University of Cambridge are using hip hop to help bring about positive vibesBy Editor
Everyone agrees that music has the ability to alter your mood. You put on your favourite band and it can rev you up for the day; you accidentally put on the artist you despise the most you might be sent into a wild, uncontrollable rage.
But now it seems that there is more science to this than meets the mind, as some leading researchers at the University of Cambridge believe it is possible to treat problems concerning people with mental illness with then genre of hip hop.
In a new strategy, HIP HOP PSYCH, the university will use at the music of artists like Nas and Tupac with an intention to therapeutically help those with mental health issues.
Led by Dr Akeem Sule and Dr Becky Inkster, who co-founded the concept believe the music type is important because:
“Much of hip-hop comes from areas of great socioeconomic deprivation, so it’s inevitable that its lyrics will reflect the issues faced by people brought up in these areas, including poverty, marginalisation, crime and drugs.”
“In fact, we can see in the lyrics many of the key risk factors for mental illness, from which it can be difficult to escape. Hip-hop artists use their skills and talents not only to describe the world they see, but also as a means of breaking free. There’s often a message of hope in amongst the lyrics, describing the place where they want to be – the cars they want to own, the models they want to date.”
Speaking on why the content's lyrical importance, the project's architects have pointed out the 'positive visual imagery' that peppers hip hop, which is something
University of Oxford's Professor Emily Holmes explored when they asked those living with depression or a bi-polar disorder to use their imagination to create positive vibes.
Following on from this idea by using rap music, Sule said: “We believe that hip-hop, with its rich, visual narrative style, can be used to make therapies that are more effective for specific populations and can help patients with depression to create more positive images of themselves, their situations and their future,” says Sule.
The next step for the pair is to move HIP HOP PSYCH to other environs, including schools, hostels and prisons in an attempt to help bring about a positive mentality and confidence and has already had backing from hip hop artist in the UK.
Sule believes: “It’s been about forty years since hip-hop first began in the ghettos of New York City and it has come a long way since then, influencing areas as diverse as politics and technology. Now we hope to add medicine to the list.”
So if you're feeling low, or lacking in self esteem, why not put on some Biggie?