• Digital health and well-being

    Hip-hop's survival anthems: Incarceration narratives and identifying resilience factors in Maino's lyrics


    Hip-hop is increasingly playing a role in mental health. It has opened up new conversations around mental health with hard-to-reach groups, driven, in part, by world famous hip-hop artists speaking openly about their own struggles.


    A number of mental health disorders are related to adverse social experiences (e.g., bereavements, loss, incarceration, child abuse, financial difficulties).


    The authors examine resilience factors exhibited by hip-hop artist, Maino, focusing on lyrics from his song ‘All the Above’. The authors draw upon observations from his documented life experiences to speculate on what resilience factors shaped his journey



    Kendrick Lamar, street poet of mental health


    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



    Neural correlates of lyrical improvisation: an FMRI study of freestyle rap.


    The neural correlates of creativity are poorly understood. Freestyle rap provides a unique opportunity to study spontaneous lyrical improvisation, a multidimensional form of creativity at the interface of music and language. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize this process. Task contrast analyses indicate that improvised performance is characterized by dissociated activity in medial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, providing a context in which stimulus-independent behaviors may unfold in the absence of conscious monitoring and volitional control. Connectivity analyses reveal widespread improvisation-related correlations between medial prefrontal, cingulate motor, perisylvian cortices and amygdala, suggesting the emergence of a network linking motivation, language, affect and movement. Lyrical improvisation appears to be characterized by altered relationships between regions coupling intention and action, in which conventional executive control may be bypassed and motor control directed by cingulate motor mechanisms. These functional reorganizations may facilitate the initial improvisatory phase of creative behavior.



    Eminem’s Character, Stan: A Bio-Psycho-Social Autopsy


    Eminem is a multi-platinum selling Hip Hop artist. For over a decade he has proven his mastery of multisyllabic rhyming and vivid storytelling. In this article, we dissect lyrics from one of Eminem’s most critically acclaimed songs, ‘Stan’, for mental health themes. We use the bio-psycho-social model to explore contributing factors leading to the decline of Stan’s mental health. For the results, we speculate that Stan might be suffering with emotionally unstable personality disorder of the borderline type as evidenced by self-harm, overdose, fear of abandonment, chronic emptiness, self-image and sexual identity issues, and impulsivity. Stan speaks of having an adverse early childhood, which we propose relates to changes in Stan’s brain that affect his ability to cope with stress. In conclusion we highlight the feasibility of using Hip Hop lyrics to open up dialogues around mental health and for bridging youth culture with the medical community



    Drug term trends in American hip-hop lyrics


    Many young people around the world embrace hip-hop music and culture. Since the genre’s conception in the 1970s, hip-hop music and lyrics have made regular references to drugs. Understanding the relevance of these documented trends is important, especially as adolescence is a period of high risk for substance misuse. The purpose of this paper is to explore how and possibly why different lyrical trends in hip-hop music have emerged, risen and fallen out of popularity by examining word usage frequency of drug terminology in hip-hop lyrics spanning several decades of this genre. Design/methodology/approach – Electronic searches were completed using an open source database known as Rap Genius Rap Stats, which contains verified annotations and text. Word frequency was plotted against time using data available from 1988 to 2015. Word frequency was defined as a percentage of the number of hip-hop songs containing a specific drug-term (per year) based on the number of hip-hop songs recorded/produced (that year). Standardized “medical/pharmaceutical” terminologies and common “street” terminologies were plotted independently for time series visualization. Drug terms were represented using the highest frequency search term. Generic “street” terms with multiple meanings were excluded. Findings – As might be predicted, the usage of “street” terms in hip-hop lyrics was more frequently observed than the usage of “medical/pharmaceutical” terms. An exception was the term “crack”, which was included in both plots as this word could be referenced as a “street” term and as a “medical/pharmaceutical” term. The authors observed larger fluctuations in “street” term usage across time relative to only slight fluctuations of “medical/pharmaceutical” term usage across time. Originality/value – In this study, the authors illustrate several drug terminology trends in hip-hop lyrics. The authors discuss some of the socio-political, socio-demographic and geographical implications that may have influenced these trends, such as the rise of the “street” term molly that emerged when references to molly made by hip-hop artists became increasingly popular and a more suburban demographic transpired. This preliminary work may help to enhance two-way youth-oriented communication between health care professionals and service users, possibly improving the translation of drug-related medical messages. The preliminary work may also inform future research to consider whether such lyrical trends precede or follow changes in population substance use.



    A Systematic Review of Amenable Resilience Factors That Moderate and/or Mediate the Relationship Between Childhood Adversity and Mental Health in Young People


    Background: Up to half of Western children and adolescents experience at least one type of childhood adversity. Individuals with a history of childhood adversity have an increased risk of psychopathology. Resilience enhancing factors reduce the risk of psychopathology following childhood adversity. A comprehensive overview of empirically supported resilience factors is critically important for interventions aimed to increase resilience in young people. Moreover, such an overview may aid the development of novel resilience theories. Therefore, we conducted the first systematic review of social, emotional, cognitive and/or behavioral resilience factors after childhood adversity.



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