Friday, May 29, 2015

Hip hop and mental health--not what you'd expect

There is a group in Britain called Hip-Hop Psych, which tackles mental health issues through the music of hip hop. They published a paper in Lancet Psychiatry. (Medical News Today, written by David McNamee)

Kendrick Lamar is a rapper from Compton, CA, who has released three albums since 2011. His "To Pimp a Butterfly" is the number one album of 2015 so far.

The group contends that hip hop lyrics go beyond swearing, money lust, and exploitation of women.

Instead, the music is rich with mental health references to addiction, psychosis, conduct disorder, borderline personality disorder, bipolarity, and other ailments.

They cite a Lamar song called "Swimming Pools," about Lamar's hard-drinking grandfather--citing genetic and environmental risk factors for alcoholism.

Another song, called "i," addresses Lamar's belief in God and how this has helped him overcome traumatic circumstances.

So maybe "the kids" won't see a psychiatrist or pick up a psych book, but they might get a different viewpoint from a song.

We have a lot of hip hop playing around here--some of it is very unimaginative in the cursing and dumbed-down words, but it is also catchy...and there may be a message in there someplace.

1 comment:

Star Lawrence said...

I listened to "Swimming Pool" and remember a line about how you get a pool full of liquor and you diiive in." Unless it later hints at how unhealthy this would be, I am not sure this would be effective psychologically....but I am old and not supposed to get it.