I could be wrong in saying this (who am I). Hear me out, but I wouldn't expect you to accept something if it's not true for you. I wanted to give you any encouragement I could give for your journey.
My husband has depression and I love thinking about psychology and even though my husband wants to be happy, his depression makes it so hard. We talk a lot about mindset. We're both so screwed up, just like everyone else out there. My husband and I enjoy your music and we were discussing your recent lyrics and what might be going on.
We noticed that for a while you made success by processing your pain in an honest way through music/poetry. That was therapy, ...but now you write about feeling trapped by your career because it's a certain style/theme/vibe.
It's like, at first it was honest to you, but now that you're ready to change and heal, you feel stuck in a mask of an old vibe you used to carry. Now it's no longer the pain from growing up that's the issue, but now it's being someone your not on stage anymore, because you're more evolved than you were.
Is your biggest fear that you'll lose your sense of purpose if you let go of your "pain"? Your pain is attatched to your work, the "brand." If you let that pain go, will you lose your work...your message...what defines YOU? I don't think you will lose yourself if you do.
You won't lose your purpose or what you have to say if you heal from your pain. You will STILL have something worthy and valuable to say, because God says your worthy. You will HAVE purpose, you will still be passionate and you will still create. In fact, by being true to yourself, that's the best art that's made and how art is meant to be.
We all need to change and grow and your music should change to follow your HEART--it's made alive by it. But don't let your music "brand" stay the same if it means that your once-honest music now become the mask you wear and burden of chains that weigh you down.
Your fans might not want to change--they will want you to stay the same, but you have to do YOU. You always did have to be brave and you have the same bravery to follow your convictions to be who you are and desire to be, deep down in the goodness of you.
Are you afraid that healing or stepping into who you are meant to be will make you lose your fanbase, style, message? You might be at a crossroads, but I believe you have the chance to choose YOU. To say yes to new posibilities for yourself.
Now that you find yourself at crossroads, do you chose to stay in a message and theme that no longer suites who you are becoming (a more healed person) to save your career, or do you save your heart and your work, by changing your music, your message, to maintain that raw honesty that you put into your work? If you decide to continue doing work/music that's a now a mask, your soul will feel like it was sold to the devil for success.
I'd just like to say, that ART and who YOU are were both meant to be raw, honest, expressions of self, but art (and we) is also imperfect. What I have learned is that ART teaches us to accept ourselves. Art (music, or any form) is healing and transforms us. It helps us process. In order to make or create anything, we have to be vulnerable enough to accept ourselves as we are, imperfect s we can express it and move on to the next thing.
But can we accept ourselves if we become better? If our pain becomes our identity, and you are no longer that same person, that pain becomes a mask. Why have guilt for being imperfect? Why have guilt for growing, changing and becoming even greater? We all change and grow, and no one should be forced to stay the same or be someone they are not. I do art for art. And if I ever make lots of money from it, I'd come to a similar crossroads....
Let your childhood dream of being a singer/rapper be the heart in your music now. Don't comromise the message you need to say TODAY, for the outside pressure to be like yesterday.
You won't lose your message, but you might just have more to say. You won't lose who you are if you change or show a different you or put out different music. You think you won't be JUST as passionate if you didn't have your shopping cart/baloons? Think again. Make music for YOU. Don't make music for anyone else.