Imagine being 18. When I was 18, I was hanging out with my crew, gallivanting around town, discovering what life had to offer. Watching DJ Qbert videos, rocking Pumas with fat laces, and rhyming to East Flatbush Tried by 12, I was in a transition period relocating from the San Fernando Valley to Orange County.
Now imagine that in the midst of your own memories at the age of 18, you started feeling lightheaded. You try to explain what you’re feeling, but nobody understands. You can’t control your mind and body. Nervousness, confusion, deep thought, suicidal and violent fits begin taking over your consciousness.
Nearly ten years ago, this is what happened to hip-hop producer, Erik Lopez, also known as Depakote. His parents eventually admitted him to the hospital, released a month later, visiting the psychiatrist bi-weekly and testing a plethora meds. It took a year to find a proper combination of medication and he was able to ease his way back into society. Anytime the conditions relapse, he needs to increase his meds.
These symptoms experienced by Depakote are known as a type of bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive disorder. According to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stanford University, 4% of people experience bipolar disorder at some point in their life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults in a given year.
Depakote is a prescription drug used to treat epileptic seizures, migraines and bipolar disorder. In the face of adversity, Erik Lopez took on the name “Depakote,” maintaining his sense of humor and optimistic outlook.
With love from his family and friends, he is able to move on and focus on his passions, using music as an outlet for artistic and emotional expression. Bipolar disorder has been associated with people in the arts with many studies showing a significant association between the condition and creativity. Depakote is one of those people that possesses such creativity and is able to transform his thoughts and feelings into his music.
Depakote has a number of albums you can listen to on MySpace. His latest release is The Gummo Album, a beat tape. Some of his tracks resemble that dark hip-hop sound found in DJ Shadow’s “Midnight a Perfect World.” Coincidentally, Depakote is studying the works of DJ Shadow and Blockhead right now. In addition, his favorite producers include 9th Wonder, Madlib, MF Doom, DJ Premier, and Rza, among many others from the Boom Bap Era. When all is said and done, Depakote said that if there was one person in the world he would like to work with, he said he would like to hop in a time machine, become invisible and observe the magic happen when Marvin Gaye produced the album Hear My Dear.
For you beat junkies, Depakote uses Fl Studio XXL 9, Reason 3.0, Recycle 2.0 and Cool Edit. His hardware includes an O2 Midi Controller and Abelton for live beat sets. For the rest of you, you can check out his latest Gummo Album here and visit the links below to follow Depakote in his musical journeys.