Hip-hop’s vs. Mental Health

30 October 2014

By Lauren E. White

Music. Arguably the most powerful creation in the world. It’s soothing, controversial and sometimes appalling – but hip-hop especially is a genre that is causing some stir in the music business and media.

Two scientists in the UK are using rap lyrics to tread depression, addiction and bipolar disorder. Hip-hop is presented to us with an image of fast cars, cash and models – but, this truly touching revelation from the scientists proves that it’s not all negative.

“Hip Hop Psych is opening up a new culture which branches across medicine and hio-hop with amazing responses,” said neuroscientist Dr Becky Inkster from Cambridge University as she spoke to Newsbeat.

Inkster’s Nigerian colleague, Dr Akeem Sule, told of how he wanted to be a rapper himself, but his parents wanted him to take up psychiatry and his home background meant ‘you did what your parents said’.

The dream team are using the likes of J Cole and Professor Green’s material to help treat patients and at their Hip Hop Psych events that are ran separately from the university.

Green, real name Stephen Manderson, fronted the Radio 1 documentary ‘Suicide Survivors’ and even opened up about his own experience of his father taking his own life when he was 24.

“Writing lyrics helps me get issues out of my head, where they get mumbled and jumbled,” said Pro Green, whose real name is Stephen Manderson.

When you put your thoughts on paper, it helps you get them out, so you have something to look at, and analyse.”

Exactly like the rapping professionals, patients find it difficult to express how they feel, but ‘if you ask them to rap, they can rap’.


If you are having a tough time at the moment, you could talk to a teacher or parent as well as contacting the people below:

ChildLine (under 18s only) – 0800 1111

Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90

SANE – 0845 767 8000

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