With mental health increasingly becoming the subject du jour among young, Western hip hop acts, here in Southeast Asia, it’s no different – though the genres of choice are worlds apart from each other.
First up, Singaporean electronic artiste Jasmine Sokko has released the MV for her third single ‘Porcupine’ in conjunction with her upcoming Nº EP, set to release this 21 September. The house-infused track, capped at three minutes and 50 seconds, addresses the ennui of of a fast-paced city while its video perfectly depicts that robotic emptiness of urban malaise as intended by Sokko, who reenacts the isolation and loneliness derived from the challenges of human intimacy. Highly inspired by the metaphor called the ‘hedgehog’s dilemma’, or also known as the ‘porcupine dilemma’, the music video of ‘Porcupine’ follows the dystopian elements of the song, with an upbeat hook that balances out its melancholic lyrics.
The ‘porcupine dilemma’ is a metaphor capturing the difficulty of human intimacy. “Just as how porcupines are impeded by their spikes to cuddle for warmth during winter, humans get socially crippled by the emotional distance they create around people out of self-protection,” explained Sokko.
Not far away from home is Anamida, who surprised new listeners with her syrupy vocals atop future bass beats and synths. Just like Sokko, Anamida’s voice stands out despite heavy production, and serves as a complete package to the songs she puts out. ‘The Enemy’ is one of Anamida’s most compelling tracks to date; a soft pulsing rhythm refined by the singer’s lucid lyrics of low moods and more specifically, schizophrenia, a mental disorder that involves hallucinations. Using music to touch the grey areas of life, the song is a subtle PSA on mental illness and its complications. The music video shows glimpses of nature in its core – bleak yet beautiful. We’d like to think that it’s a metaphor for the flawed human mind, an imperfect but remarkable creation on its own.
On the song, Anamida explains: “I wrote ‘The Enemy’ when I was in my high school days but it was left hanging and untouched. I didn’t have the confidence to finish it because at that time, I was going through a rough patch in my life and my depression got the best of me. Took me six years to reopen my songwriting journal again to finish what I started.”
Mental health should be taken seriously — JUICE Editorial Director Ben Liew likened depression to the epidemic that was AIDS.