of my problems are problems that I cause myself. That’s what that song’s about – that time when you consciously look at that. Once you acknowledge what it is, you can separate yourself from it and do something about it, as opposed to just being in it.”

Unfortunately, Bennington would not be the first nor the last musician to end their life because of struggles with mental health. We lost many legendary figures in music such as Kurt Colbain, Captial STEEZ, Donny Hathaway, Paul Williams of the Temptations, and many more as a result. It is as common in the music industry as it is in our own neighborhoods. And ironically, musicians are the ones who often save the lives of those who are going through dire times or face mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts.

Considering how suicide and depression have been more prominent in recent years, it’s high time that the conversation surrounding mental health be taken more seriously. Thankfully, artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi and Logic (though they wouldn’t be the first) among many other musicians have taken great strides to address both their own battles and to bring awareness to help those who fight the same internal war as they do through their stirring music. It is that connecting bond of despair turning into faith that ultimately help save lives.

The late, great Bob Marley said it best: “one good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” In that spirit, VIBE is proud to present a list of 21 songs that we hope might help you and yours cope during those dark and bleak moments. This contains some of the most cathartic songs ranging from upbeat to melancholy, from various genres concerning heartbreak, sadness, depression, suicide, and overcoming all of it.

And remember, if you ever feel the urge or need to talk to someone, please seek a close friend or family member, or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


“Smile” (2017), Wale ft. Phil Ade and Zyla Moon, Shine

“Heartbroken” (1996), Aaliyah, One In A Million

“Tie My Hands” (2008), Lil Wayne ft. Robin Thicke, The Carter III

“Mental Warfare” (2012), Starlito ft. Robin Raynelle, Mental Warfare

“Sinner”  (2016), Phora, With Love

“The Battle Is Not Yours” (1993), Yolanda Adams, Save The World

“Talking To Myself” (2010), Eminem ft. Kobe, Recovery

“Suicidal Thoughts” (1997), The Notorious B.I.G., Ready To Die

“Running Away” (1978), Bob Marley, Kaya

“Breaking The Habit” (2003), Linkin Park, Meteora

“The Vent” (2011), Big K.R.I.T., Return of 4eva

“I’m Sorry” (2016), Joyner Lucas, 508-507-2209

"1-800-273-8255" (2017), Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid, Everybody

“Hold On (Help Is On The Way)” (1996), Whitney Houston, The Preacher's Wife OST

“Imagine Me” (2005), Kirk Franklin, Hero

“Resentment” (2006), Beyoncé, B-Day

“Really Be (Smoking N Drinking)” (2014), YG ft. Kendrick Lamar, My Krazy Life

“I Need A Dollar” (2010), Aloe Blacc, Good Things

“Ex Factor” (1998), Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

“Slippin” (1998), DMX, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot

 “i” (2015), Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

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Genres Aside, Here Are Our 25 Favorite Songs Of 2018

Keeping up with all of the music from 2018 was a full-time job, with loads of songs releasing every week and not enough ears to keep track. But the volume of music comes with an advantage: there’s something for everybody. Fittingly, our list of the 25 Best Songs of 2018 represents the multi-genre mayhem that is in everyone’s playlists this year.

Some of the entries on our list, like cuts by Drake, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, were at the forefront of the conversation in 2018, dominating streaming services and radio around the country. Indie darling Saba made waves, and he’s included here as well. Jazz wizard Kamasi Washington dropped some of the best protest music of the year. But there are also some songs on this year’s list that spoke to the VIBE Tribe in a different way. Cardi B had hits all year, but an album cut impressed us most; Usher and Zaytoven’s new album didn’t make a huge splash commercially, but one of its songs appears here. And Beyonce appears on one of the best songs of the year that never even saw an official release–but that didn’t stop us from including it here.

Music broke the rules this year, and so did we. Read below, and tell us what surprise choices are making your songs of the year list.

READ MORE: Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

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A look back at the collaborator's up and down relationship.
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Remember The Time: 10 Times Drake And Kanye West Were Stronger Together

Kanye West and Drake aren’t exactly in the best place at the moment. West’s Dec. 13 Twitter rant detailed their issues, in which he accuses Drake of “sneak dissing” and threatening him.

“You sneak dissing on [Travis Scott] records and texting Kris [Jenner] talking about how’s the family.” he wrote among many other tweets and allegations against the Scorpion MC.

While this is a bump in the road, the two haven’t always been enemies. Despite the shenanigans surrounding them, Kanye West and Drake have had a very fruitful relationship. All drama aside, the duo have created many memorable moments in hip-hop and pop culture. They’ve written and recorded some incredible songs and shared countless stages during concerts and tours.

To abstain from dwelling on the negativity, VIBE has collected a list of moments taking you through the high points in the rappers’ relationship. Check it out below.


Drake's Freestyles Over Many Beats By 'Ye

Before he was one of the most sought-after rappers in the world, Drizzy has looked up to Kanye West and sampled his work. For “Say What’s Real,” a single off his mixtape So Far Gone, the “In My Feelings” MC sampled Yeezy’s “Say You Will” off of his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak. The admiration continued throughout the years, resulting in more freestyles over songs like “Swagga Like Us” and “Barry Bonds.” Both tracks feature beats created by the Chi-town native. 

‘Thank Me Later’ Proves Their Shared Power 

After meeting in 2009, the duo came together to bring Drake's Thank Me Later album to the next level. They collaborated on two tracks- the futuristic love songs “Show Me A Good Time,” and “Find Your Love.” With West holding down production, deep-pocketed 808’s and table-top scratch sounds were highlighted. The accolades for the latter song resulted in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 charts as they created their own lane.

Drake Calls Kanye “The Most Influential Person”

In a 2009 interview, the then-industry rookie had some nice words for West. Speaking specifically about the 41-year-old’s 808’s and Heartbreak album, the Toronto rapper described ‘Ye as "the most influential person” who was important to young emcees in the game.

"Before I ever got the chance to meet him, Kanye West shaped a lot of what I do, as far as music goes," Drake said. He knows how to utilize great sounds and great music. So before I met him, I had the utmost respect for Kanye West. I'd even go as far as to say he's the most influential person as far as a musician that I'd ever had in my life."

Their Collaborations On Wax 

The pair has been making music together for nearly 10 years, with some standout tracks including “Forever,” the remix to “All Of The Lights,” and “Pop Style.” On their 2017 song “Glow” off of Drake’s playlist More Life, both rappers discuss their growing, limitless success. West was rumored to initially appear on Drizzy’s smash-hit “Nice For What.” He reportedly had a verse on the critically-acclaimed track until the beef between Drake and his G.O.O.D. Music cohort Pusha T became lethal.

The Joint Mixtape That Never Happened

Drake and Kanye are no strangers when it comes to making joint albums with other artists. Drake worked with Future on the platinum-selling album What A Time To Be Alive, while Kanye released Watch The Throne with JAY-Z to critical acclaim. However, it has been hinted for the longest time that the two were working on a full-length album of their own.

Kanye confirmed the plan to release an album with Drake to Vogue in 2016, shortly after hinting at a joint project during OVO Fest. The Take Care rapper co-signed the announcement, saying "What my brother was asking before was, are you ready if we make an album?"

Drake Writing For Kanye’s ‘The Life Of Pablo’

Drake wrote a song for Kanye’s 2016 effort, The Life of Pablo. The Canadian hip-hop star helped pen the Isaac Hayes and Nelly-sampled “30 Hours.” Drizzy was also reportedly on the original, unreleased version of Pablo’s “Wolves,” which featured Icelandic artist Bjork (the album version features Vic Mensa and Sia).

The Duo Become Friendly, Competitive Neighbors

By the time of their initial meeting in 2009, Kanye already clocked in nearly a decade of music industry knowledge, and Drake was making the transition from teen TV star to full-time rapper. But who would have thought the duo would have eventually become actual neighbors?

Drake eventually moved to Calabasas, Calif.- a neighborhood in Los Angeles many celebrities call home- around the same time West began publicly dating his now-wife, Kim Kardashian. In the 2016 bop “Summer Sixteen,” Drizzy jokes, “Now I got a house in LA, now I got a bigger pool than Ye / And look man, Ye’s pool is nice, mine's just bigger's what I’m saying.”


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There goes the neighborhood

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Kanye Supports OVO Fest

Drake created a hip-hop festival called OVO Fest in 2010. Not only does it feature notable acts in urban music, but it also gave a platform to upcoming artists from Canada who might not have gotten a platform back home. Kanye West was one of the first supports of the music event, performing at three of the festivals.

He also admitted that Drake inspired him and JAY-Z to record Watch The Throne during 2013’s OVO Fest, stating, "Me and Hov would've never made Watch the Throne if this ni**a wasn't putting pressure on us like that, so I just wanna pay my respects.”

Kanye Apologizes To Drake Over G.O.O.D. Music Album Rollouts

Earlier this fall, Kanye West apologized to Drake in a series of tweets for planning the rollout of albums by artists under his G.O.O.D music roster around the proposed release of Scorpion.

In one of the tweets, Kanye wrote “Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place. We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.” In another tweet, ‘Ye revealed that he never listened to the diss tracks between him and Pusha, and didn’t have conversations regarding Drake’s child with him.

Let me start by apologizing for stepping on your release date in the first place … We were building a bond and working on music together including squashing the issues with Cudi at our office.

— ye (@kanyewest) September 5, 2018

They Shared Laughs Over Meek Mill Memes

Drake and Meek Mill were in an infamous feud back in 2015. After performing his diss track aimed at Meek- "Back to Back”- at the 2015 OVO Fest, Drizzy, Kanye, and Will Smith enjoyed a laugh over the countless memes mocking the Philly MC.

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VIBE / Nick Rice

Debate Us: The 30 Best Albums Of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for music lovers.

Listeners enjoyed a buffet of diverse melodies, savoring in the choice of curating the tunes they craved as opposed to consuming more than they can digest. Rumored albums from veterans like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter V and The Carters' first joint project battled its way to the top of our personal charts alongside music's innovators like Noname, The Internet, Buddy, and Janelle Monae.

Within that aforementioned list of artists, a new generation of lyricists and vocalists found their footing with fans and critics alike. The rising crop of talent released projects that should motivate each of them to carve out space for forthcoming awards. While we took into account the albums released from Dec. 1, 2017 to Nov. 20, 2018, that moved us emotionally, we also checked off a list of requirements like replay value, overall production, critical reception, and cultural impact.

Here are the 30 albums (in alphabetical order, not ranked), that instilled pride in our culture, made us take a look within, and encouraged us to appreciate music all over again.

READ MORE: 25 Hip-Hop Albums By Bomb Womxn Of 2018

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