Mental health was a central theme in hip-hop and news in 2016, and rapper Alfred Banks is starting the new year with a song that speaks about how mental illness has impacted his family.
On “The Funeral of Orlandas Banks,” Alfred Banks recreates the memorial of his late brother, who battled schizophrenia before eventually dying by suicide. The New Orleans rapper poignantly laments his brother’s suffering and his death, while dreading the possibility of having to fight mental illness himself. The song is the first single from Alfred Banks’ upcoming The Beautiful, a concept album that tells a narrative of him developing schizophrenia. He doesn’t suffer from the illness in real life, but he created the record – and teamed with the New Orleans affiliate of National Alliance On Mental Illness – as an effort to educate about the disease.
Stream “The Funeral of Orlandas Banks” below, and pre-order the full digital album on Bandcamp before its March 20, 2017 release.
is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.