The Power of Healing: Hip-Hop Music

Reggie Myers

Since its inception in the late 1970s, hip-hop music has risen to a prominent place in American culture. It has been praised for its political nature at times, and gained a reputation for both its misogynistic and violent lyrics. HipHop has even inspired college courses; some of them even being taught by rappers themselves. Hip-hop has proven to be influential in any arena it enters whether consumer marketing, or political advocacy. However, many people usually don’t think of hip-hop as something that can be beneficial to someone’s mental health. In light of recent events, that may change with a team of mental health professionals at Cambridge University.

A team of psychiatrists at the University of Cambridge released a report stating hip-hop music can help depressed and mentally ill individuals. According to a story published earlier this week, the team states that lyrics overcoming hardship and articulating problems over rap lyrics provide a ‘refuge’ and an ’emotional outlet’.

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According to The Telegraph article, the team proposes hip-hop therapy to work like positive visualisation. Listeners are encouraged to envision better futures for themselves using the music’s lyrics to help them cope with depression and bipolar episodes. The psychiatrists hope to take hip-hop therapy to schools and prisons amongst other environments.

Some of the songs that were chosen by the University of Cambridge psychiatrists include ‘Juicy’ by The Notorious B.I.G., ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and ‘Lady Heroin’ by J Flex ft. Lady of R. While these songs are great, there are many other songs that could be of use to hip-hop therapy. Check out a few of my personal choices below:

Tupac – Me Against The World

Kendrick Lamar – i

DMX – Slippin’

Isaiah Rashad – Heavenly Father

Foxy Brown – Cradle to the Grave

Kendrick Lamar – Poe Man’s Dreams (His Vice)

Kendrick Lamar – Wanna Be Heard

Queen Latifah – U.N.I.T.Y.

Nas – I Can

Angel Haze – Same Love

Are there any hip-hop songs that have helped you with difficult circumstances, either by being empowering or just by showing you someone else is going through something similar to what you have? Let me know.

About Reggie Myers

Reggie Myers is a writer and communications professional living in Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated from Temple University. Music, television, film, books, video games, politics, and human sexuality are just a few of the many things that make him tick. When he's not working behind a computer screen, you can find him looking for new adventures, practicing photography, scheming ways to get to the front row of a concert, or scouring the corners of the internet for new music to put his friends on to. @reggieakil