Rapping About Type 1

2015 appears to be the year that life with Type 1 diabetes got put to music. A research group, Perle Bioscience, commissioned a song by American Idol contestant Adam Lasher and country singer Amanda Jo called “Needle Free” to rally the troops for Perle’s work to find a two-pronged functional cure for Type 1 diabetes. A Teen Mom, Mackenzie McKee, also…ahem….tried to rap about how to be healthy with diabetes, but she sadly ends up muddling things with her lyrics. YouTube also had many homemade entries of songs on life with Type 1 diabetes in 2015.

One track that might have flown under the radar for some is a spoken-word R&B tune called “TYPE-1” by Gambo, an Indiana-based musician. He describes the daily grind of diabetes care that his nephew, Rajan, must undergo, and praises the nephew’s mom for her perseverance.

“He’s also autistic, non-verbal…..he can’t speak, so it makes it so much more intense,” Gambo said in an interview with Insulin Nation.

Gambo said he was inspired to write about Type 1 after watching his nephew have to deal with a bout of hypoglycemia. He went home from that visit and began brainstorming lyrics.

“In my music, I try and portray real-life things,” he said. “I try and write about [others’] situations. Very seldom do I write about me.”

The song provides a snapshot of the daily schedule in the life of a child with diabetes, including blood sugar testing, insulin injections, and the need to sit out of activities at times because of blood sugar fluctuations. Gambo also uses the lyrics to dispel myths about diabetes. Gambo says that his goal isn’t strictly to educate people, but to bring people together to think about the condition.

“I try to use the music as common ground,” he said. “If I can do that and make it musical and sound good…..people have no choice but to learn.”

Gambo has been active in Type 1 diabetes fundraising in Indiana, and has created a non-profit, We Want Victory, to fundraise for JDRF. To learn more, you can go to

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Craig Idlebrook is a past editor for Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Información Sobre Diabetes. He is now the community engagement and content manager for T1D Exchange.

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