Hip hop artist Kings' latest song 'R.I.P.' raises awareness for mental illness

New Zealand hip hop artist Kings is touching on a raw topic with his latest single, 'R.I.P.', a song inspired by his own experiences with mental illness.

Having lost family members to suicide, mental health is close to Kings' heart. 'R.I.P.', which premiered on Wednesday's episode of The Project, was penned by the artist to help peel back the taboo which continues to shroud mental illness.

The singer has partnered with former comedian and mental health advocate Mike King's Key to Life Trust. Encouraging his fans to support the cause, Kings kickstarted the campaign with a $10,000 donation.

'R.I.P.', described as an "open letter" to himself, is an emotional topic for Kings. He told The Project he started drinking as a 13-year-old.

"I was an alcoholic at a very young age," he admitted.

"I'm thankful to my family that I haven't felt that way in a long time... I think everyone goes through it, man. Everybody feels it."

Kings said music provided a much-needed "bridge" to cross and conquer his demons.

"I took that step through music... art in itself speaks what conversation can't," he told The Project.

"For me, it was writing my thoughts and feelings down and getting them out."

The artist believes mental illness remains largely "shunned" in Maori and Pasifika culture.

"I hate that... I don't want to 'harden up' today," he said.

He hopes 'R.I.P.' will help foster greater discourse around the issue and encourage those who are struggling to speak up.

"My audience is mainly 15 to 26-year-olds... one of the heavier demographics of this problem," he explained.

"I think as artists it's our responsibility to speak while we have the podium. While I'm here I'm going to speak out... music is a feeling."

The music video for 'R.I.P.' will be released on Friday.

Watch the video above.

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