Written by Regina Sanders. Media by Kayla Morton.
“[Fans have] said things like, ‘Your music has saved my life. You’ve saved my life.’ I was like, ‘Man, I wasn’t even trying to save nobody’s life.’ And then it hit me, the power that I have as an artist with a voice. I wasn’t even trying to save your life. Now what can happened [sic] if I actually did?”
Thus began American rapper Logic’s (born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II) journey in writing the song “1-800-273-8255.” Performed from three differing perspectives, the song, whose title also serves as the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, narrates a journey toward love and acceptance.
In an interview with (musical website) Genius, Logic broke down the anthem. “So, the first hook and verse is from the perspective of someone who is calling the hotline and they want to commit suicide. The second hook and verse is from the perspective of the operator on the other end of the line. [In the third hook and verse] the caller has learned that his life still matters. No matter what hardships he has to face, he will persevere.”
Accompanied by featured artists Alessia Cara, Khalid, and a group of suicide attempt survivors, Logic took the stage at MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) on August 27 to perform the impassioned song. After his performance, the positive rapper launched into a speech thanking his fans for enabling him to speak about otherwise media-ignored topics. He called a few issues to light, such as mental health, anxiety, suicide, racism, and sexism, before ending with a plea for equality.
The much talked-about performance left the audience in tears, but it also caused more people to reach out for help. CNN reported a 50% spike in calls to the hotline. According to Dr. John Draper, the director of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, “On the day the song was released, we had the second-highest call volume in the history of our service.”
Positive reactions resounded after the performance, especially following the devastating loss of beloved musicians Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, both of whom committed suicide. The song’s main message is one of hope and one that anyone can relate to.
The song’s popularity can’t be questioned. After the awards show, the song jumped from number 29 to number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100s Chart. This is both Logic and Khalid’s first top-ten single and Alessia Cara’s fourth. “1-800” has now enjoyed a comfortable 18 weeks on the chart, in general. The song, however, has hit number one on Spotify’s United States Top 50 Chart, as revealed by the rapper on his personal Twitter page. So, it seems the message of this song is being heard and ringing true for many.
If you, or anyone you know, has struggled with thoughts of suicide or self-harm, know that you are not alone. Help exists. Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (available 24/7), Greenville University counselors, or your CRE.