The suicide of up-and-coming hip-hop artist Freddy E. sent shockwaves through the industry. Harlem-born rapper A$AP Rocky touches on suicidal tendencies in his song “Phoenix,” and though the subject is sometimes taboo in the black community, and despite the fact that some critics dismiss songs about suicide as glorifying the act as opposed to deriding it, Rocky spoke to MTV about the reality that oftentimes goes under-discussed because of stigmas.

“‘Bloody ink on my pad spelled suicide/Michael Jackson even passed cause you scrutinized,'” Rocky rhymes on the track.

“Those are natural feelings that we all get sometimes.” he said. “You hurt so bad and you’re going through so much pain to the point where sometimes you don’t even wanna live anymore.”

The young rapper went to explain that he feels that many are suffering through what he suffered through at one point and what Freddy E. was incapable of overcoming. “That’s how a lot of people think, whether we’d like to admit it or not–and that’s all I was showcasing,” Rocky said. ” It was that emotion…suicidal kinda emotions…I’m not glorifying it at all. I’m just basically telling you that sometimes I have suicidal thoughts. And maybe I should seek help, or maybe it’s not that deep.”

Rappers like 2Pac, Kool G Rap, Eminem, Scarface and the Notorious B.I.G. all regularly touched on the subject in their music. And, undoubtedly, there are millions of listeners that can relate to the hopelessness that their favorite artists suffered through at various points in their lives. But the discussion of suicide and depression have to extend far beyond the interview room or the recording booth, and–especially in the black community–more have to be willing to have an open dialogue about this painful subject.

Because people are suffering.

- stereo williams