Art, Music and Film collective London Rebels release new project ‘HIGHGROUND’ inspired by Mental Health Awareness
Words by Charles Odugbesan
Earlier this month, London Rebels released their third tape out on SoundCloud entitled HIGHGROUND; a 16 track project, compiled from a host of up and coming artists’ music, that draws inspiration from mental health awareness.
First and foremost, props to the London Rebels team for trying to relate a subject like this to youth culture through music. Music is a universal language and shining a light on such an intangible topic can make it very real. You could listen to any of the songs from HIGHGROUND and FEEL some of the struggles and emotions that the artists are trying to relate. As statistics over the last few years go, one adult in six has a common mental disorder (CMD): about one woman in five and one man in eight. Since 2000, overall rates of CMD’s in England have steadily increased in women and remained largely stable in men. So not only is it important to spread awareness on topics such as mental health, but also researching and placing importance on HELPING those who suffer is paramount.
The structure of the project seems very simple but awfully effective. Including the skits and interludes dotted throughout, all the songs from UNDESERVED #MeToo feat. Marcella to Voices feat. Juvenal Maze cleverly detail an array of situations that damage a person not only emotionally but mentally.
Right from the opening song UNDESERVED #MeToo, Marcella paints us a picture of a girl reeling from an abusive relationship, confused and struggling to find her voice. The #MeToo comes from the international movement revamped in October 2017 by Alyssa Milano who wanted to make known that she had been a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of former film producer Harvey Weinstein. By the end of October 80 women echoed claims against Weinstein including the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman. Victims of sexual harassment can commonly suffer from anxiety, depression and PTSD and Marcella was able to portray this beautifully with UNDESERVED.
Elsewhere there are songs within the project that also demonstrate the causes and affects of a lack of mental stability. It may leave you feeling neglected and out of touch (ANSWER PHONE), or that you are unable to emotionally express yourself (HEARTBREAK), or further still that you find yourself without a sense of purpose, questioning your life and everything around you (ONE OF THOSE DAYS). Whichever scenario, HIGHGROUND guarantees a suitable song to highlight the issue.
After about 11/12 tracks of doing so, the final third of the project uplifts us with beautiful messages of assurance. BELIEVE, SO BLESSED & YOU’LL BE OKAY are the three songs in particular that all deliver completely different feels and yet all carry a positive message. BELIEVE is Dusty’s personal tale of endeavour and promise – bold, headstrong and wrapped in heavy wordplay. Contrast that with SO BLESSED, as Keys The Prince, back for the second time on the project, teams up with Dayasoul to give us a vivacious, rejoicing song. Faith in God and “7 Hallelujahs” seem like a strong way to repel the inner demons. Last but certainly not least we reach the penultimate song on HIGHGROUND, YOU’LL BE OKAY, the third serving from the singer Marcella. YOU’LL BE OKAY is like a lullaby. That’s the best way I can describe it! Just imagine crying to your mum for an hour about whatever problem you’ve got going on as she just lovingly rubs your head and serenades you with 3 and a half minutes of assurance. It’s message is such a comforting way to round off the project!
Personally, I love a project that makes good use of skits and interludes. A lazy approach would be to include skits to simply fill silent gaps and break up the pace of the project. But with HIGHGROUND they’re used properly. Not only do they interlink the project and serve as a segway to the following songs (TESTIFY, THE BEST IN ME and PRESSURE all spring to mind), but they all add substance and boast hidden gems.
SOMETIMES WE GET TOO CAUGHT UP IN WEARING A TEAM JERSEY THAN REALLY REMEMBERING WHAT THE TEAM IS ABOUT
GOOD ENERGY is the first skit where the words spoken advise us to focus more on our similarities than our differences, as it’s those same differences that perpetuate bad energy in life. Positivity needs to be harnessed!
IF YOU HAVEN’T CONTEMPLATED MURDER, YOU AIN’T BEEN IN LOVE!
Comedians truly are smarter than we give them credit for! TESTIFY give us perals of wisdom from uncle Chris Rock. He has us admittedly laughing at the lengths that love for another person could mentally and physically push us to. Dangerously funny.
All of the hard hitting reality of the first 2/3rds of the project can start to take a toll on the listener. THE BEST IN ME is a timely, soothing segway into one of the most celebratory songs on HIGHGROUND, SO BLESSED feat. Keys The Prince and Dayasoul. THE BEST IN ME has an uplifting church sermon vibe to it. Spirituality and religion have qualities about them that can often bring peace of mind.
WE’RE STILL YOUNG! WHY DO WE FEEL SO MUCH PRESSURE TO BE MADE?!
Words that us 20 somethings can all relate to no doubt! This is from the long interlude PRESSURE feat. Kai Jones one of my personal favourites from the HIGHGROUND. Kai taps into the mindset of an overwhelmed young adult struggling to cope with the do or die mentality to progress that society seems to offer. Kai encourages us to not let that pressure get to us because such a thing can be very destructive to a young mind. Take everything in stride and move at your own pace!
If you don’t know you won’t know… so I suggest you take a minute to get to know some of these future stars and follow their musical journeys! Each of them added such a vital aspect to the project making it the success that it is. HIGHGROUND gave you just a glimpse into their respective abilities to create thoughtful, mood music. And what good is music if doesn’t make you feel?
Look out for:
Aneesa Marie (@aneesamarie_)
Kai Jones (@KaiJonesMusic_)
Keys the Prince (@KeysThePrince)
Juvenal Maze (@juvenalmaze)