HHP on how he would like to be remembered
HHP (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES)
Johannesburg - In a 2016 interview with DRUM, HHP spoke candidly about his struggle with depression and how helping others in need has always been his passion.
The rapper died on Wednesday afternoon aged 38.
HHP has battled depression since his teens but reached his lowest point ever in 2015 when he felt so despondent he tried to commit suicide three times.
"I’m really in an awesome place right now," he told DRUM. "I’ve never felt more alive. And I became more alive when I started living for others."
The Music & Lights rapper’s depression was sparked by the realisation that one day his career would be over and uncertainty about his future.
He was troubled by thoughts of being labelled a has-been and being irrelevant. But he didn’t discuss his feelings with his wife, Lerato Sengadi, and put on a brave face whenever he was with Leano Khanye (11), his son from a previous relationship. "Lerato never knew that I wanted to kill myself," HHP said.
"I thought about my son. If I became a broke has-been, Leano would think I was a deadbeat dad. I’d rather die than live through that. And Lerato would rather marry a successful guy. I didn’t want to die a pauper, so I just thought, while I still have policies, I’d rather die."
The rapper tried to gas himself three times. The day after his first attempt he heard fellow rapper Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi had been murdered, and after his second attempt one of his dancers died after accidentally inhaling carbon monoxide while passed out in his garage after a night out with friends. So when his third attempt didn’t work either he felt it was a wake-up call.
(HHP performing on stage. Photo: Gallo)
"I felt like God was speaking to me so I stopped, man," he said. The hip-hop star said he was on antidepressants at the time but what really kept him going was the love and support of his mother, Theriso Tsambo, and his faith in God.
"My mom is my pillar of strength. I remember saying to her that maybe I should go to a clinic, but someone will figure out that I’m there and then it will be a big story. And my mom was like, just tell them your mom is sick and you’re depressed because of that.
"My mom was even willing to let me lie about her. But I didn’t. I wanted to deal with it on my own terms and it’s behind me now," he said.
Rather than viewing his depression and suicide attempts as something he’d like to forget, HHP described them as experiences that was part of where he was in his live; "I died and now I’m risen," he said.
"People won’t remember HHP for Music & Lights any more – they’re going to remember me for reminding them that they have to do something for someone else."