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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rap Therapy? Hip-Hop Music is Being Used to Treat Depression


Music, in general, has been considered therapeutic by many. Hip-hop, which was developed by African Americans in the 70's, has been particularly used by therapists to treat mental health issues such as depression in the past years.
Mental health is one of the most talked about health issue recently. It is a serious matter that could affect anybody -- may it be common folks or celebrities.

Some artists let it out through their songs. Rapper Kanye West said through the lyrics of his 2007 song Clique, "went through, deep depression when my mama passed, suicide, what kinda talk is that." Jay-Z has also been open about his visit to the therapist on his song Smile from the album 4:44. Rappers Kendrick Lamar and Kid Cudi were also open about their battle with depression.

Previous studies confirm that the music we love listening to is a great tool for treating mental health issues. Writing, in itself, helps decrease anxiety, manage triggers, and address depression. Add to the fact that the beats and rhymes bring more depth to its therapeutic nature.

In the book titled Rap Therapy: A Practical Guide for Communicating with Youth and Young Adults Through Rap Music," psychologist Don Elligan discussed a 6-step rap therapy. It includes finding music that the person would most likely relate to or discover the source of pain by analyzing the lyrics of their favorite song.

Some youth development organizations are making use of this method and they have found it effective. An organization based in Oakland, California called Beats, Rhymes, and Life uses hip-hop in its therapeutic programs designed specifically for boys and young men of color. For more details, visit
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