Hip-Hop has long been remedial for both the artist writing it and the fan listening to it. A pair of scientists today at Cambridge University in England are looking to prove just that via studies related to the treatment of mental illness.
“There is so much more to hip-hop than the public realizes,” Becky Inkster, a neuroscientist in the university’s department of psychiatry, told The Guardian. Inkster along with consultant psychiatrist Akeem Sule have joined forces to create Hip Hop Psych.
Hip Hop Psych believes that the music can not only be studied, but also used as an actual treatment for patients dealing with psychiatric problems.
“One technique we want to explore is to get individuals who are seeking therapy to write out where they see themselves in a year or two and to use rap lyrics to outline their future histories,” she added. “Many key rappers and hip-hop artists come from deprived urban areas which are often hotbeds for problems such as drug abuse, domestic violence and poverty, which are in turn linked to increased occurrences of psychiatric illnesses. These problems are rooted in their language and in their songs.”
“Hip-hop in general, and rap in particular, often carry messages that are much more complex than is generally appreciated,” added Inkster. “That makes it an ideal medium for helping individuals understand their psychological problems and for finding ways to deal with them.”
Inkster and Sule will take their newest endeavor to the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, this Oct. 20 at West Road Music Hall where they will be further explaining Hip Hop Psyche. “We will be covering such artists as Tupac, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole,” they wrote on their homepage. “We love all kinds of hip-hop artists, not just commercially successful ones […] We respect and are part of the hip-hop community and need to keep it authentic. We want to represent hip-hop and maintain respect from the community that we love so much.”