Hailing from New Orleans, Louisiana, rapper Alfred Banks is taking the motif of the concept album into a new direction, using his late brother’s struggle with mental illness and his eventual suicide as inspiration.

“After losing my oldest brother to suicide because of his schizophrenia, I had to leave his funeral early for a show I was contracted to perform at,” Banks says. “‘The Beautiful” takes place during the car ride from the funeral to the show. On the Album, I develop schizophrenia just like Orlandas did and I battle that throughout the album. It’s a turbulent, but beautiful story featuring XXL Freshman Mickey Factz And rapper Megaran.

On the album, each song serves as an individual chapter examining the development of schizophrenia in Alfred himself. Though he doesn’t suffer from the illness in real life, the album’s concept serves to illustrate the steps in the disease in an effort to educate others about how schizophrenia can manifest itself.

Alfred has teamed up with NAMI New Orleans, (the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness)  for the release of The Beautiful to help raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly in communities of color. Meghan Goldbeck, Development Director of NAMI New Orleans, says of the partnership “mental Illness impacts one in five individuals in a given year, yet there is still much stigma around the issue. NAMI New Orleans is excited to partner with Alfred Banks to help promote awareness on the mental health issues that affect our community.”

Stream/Download The Beautiful:

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