A budding young rapper tormented by a rare chronic pain condition has opened up about his battle with depression and drug abuse.
And he has told Lanarkshire Live how music saved him from almost ending it all.
For the last five years Jamie Wood, aka RPRX, has suffered from cluster headaches which can flare up for as long as three to seven days a week, causing him to pass out and fit with multiple daily seizures.
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The pain left the 20-year-old East Kilbride man unable to work and needing round-the-clock care from his mum.
Indeed, it got so unbearable he fell into a deep dark depression, eventually making an attempt on his own life in April 2019.
Lockdown then hit sending Jamie spiraling again, this time turning to substance abuse.
Deciding to jot down his innermost thoughts and fears into lyrics to quell the boredom, Jamie found solace in music and began writing and recording tracks and posting them on the music streaming site Soundcloud.
His debut release ‘Working for the Devil’ achieved 10,000 hits in just a few days and is now topping 100,000.
Now, seven months sober after battling cannabis addiction, Jamie is keen to showcase his talent on the gig circuit.
“I made music years ago just to see how it would sound, but I never did anything with it – I was still in school”, the former St Andrew’s and St Bride’s pupil told us.
“But a while later I was diagnosed with cluster headaches. Mine went chronic meaning it never goes away which is very rare and has baffled the top neurologist on how to help.
“It’s been chronic for about five years so there’s a good chance I’ll have it for the rest of my life. With the condition I can’t work so I knew I had to make my own work.
“I tried designing clothes and shoes to no avail. It was at this point I pretty much just gave up and started being very self-destructive and eventually making an attempt on my own life – which thankfully I survived.
“For months I just felt the same way then lockdown hit. As well as not being able to work I’m now stuck in the house bored, depressed and dealing with substance abuse.
“I decided to write a song, record it and post it on Soundcloud mainly just to entertain myself. A couple of days later I checked how many streams it got expecting three or four so you should have seen my face when it said 10,000 streams – I thought it must have been a glitch.
“A few more tracks all got similar success so I decided to get my music on the big streaming platforms – Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer – and that’s when I knew this was my true calling.”
Inspired by rap and hip hop artists such as Lil Peep, Juice Wrld, XXXTentacion and Ski Mask the Slump God, Jamie sees music as a safe haven where he can express himself and free his mind from the trappings of his own mental health.
His rap name RPRX is a nod to his late idols Lil Peep and XXXTentacion (‘RIP P and RIP X’) who tragically died around the same age – Lil Peep of a drug overdose aged 21 and XXXTentacion who was fatally shot in an apparent robbery aged 20
Jamie releases a new album on April 22 every year to mark the date he survived his suicide attempt.
“Not only do I enjoy making music but its like a free therapist”, added Jamie. “I rap about my emotions, girl problems and mental health. I think its good for more men to speak out about these things – however its never in a very family friendly way!
“But that’s not all I rap about, I also rap about what I hope for in the future, thoughts I’ve had – good or bad – just trying to manifest my life and show off my skills.
“My last album ‘Simulation Entertainment 3’ shows off what I can do very well. I’m so proud of that album and I’ve had so many positive messages about it.
“I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come in the space of three years. I went from rock bottom suicide attempt to severe substance abuse and now to feeling on top of the world doing what I love.
“Even though I still have cluster headaches, battle with mental health and staying sober, I’m so grateful for everything I’ve obtained in my short life.”
Check out RPRX on all major streaming platforms and rprx_music on Instagram.
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