Cambridge pioneers Hip-Hop to help Depression

Introducing “Hip-hop therapy”: The bizarre new technique psychiatrists at Cambridge are proposing will help those with mental illnesses.

hip hop mental illness

Hip-hop music, which originated in New York in the 1970s, and is characterised by the glorification of violence and sexism, seems an unlikely solution to serious mental illnesses.

But in an article published in The Lancet Psychiatry, a team of Cambridge psychiatrists recommend listening to tracks from the likes of the Notorious B.I.G. and other hip-hop artists as a form of therapy.

Dr Akeem Sule, consultant psychiatrist at the university, explains:

“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”. He adds that there is “often a message of hope in amongst the lyrics”.

David Cameron has previously expressed disapproval of the music genre, warning that it “encouraged people to carry guns and knives”. Yet, Dr Sule thinks hip-hop “can help patients with depression to create more positive images of themselves”.

Big Up

Big Up

If the academics’ ideas are taken seriously, HIP HOP PSYCH will soon be taken into prisons, schools and hostels to encourage engagement with hip-hop as a way to battle problems with self-esteem and depression.

The psychiatrists have come up with three tracks in particular to help alleviate depression…

  1. Juicy by the Notorious B.I.G.(1994)
  2. The Message by Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five (1982)
  3. Lady heroin by J Flex (1997)

Dr Inkster, Clinical Neuroscientist in the Department of Psychiatry, believes the tracks represent “socially conscious realism in the ghetto.”

Not all are convinced however. Husna, a Philosophy student at King’s, thinks the therapy could be an innovative new approach to the issues, but is unsure whether it could really confront “the complexities of mental illness” in a significant way.

Of course to that Biggie Smalls would say, “Fuck all you hoes, Get a grip motherfucker”. If only it were that simple…