Fighting Mental Illness with Spoken Word: An Interview with UK Rapper Patch

Being in a prison in your own mind is what it’s like to suffer with mental illness. Picture this, your mind is in a centre where the inmates are your feelings, and they are forcibly confined and denied a variety of rights. It’s hard to get out, to get freedom. However, it also has the ability to set you free if you do the time. Best known for his UK-centric lo-fi hip hop UK rapper Patch has released a spoken word addressing this issue. 

We sit down with Patch to talk about his latest release ‘Prison,’ how mental illness has affected him and how creating awareness around the issue is his first priority.

You just released a video for Prison, could you tell us more about that?

‘Prison’ is a piece I wrote as a metaphor for the mind. I wanted to talk about how our thoughts can either imprison us or free us as they influence our perspectives. I also wanted to hopefully provide comfort for anyone who can relate and give them something to think about.

Rapping and spoken word goes hand in hand, but why did you decide to release these as spoken word and not a rap song?

I decided to release ‘Prison’ as spoken word because the topic and the way I’ve written about it are both intricate. I wanted people to focus purely on the words and the message. 

You speak about mental illness, could you tell us how this affects you and people around you?

I’ve sent myself to dark places simply by keeping a destructive pattern of thoughts on loop in my and head I’ve seen others do the same. The social taboo around mental health is a problem because it means a lot of the time people suffer with these things in silence.

What message are you trying to put across?

My message within the poem is 3 things. 1. You’re not alone if you feel like this. 2 It is ok if you feel like this, in fact it’s normal and to be expected at least at some point in your life and 3. You have the power within you to transcend the prison that the mind can be sometimes by redirecting the energy of your thoughts. My overall message however is to encourage people to ‘Embrace Your Contradictions’, all elements of who you are.

You seem quite spiritual, are there any mantras you live by?

I just try to maintain a high and positive vibration. One of the ways to do this is to take time each day to focus on things I’m grateful for, every morning I write down 3 things.

What would be your advice to help people clear their minds and be free?

Practice meditation, exercise daily and stop doing things only because you think it will impress others, do things that you love and stop comparing yourself to people.

What’s next for you?

I will be releasing an E.P in the summer, there will be more poems and I will keep spreading the message ‘Embrace Your Contradictions’.