Swizz Beatz, Lloyd Banks, Joey Bada$$ & G Herbo Give Their Best Advice on Grieving a Loved One

2023-05-31T16:36:39+00:00May 31st, 2023|

As we close Mental Health Awareness Month, Billboard is focusing on grieving, after the hip-hop community has suffered so many tragic losses over the last few years. As Black men continue to become susceptible to gun violence, many artists have begun opening up about the importance of therapy — or at least positively embracing pain, whether that’s through music, journaling or even getting a tattoo that pays homage to your lost ones.

Billboard spoke to Swizz Beatz, Lloyd Banks, Joey Bada$$, and G Herbo about what their best advice is for overcoming a loss and moving forward. See what each man said below.

Swizz Beatz

I think the best thing is to take the time that’s needed. To figure out how you want to grieve. I’m still not over [DMX]. I still have moments, but I’ve got to a good space because X actually came to me and let me know that he was okay. I couldn’t even listen to [“Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”] I wasn’t even prepared for it. It just breaks me up. I’m like, “Damn.” It’s the only song to ever do that. All the other songs, I’m cool. [That song] is like a trigger for me. Then he came and kinda was like, “I’m good.” I seen the whole s–t.

You just gotta be open-minded. Grieving has no ending to it. It’s like when a person comes to your mind like, “Damn.” Sometimes I just have to have a moment to be like, “Damn.” I don’t even feel like he’s gone though. I be like, “X really not here.” Taking the time out to think about that is crazy, sometimes. I start thinking about the s–t we was about to do. The things we didn’t get the chance to do. That’s why now I gotta do everything and go.

Lloyd Banks

Embrace [the pain.] I got four family members in the same cemetery. I often go every Sunday or every other Sunday. I drive over, buy flowers, lay the flowers down and talk to ’em. That’s just what I do, especially on a significant day. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, things like that. If I come back from out of town, that’s just what I do. I’m very spiritual with that type of thing. A lot of people say it but they don’t do that.

My therapy is the music, especially as I’ve gotten older because now I know how to express myself through the music. When you’re in your mid-to-late 20s, you have this bravado and cockiness to you. Years later, I’ve matured and I understand how important it is to tell somebody else they’re special or to treat yourself like you’re special. I’ve learned to relay that message to my fans in a multitude of ways.

I saw a clip that showed the process after somebody passes. There’s extreme hurt — devastation. Everything stops, right? The immediate family has to go from that trauma and then holding it together to actually planning a burial. So now you gotta talk to these people who conduct themselves as professionals. You gotta put these people to the ground and then you see cousins, family, friends and people you haven’t seen since the last person passed, and the immediate family goes home with that mourning more than everybody else, like, “Yo. We gotta do this again other than when people die.” And then you don’t see them until the next person dies.

Now, you go home and the first anniversary comes. You celebrate, you have a party and food. You might even have it again, but what happens five years down the line? It’s you, your brother, your close ones. And 10 years down the line? It might just be two to three of y’all embracing that s–t.

Where I’m from, we don’t forget. Embrace it. Remember the good times and what they mean to you. Go talk to ’em.

G Herbo

With me, I just like to focus on good things. When I think about negative things or when I’m grieving a loss of a friend or family member, I try to focus on the next best thing for myself — whether it’s like a vivid memory or something to makes me smile, or maybe the motivation of just waking up and wanting to work everyday and do better for myself and my family and just know that the people I was blessed to have that aren’t here anymore just wanted to see me win and do good in life.

So when I think of those memories and those relationships that I had with the people that I lost, it keeps me going — because I know they would just want to see me striving and be the best version of myself. When it comes to grief, you can’t ever pinpoint how it’s going to make you feel or when you may think about a love one, it just happens out of nowhere. There’s [no] real formula or process with showing people how to grieve. I think it’s more of being in-tune with your emotions.

Joey Bada$$

I recently successfully grieved, if that makes sense. I can’t tell you what it looks like for me now. I don’t even want to think about having to grieve anything or anyone right now, but I could imagine that my approach now at this age would be more direct and head-on. I just buried things and I would go around and try to substitute grieving time with work and anything that would take my attention away from grieving a loved one or a situation. Now, I would try to do my best to deal with it.

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