Drunken Monkeee Discusses His Struggle With Mental Illness

  • October 26, 2017
  • 5 min read
Drunken Monkeee Discusses His Struggle With Mental Illness

Chicago hip-hop artist Drunken Monkeee doesn’t have a filter and isn’t afraid to admit he has struggled with mental illness. He is the type of artist who will make “heads” yearn for the return of the authenticity of hip-hop opposed to the fake images that are so commonplace throughout the internet, television, and radio. A lot of time conscious artists don’t get the shine that they deserve and Drunken Monkeee definitely falls into that category. An artist who was once turned down for a record deal because his music was considered too “happy”. He has a documentary circulating the film festival circuit called No Manual Included which documents his struggles with mental health and he is as candid as they come.


When did you develop a passion for hip hop?

To be honest I developed a passion for serious hip hop in 1999. It was a turning point when I got into African dance my senior year. Once I got into African dance that kind of culturally opened me up where my African dance teacher was taking me out the hood and taking me all over and then I started experiencing the hip hop culture downtown. Then once I heard the Aquemni album it really did something to me. I always was a fan of good music but I wouldn’t go out and buy a KRS-One album, I’d buy Master P over KRS-One but I respected that he was the big brother of hip hop. ’99 was when I started really embracing the culture and became a hip hop junkie.

On your song “You God” you have a lot of things on your mind, can you talk about the process of creating that song and eventually the video?

With the “You God” I never been shy of being an open book. When I created the “You God” thats when I had just got diagnosed with bipolar and schizophrenia and just had recently came out of a mental hospital but I wasn’t nowhere crazy like they say a person with those symptoms are too put in a mental hospital. I’m a very spiritual person and that was me calling out to the Most High and being an open book. That was around the time one of my famous cousins on the hip hop scene we had just started working together and he started mentoring me because he knew I was going through a lot and he was like”yo, you should make more music like this.” I was like “fuck that, I’m not in a place to act like I’m turning up and everything is good. No, I want to make a testimonial type of album and take people inside the mind of what real artists really go through instead of just popping bottles, getting money.” I wanted to be an open book. When I heard the beat, I’m the type of emcee I don’t just write to a beat, I meditate and let the music tell me what to do. So I listened to the sample and its an older gentleman talking to the Most High so that was me playing a game of chess with God. God I’m doing everything they said I’m supposed to do but I’m out here struggling. I’m hurting. I got bipolar depression and trying to get help. It’s an open confession of mental illness.

Your known for your live shows , what was your most memorable live performance?

Number one was my senior year of high school where I got over my fear of performing. I wanted to be nominated best body Class of ’98 but I always had a big stomach. Our African dance teacher wanted us to do a dance with coconut oil all over our body. I’m looking like a big rotisserie chicken. My reputation was on the line so I was scared. My African dance teacher Ms. Blackburn was like “those little girls are looking at your chest hairs, they ain’t gone be worried about your stomach. As soon as I got out there, you know how it is in high school the freshman in the back, then sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the front. We come out the back I’m dancing and the freshman like “look at his fat ass, big ass titties.” They were roasting but as I made my way to the front it was something that came over me. If I could perform naked like this I could perform for the rest of my life.

Check out more of Drunken Monkeee

Ryan Glover is a contributing writer for Follow him on Twitter @RyanDavisGlover, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your google network.

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Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan is an accomplished promoter, event planner, producer, activist, counselor, poet and blogger. Within the course of two and a half years Chris Ryan has worked with some of NYC's most established promoters/event planners, been named 2007′s GaySocialite of the year, granted a promoter of the year award from NYC's most famous gay establishment, Splash. He's worked in some of NYC's top venues including; Avalon, Capitale, Cipriani, Cielo, Pacha, Element, Le Poisson Rouge, XL, G Lounge, Plumm, Hilton Hotel, Indigo Hotel, Spirit, Myst/Quo, Splash, The Ritz, Vlada, Roseland Ballroom, Heaven, etc. In 2008, Chris Ryan has begun to unveil some of the most innovative & unique parties New York City has ever seen. The Fusion events "fuse" together all disciplines of art into an event that remains diverse yet cohesive at the same time. won best gay promotions website from NYC Event Patrons in 2008 & he was granted an award from the Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club, Gov. Patterson & Michelle Clunie (QAF) saluting him for his hard work in nightlife. Chris Ryan has also begun working with many renown companies, including; doctors, lawyers, physicians, modeling agencies & more. Chris Ryan has been responsible for wide-scale promotions for all these companies & generating tremendous business. Chris Ryan has even started to become National with events taking place in LA & Miami this year. In May of 2009 Chris Ryan received the very prestigious honor of being named a "40 Under 40″ Gays in America by the Advocate Magazine. He also created three successful parties that generated over 1,500 patrons each. In January of 2010 Chris Ryan was featured as one of the top promoters to look out for in Noize Magazine Chris Ryan joined forces with legendary promoter/event producer, Lee Chappell and created one of the most talked about events of all 2010, Desire @ Capitale. Chris Ryan and Lee featured one of the most outstanding artists NYC has ever seen, "Oh Land." Her performance coupled with an exquisite and unforgettable set design added to this extravagant event that held over 1,000 patrons in one of NYC's most successful PRIDE events! Chris Ryan then joined forces with legendary Pacha promoter, Rob Fernandez in addition to Jake Resnicow and Tommy Marinelli to bring one of the largest and most successful parties worldwide to NYC, MATINEE. The event on Governor's Island saw over 2,000+ attendees and one of the most ambitious productions ever. In 2011 Chris Ryan started Emerge Music Promotions with business partner Darren Melchiorre. Emerge Music promotions began signing artists with plans to develop and market the artists to the community at large. Emerge Music promotions has big events planned for 2012 and 2013. Chris Ryan debuted the IMAGE events which took place on top of two of NYC's most beautiful rooftop venues, Rare View and Indigo Hotel. The events were blogged everywhere and featured the fashion designs of several clothing designers, artists and photographers. Chris Ryan felt that fashion and art should be displayed at every event and attracted the likes of Malan Breton, Calvin Klein and even Katy Perry. Chris Ryan began an extremely successful event which incorporated the concept of a house party into a nightclub atmosphere. The event Twist'D at G Lounge has been one of the most talked about events in NYC and allows it's audience to play nearly-naked Twister, beer pong, flip cup & more with other attendees. Chris Ryan was granted an excellence in volunteering award from AVP (Anti-Violence Project) for all his efforts in supporting the organization. 2013 has a very promising landscape on the horizon and Chris Ryan is complacent in saying "you haven't seen anything yet!"


  • Thank you for this. Wonderful interview! This type of transparency is very necessary. Timely. God Bless Drunken Monkeee

  • Thank you for reading. Its refreshing when artist are open about their struggles. So often in interviews artists try to perpetuate that they are doing better than they are and the willingness for him to show his humanity earned him a fan for life!! God bless us all!!

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