I Rap Because I Struggle - MPTH

Listen to #Depression by MPTH before reading reading - trust me it is incredible

 
 

My name is Arianna Dixon. I’m a rapper and I go by the alias “MPTH.” My story isn’t like a lot of other rappers. I didn’t grow up in the hood and join a gang and drop out of high school. I’ve never done drugs or partied until I blacked out. I’m a rapper because one day I found the words to express myself and I never looked back.

I’ve been struggling with mental illness since I was about 13 years old. My mother says there were signs before then that pointed to mental illness but it didn’t fully develop until my teenage years. When I was 13, I became suicidal. I also discovered I was a lesbian. I also got kicked out of my youth group worship band for being a lesbian. I also had my first heartbreak. I also started getting bullied. To me, it seems like there were some good reasons why I felt like I didn’t want to be a part of this world anymore. Doctors had a different opinion.

I was admitted into a psychiatric hospital and force fed medications that turned me into a zombie. For the next 5 years, I was force fed medication. They didn’t make me feel good but if I refused my medication, my mom would call the cops on me and they would force me to take them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe mental illness is a real thing. What I don’t agree with is the term illness. Illness suggests that you have something wrong with you.

Illness is a harsh word for the condition that a lot of us reading this blog struggle with. People with mental illness are proven to have higher IQs, are more creative, are able to experience deeper, more sincere emotions, and all of the great people in history had mental illnesses. So, is mental illness really an ailment? I don’t believe it is. 

 
MPTH brain scan
 

My parents took me to get brain scans done when I was 15. I have attached the images of a “normal” brain compared to my brain. It’s very intriguing. My brain looks like a damn Christmas tree. An average human uses 10% of their brain. As you can see, I use way more than 10%. I wouldn’t call this an illness. It has helped me immensely in my art. I’ve been drumming since I was, you guessed it, 13! It seems like that’s when my life really began. I taught myself for the most part aside from a beginning percussion class.

My parents and I were walking down the street and someone was selling a very old drum set their roommate left behind years ago for $100. They bought it for me and I set it up. For the next 6 months, I spent every waking moment I wasn’t in school playing this drum set. I put headphones in and did exactly what Tre Cool was doing in all the songs of the American Idiot album by Green Day. I spent 8 hours every day playing! I tried out for the Orange County High School of the Arts six months after my first drum lesson and got in.

School was a very difficult time for me. I started at OCHSA in 8th grade and, at that point, I had already attended 4 other schools. I didn’t have any friends because I jumped around too much. Music was my escape from everything, though, so I loved it. Attending this school was exactly like high school musical. People practiced their dance routines outside at lunch. There was always a guy with dreadlocks rapping and singing very loudly through the halls on his way to class. The drummers always had sticks in their hands and were tapping on anything they were allowed to.  

It was awesome! I performed in Carnegie Hall in 9th grade. I performed at Galas that cost $1000 per seat. By 10th grade, my depression got really bad. I was on a high dose of several medications and I turned into a complete zombie. I no longer had interest in drumming or schoolwork. My grades started to slip. My girlfriend broke up with me. I punched a fellow drummer in the face. I dropped out of OCHSA. Now, onto public school.

 
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Public school and I didn’t get along. I was very artsy to begin with and, after going to OCHSA for almost 3 years, I was extra artsy by the time I got to Orange High School. I was severely bullied. I adopted the nickname “psycho.” I got beat up. I had no friends. I did music outside of school but the desire to fit in kicked in and I was distracted by it. My mom tried to get me help because I was failing all my classes. I couldn’t stay awake. I couldn’t wake up in the morning. I don’t really remember the last 2 years of high school because I was asleep for the most part. Finally, the school district agreed to put me on the home hospital program. A private tutor would come to my house every day and sit there and teach me.

 fell asleep every day. It’s almost like I had that disease where you just fall asleep everywhere and anywhere at anytime. I wouldn’t have made it through high school if it wasn’t for the next tutor that stepped in - Ms. Stewart. She realized I was extremely intelligent and struggling. She dropped off my assignments one time per week and picked them up the next week. Not to her surprise, I finished all my assignments. She even urged the school to let me finish my entire senior year in one semester so I could get the hell out of high school. I graduated early!!! Woo hoo!!!

Now, when I got into college, I made a lot of mistakes. I focused on girls and sex rather than adulthood and music. I can admit to my mistakes. Let’s just say the next few years were full of heartbreak. Let’s skip ahead to when I started writing music.

I married a girl. We will say her name was Jessica. We had been in a very difficult relationship for 2 years when we got married. I loved her and believed in her even though she proved I shouldn’t have. I’m somewhat of a hopeless romantic. When I proposed, it was magical. It was at Disneyland right after the fireworks. Everyone was lined up outside the ropes to watch the fireworks and the guest services cast member allowed us to go behind the ropes so I could propose in front of the castle with everyone still watching. She had no idea what was going on and when we walked out and she saw the crowd, she was so surprised. She said yes!

 
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We got married and 2 months later, she left me for a guy she met. Yeah...I know…what a bitch. I hit rock bottom. I had been working as a manager of a sales office in Las Vegas and when she left me, she also kicked me out and took my money out of my account. I moved back to my parents’ house in California. I started drinking because I couldn’t wrap my mind around my wife of 2 months breaking my heart. I could accept my biological father abusing my mom and leaving me when I was 6 months old. I could accept Christianity not accepting me for being gay. I could accept getting raped and molested. I could accept 4 other girls breaking my heart and leaving me for someone else. I could accept my ex-girlfriend punching me in the face and leaving me for a married man. I could accept getting bullied for most of my childhood and getting beat up. I could accept that doctors and nurses thought I was crazy and ill. But not this…

Marriage and love has always been a big deal to me. My parents and grandparents all had amazing love stories. I thought marriage was the realest, most raw thing in the world. I threw myself into music. Around the same time this happened, my old band mate moved back to California for a job. We started a band. Before this happened, I was horrible at writing lyrics. All the emotions from my whole life suddenly came pouring out in lyrical form.

Here are some of the lyrics -

 

“I’ve got no place to go but I can’t stay.” (Adventuretime by Adventure Awaits)

“I put my head down, prayin’ for recovery but everyday I wake up and my demons are still haunting me.” (Recovery by MPTH)

“I never had a minute to realize where it resides, inside, and all I gotta do is pull it out and burn it down but I never seem to reach in deep enough without you comin’ around.” (Voices by MPTH)

“I guess we’ll just undress and press ourselves against this life depressed. I need you, going to confess, obsessed and stressed, you were the best.” (Voices by MPTH)

“I got the talent from a boy who never quite grew up. He threw my mom against a wall until she fuckin’ stood up.” (Fate by MPTH)

“I’m livin’ in the land of the free yet it seems I feel the need to pay a fee every time I breathe. I’m thankful for the trees and the flowers and the breeze and the water in the ocean comes back when it leaves. I’m missin’ all my friends I used to have before I lost myself, before I killed myself and lived to tell the story to myself. Feelin’ sorry for myself me me me, I’m also tired of feelin’ sorry for my need in my time of need.” (#Depression by MPTH)

 

I wrote all the songs for our band, Adventure Awaits. I also started going to a local dive bar for karaoke every night and started rapping a lot. I am tone deaf so rap was naturally the next best option to singing. I met a manager for a record label in Vegas when I lived there. One day, when I was very depressed and drunk and couldn’t pull myself out of it, I called her and told her I wanted to be a rapper. She sounded concerned but told me to just write something, anything, record myself rapping, and send it to her. I did. She said it was good but needed a beat.

When I was 18, I went to Audio Engineering school so I knew the basics of production. I made a basic beat and recorded the same rap and sent it to her. She said it was way better with a beat. I started writing more and she sent me beats. I will admit I was really bad at first. I kept practicing different parts of rapping - flow, intonation, rhythm, wordage, and eventually I got better.

Now, I am a rapper. I drum, play guitar, play bass, and produce as well. But, I’m focused on hip hop. I’ve dug myself out of rock bottom and although I’m not at the top, I am a lot better off. I almost died when my ex-wife left me from suicide. I took 100 pills. I survived and music saved me. Throughout my whole life, music has saved me. Countless times, I have locked myself in my room and blasted Linkin Park (RIP Chester), Good Charlotte, Blink 182, Eminem, and other artists and cried and screamed.

Have you heard the phrase “turn the music up so loud they can’t hear you screaming?” That’s what I did. Music has been the only consistent thing that has been here for me and I will never abandon it. I will keep working on music until the day I die. I joke with my friends and say I will be 90 years old and still doing Eminem at karaoke. It’s not a joke, though. I’m serious. Mental “illness” is nothing compared to my love for music.

Today, I am off medication and instead do Reiki, meditation, exercise a lot, and have a fairly strict diet. I know I have to do a lot of extra work in order to not be on medication but it’s way better for me. I guess I’m medication resistant for the most part. It kind of just puts me to sleep. I have found spirituality. I’m not necessarily religious but I pray to a higher power and keep my mind and emotions balanced through deep thought.

Exercise helps my mania and depression and anxiety immensely. I’m working on music everyday whether it’s writing, recording, thinking of hooks, or networking.

You can find my music on all platforms including YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, etc. under the alias “MPTH.” Website: mpth.co Instagram: @mpth.la

My main inspirations for making music are simple. I want to tell my story and I hope I can help someone like me feel understood. Thanks for reading and I wish you well with everything! I love you all.

- MPTH


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