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Hip-Hop Saved My Life: Doctors Believe Rap Music Can Treat Depression


A pair of medical professionals believe the best cure for your blues might just be Kendrick Lamar or Jay Z.

Becky Inkster, a neuroscientist, and Akeem Sule, a psychiatrist, teamed up to begin Hip Hop Psych, a program founded on the encouragement we get from hearing others share their success stories.

Because so many rappers write lyrics about their escape from poverty, bad relationships and mental illness, Inkster and Sule believe patients can take encouragement from their music.

What’s more, Inkster says she hopes to enable patients to write about their own dreams in the same style:

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.

While the points about positivity and using language creatively seem valid, it’s impossible to look at the success stories of rappers without noting the many obvious problems present — like the genre’s treatment of women.

Take Eminem’s “Kim,” for example, which he wrote about his ex-wife.

Ha, go ahead yell/Here I’ll scream with you/Ah, somebody help/Don’t you get it bitch, no one can hear you/Now shut the f*ck up and get what’s comin’ to you

No one is going to succeed in therapy because of lyrics like that, although Inkster and Sule argue that some songs are of value simply because they show undiagnosed mental and emotional disorders.

So while it seems the success stories of rap may have value in psychiatric research, Inkster and Sule are picking very specific types of songs to let their patients experience.

H/T: Independent, Photo Courtesy: Beats

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