Medscape article: Psychiatry Moves to a New Beat With Novel Hip-Hop Program
Monday 20th of March, 2017
Hip-hop music and psychiatry may seem like an unlikely pairing, but two UK researchers have developed an innovative program that uses the lyrics of popular rap songs to raise mental health awareness.
Monday 16th of January, 2017
HIP HOP PSYCH interviewed by British Neuroscience Association
Monday 5th of October, 2015
#FreestyleMixtapeEssay - To thank to all of our supporters we are releasing some new thoughts and material on our website to share with you all. This #FreestyleMixtapeEssay release focuses on the issues of social adversity, as portrayed by iconic legendary hip-hop artists Tupac and Eminem. Check it out!
All Eyes on Mental Health & Hip-Hop
by CAMH on September 25, 2015
By Akeem Sule and Becky Inkster, Co-Founders of HIP HOP PSYCH, Cambridge, U.K.
Hip-hop and mental health have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Since the genre’s conception in the early 1970s, hip-hop artists have delivered loud-and-clear messages of personal struggles and strengths, as clearly captured in the recent film Straight Outta Compton. Hip-hop culture embraces self-expression and recognizes the daily trials and tribulations that many people face – the pressures that challenge their state of mind.
The distant worlds of hip-hop and psychiatry collided in 2012 when we launched an innovative social venture called HIP HOP PSYCH. We are both affiliated with Wolfson College and the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Dr. Akeem Sule is a consultant psychiatrist with Cumbria Partnership Trust/South Essex Partnership Trust, and Dr. Becky Inkster is a neuroscientist affiliated with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust. Equally important though, we are passionate hip-hop fans!
Through HIP HOP PSYCH, we link hip-hop music and culture with mental health to cultivate awareness, empower others and remove stigma surrounding mental health and hip-hop. We apply the five elements of hip-hop culture, especially focusing on the fifth element: knowledge.
This has been a momentous year for HIP HOP PSYCH. We published an innovative article in The Lancet Psychiatry entitled “Kendrick Lamar, street poet of mental health” that went viral across the world – gaining more than 1.4 million Facebook shares in less than 72 hours. We also received the Senior Public Communications Prize awarded by the British Association of Psychopharmacology. To top it all off, our FIRST EVER TRIP TO NORTH AMERICA will be held in October to the beautiful city of Toronto!
TORONTO, ARE YOU READY?
We’re excited to team up with CAMH for HIP HOP PSYCH: Demystifying mental illness through hip hop beats and lyrics, on Saturday, October 17, starting at 8 pm, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
Here’s a sneak peek of what it’s like to attend a HIP HOP PSYCH event: Our events offer something for everyone. Absolutely everyone. It’s for those who love hip-hop. It’s for those who hate hip-hop. It’s for those who have experienced mental health problems. It’s for those who want to learn more and help those who suffer.
The best way to describe our events is to let the people who’ve attended – from inside prison walls to prestigious lecture halls, from universities to dance clubs – speak for themselves:
“All prisoners that attended could relate to the music material. They feel that the knowledge and understanding of this event has helped to develop their own coping skills.” (HMP Bedford Prison, UK, In-Reach Team, 2015).
“We enjoyed the intellectually stimulating cross-disciplinary approach of the speakers.” (Cambridge Psychiatry Society, UK, President, 2012).
“The co-founders adapt the format of an event to suit a particular audience. They also incorporate an off-the-cuff delivery with a feeling of spontaneity that makes it all the more refreshing. I truly enjoyed working with both of them for this event.” (Oxford University African Caribbean Society, UK, Liaison Officer, 2014).
We can’t give away all our secrets about our Toronto event, but here’s a glimpse into what you’ll experience:
We’re thrilled that JUNO Award winner Lillian Allen will also perform at this event. Lillian Allen is a creative writing professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) University in Toronto, and one of the originators of dub poetry. She is considered a godmother of rap, hip-hop, dub and spoken word.
At the end of the night, you will walk away realizing that some of the hip-hop songs and artists you love (or hate!) actually contain deep and powerful messages about mental health. The knowledge gained is empowering and will hopefully inspire you to share what you’ve learned and relate what you’ve learned to your own situation and wellbeing.
We hope to see you there!
HIP HOP PSYCH: Demystifying mental illness through hip hop beats and lyrics is happening on Saturday, October 17, starting at 8 pm, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Admission is free.
Kendrick Lamar, street poet of mental health
Akeem Sule, Becky Inkster
We have some astonishing numbers/facts to share about our unprecedented outreach via social media - our messages are getting out there - thank you all According to the University of Cambridge Press Office:
Published Online: 29 April 2015
Kendrick Lamar has received critical acclaim as the hottest hip-hop artist of the past decade. A native of Compton (California, CA, USA), he has had a meteoric rise over the past 3 years. He released his major-label debut album good kid m.A.A.d. city (acronym meaning “my angry adolescence divided”; “my angels on angel dust”) in Oct, 2012, which Rolling Stone considered “worth all the hype”, describing Lamar as “a dazzling street poet” unlike any other from his generation. This album covers the trials and tribulations of an adolescence spent in an inner-city subculture of violence and drugs. His heavily anticipated sophomore album To Pimp a Butterfly was released in March, 2015, and was viewed by many critics as a masterpiece covering even wider subject material, such as the sociopolitical struggles of African-Americans growing up in America, the pressures that come with success, racism, black empowerment, and spirituality. To Pimp a Butterfly showcases a diverse array of musical and artistic genres, including jazz, hip-hop, blues, and spoken-word, and an interlaced poem that develops through the album.
To that, we would add that Lamar’s rich narratives relate to important mental-health themes, including addiction, depression, and resilience. As co- founders of a social venture called Hip Hop Psych, we are interested in interpreting hip-hop lyrics through the filters of psychiatry and the neurosciences. In this essay, we offer a glimpse into our work through the dissection of Kendrick Lamar’s conscious lyricism.
Lancet Psychiatry: A hip-hop state of mind
Tuesday 11th of November, 2014
Akeem and Becky's paper, "A Hip-Hop State of Mind" is now published in Lancet Psychiatry!
Lancet Psychiatry 2014
HIP HOP PSYCH in Cambridge Evening News
Tuesday 11th of November, 2014
HIP HOP PSYCH initiative aims to tackle mental health issues through hip-hop
Tuesday 11th of November, 2014
"It’s been about forty years since hip-hop first began in the ghettos of New York City and it has come a long way since then, influencing areas as diverse as politics and technology. Now we hope to add medicine to the list" - Becky Inkster
Hip-hop therapy in action
Tuesday 28th of October, 2014
HIP HOP PSYCH is collaborating with Dr Adia Winfrey, creator of H.Y.P.E.-- Healing Young People thru Empowerment, which integrates Hip-Hop culture and psychological theories to educate and inspire youth.
Learn more about H.Y.P.E., the program developer Dr. Adia Winfrey here: letsgethype.com.
Can HIP HOP PSYCH help people battling with mental illness?
Thursday 23rd of October, 2014
Wednesday 22nd of October, 2014
We really appreciate the coverage and chance to share our vision about mental health and hip-hop, however, we have been misrepresented in terms of our hip-hop credibility. While we appreciate the song Happy by Pharrell Williams, we do not use that song as an example as we feel it represents pop culture and we are keen to dissect hip-hop lyrics as we are incredibly passionate about hip-hop. For example, at our Cambridge Festival of Ideas event 20th October West Road Music Hall, Cambridge, we will be covering such artists as Tupac, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and J Cole. We love all kinds of hip-hop artists, not just commercially successful ones. We are trying to correct the misunderstanding made by the Guardian. 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.
We would like to highlight that even though Pharrell Williams has a successful pop career, he is also solid for his hip-hop career: