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25: Slowthai

Photo By DSTNGR

“Tough lad and I always put a face on, told me already that leopards can't change spots…”

The relationship between mental health and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is intricate. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the ability to focus, regulate emotions, and control impulsive behavior. Accompanying mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder are also common amongst people with the condition.The symptoms can include low self-esteem, poor self-image, and inability to manage stress. Social difficulties, such as maintaining relationships and making friends, may also be experienced. As a result of the symptoms, stress can increase, and mental health issues can become worse. Medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, and a healthy diet can help with ADHD. Individuals may also benefit from learning coping mechanisms, such as mindfulness and organisational skills to manage their symptoms. Not everybody requires this. Some people would prefer accept the condition than "fix" it, like Slowthai, who is just getting started.

Known by the stage name Slowthai, Tyron Kaymone Frampton is a British rapper and songwriter who has publicly spoken about his struggles with ADHD. Originally from Northampton, England, Slowthai's music has a gritty and raw sound, with lyrics that deal with poverty, social inequality, and mental health. As a child it had impacted his ability to pay attention and concentrate, giving him the  nickname of “Slow Ty”. Although he believes ADHD has contributed to his creativity  on stage, he also believes it has contributed to the energy of his performance.

"It's like a superpower in a sense, because it allows me to be in the moment without any preconceptions or expectations."

Music has played a major role in documenting his struggles. He raps about the need for medication to control his ADHD in "Inglorious," a song about feeling like he is "losing my mind". In addition to being able to stay focused on work, he has also spoken about how the disorder has affected his relationships.

As Slowthai rose to fame in 2018, he released "Jiggle", "T N Biscuits," and "Drug Dealer," all of which gained popularity on social media. Slowthai's rapping style is heavily influenced by grime and punk, which are often considered to be two different genres mixed together. Punk music culture and ADHD have been connected through a number of mediums. Due to the scene's emphasis on uniqueness, non-conformity, and anti-authoritarianism, people with ADHD often identify with the punk movement. Punk music is especially appealing due to its quick tempo and great intensity, as they may benefit from stimulation and excitement. In the punk scene, it's frequently seen as a strength rather than a flaw. Band members from the likes of Green Day and NOFX have notably been candid about their experiences. Punk music has also addressed issues with the disorder, such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and difficulties concentrating. There is, however, a link between ADHD and punk culture that is not universal. Not all enjoy the punk element of culture. Moreover, it is important to recognize that ADHD is a clinical disorder that can significantly impact an individual's daily life and should not be romanticized or trivialized. The dark side of the disorder can appear unforeseen and cause major disruption and chaos in the vicinity.

As a debut artist, Slowthai released his debut album, "Nothing Great About Britain", which received critical acclaim and was nominated for a Mercury Prize, one of the UK's most prestigious music awards. Skepta, Mura Masa, and Jaykae collaborated on the album, which includes tracks like "Doorman", "Peace of Mind", and "Northampton's Child". Throughout the album, Slowthai explores themes like nationalism, class struggle, and personal growth, delivering hard-hitting lyrics with a distinctive flow.

"TYRON," Slowthai's second album, was released in 2021 and once again garnered a plethora of positive reviews. The album includes songs like "CANCELLED," "MAZZA," and "NHS" as well as collaborations with musicians like A$AP Rocky, Dominic Fike, and James Blake. The album bears Slowthai's birth name and exhibits a more intimate side of the rapper, with lyrics that discuss his upbringing, relationships, and battles with mental health.

Cover Art for Slowthai's "TYRON"

Slowthai is renowned for his political activities and outspoken demeanour in addition to his music. He has spoken out on topics like racial inequality, Brexit, and how the UK government managed the COVID-19 pandemic. When Slowthai performed at the Mercury Lounge in 2019, he grabbed attention by holding up an effigy of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's severed head.

Slowthai at the Mercury Prize 2019

His third album was generally praised by music critics. The lyrics of the album, which deal with such issues as self-identity and social inequality, were praised by many. Its production was also lauded, with critics noting its blend of grime, punk, and hip-hop. Slowthai's "Ugly" is considered a standout release and a bold and uncompromising statement from an artist who doesn't back down from speaking his mind.

Cover Art for Slowthai's "UGLY"

However, there were some that didn’t feel the experimentation on the album achieved its goal.

“The British rapper’s third album is likely to be his most polarizing: He trades rapping and electronic beats for ballads and rage rock. The results are largely underwhelming…”

Notwithstanding the criticism, Slowthai is still one of the most intriguing and original voices in current UK hip-hop. His music relates to a generation of young people who are searching for a voice that expresses their challenges and disappointments; it is frequently described as combative and provocative. As one of the most significant musicians in UK hip-hop right now, Slowthai is a force to be reckoned with thanks to his distinctive sound and uncompromising attitude to his music.He has shown a willingness to experiment with different sounds and styles, which suggests that he may continue to develop as an artist. Furthermore, he has demonstrated a commitment to using his platform for social and political advocacy. In the future, he may continue to focus on this. A lot has been said about Slowthai's experiences with ADHD, and how it has both challenged him and empowered him as an artist. The UK rap scene and beyond seems likely to have Slowthai at the forefront, as an influential figure based on his past success and critical acclaim. In the end, only time will tell what Slowthai's future holds. The talent and determination he has suggests that he will continue to make an impact on the music world for some time to come.

Written by: @Arriv3r

Edited by: @Whosaria

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