The COVID-19 pandemic has silently revealed another health crisis that affects a person’s psychology instead of physiology. Through lockdowns and deep anxieties, people today struggle with fears, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Artist ZeNilism hopes to solve people’s woes and mental health issues by delivering music that heals.
Most people wouldn’t think of rap music as a form of therapy. With its loudness and heavy tones, it wouldn’t cross anyone’s minds that hip-hop and street culture could help with problems like depression and anxiety. But Jeffrey Smulligan is proof that it could be. Also known by his artist name, ZeNilism, the rapper from Ashland, Pennsylvania, has a message for everyone that stems out of his own dark experiences.
“I started in a very depressed state and was very sick,” recalls Jeffrey. “My house was falling apart, and I was dying. I had my heart stop, but I came back.” What helped the rapper through his most challenging moments was his music. Jeffrey has always been passionate about rap. He treated music as his safe space from a young age and found that he could be his authentic self when listening to and performing rap music.
Sometimes, people tend to hide behind toxic positivity and misconceptions that healing should have one form and not the other. But it’s often in authenticity and raw emotions that some people find salvation from their doubts and worries. That was certainly the case for Jeffrey, who shares how hip-hop saved him from his depression many times in the past. Today, he hopes that his music would provide the same emotional release that it gave him. “I’m told music can change people,” ZeNilism explains. “I hope my music brings people peace like it does for me.”
Through the years, ZeNilism has built up a substantial discography of rap music. He can freestyle rap non-stop for four to five minutes at a time, making it almost second nature for him to create, write, and perform music. He has produced and published an array of tracks, including songs like “Uncomfortable,” “Night Tremors,” “Ambition,” “Upper-cut Free-style,” “Dead Feelings,” “Bale Full of Gold and a Fistfull of Hundreds,” and many others. He has two albums entitled “State of Zenile” and “Somewhere in Between” and an array of singles and EPs that he has released amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus crisis has been a tough time for people everywhere as people struggle with job loss, health problems, fears, anxiety, loss, and many other tragedies. In these challenging times, ZeNilism has treated the pandemic as a challenge to keep creating music for others. His motivation is to provide solace to those who find healing in the uncanny way that Jeffrey did — through hard-hitting rap music. While ZeNilism in no way claims that his form of music is the only way to help others through rough times, he hopes people will start recognizing that his unique therapy isn’t one that people should cancel out either.
The artist hopes that his music would reach those that need it most, especially during these difficult times. He works hard to develop music and reach various platforms to impact the world with his brand of music. Learn more about Jeffrey Smulligan, aka ZeNilism, by visiting his Spotify and SoundCloud pages. Also, follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to his YouTube channel to get the latest updates.