Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip-Hop

by Susan Hadley, George Yancy

In perceiving all rap and hip-hop music as violent, misogynistic, and sexually charged, are we denying the way in which it is attentive to the lived experiences, both positive and negative, of many therapy clients? This question is explored in great depth in this anthology, the first to examine the use of this musical genre in the therapeutic context. The contributors are all experienced therapists who examine the multiple ways that rap and hip-hop can be used in therapy by listening and discussing, performing, creating, or improvising.
The text is divided into three sections that explore the historical and theoretical perspectives of rap and hip-hop in therapy, describe the first-hand experiences of using the music with at-risk youth, and discuss the ways in which contributors have used rap and hip-hop with clients with specific diagnoses, respectively.
Within these sections, the contributors provide rationale for the use of rap and hip-hop in therapy and encourage therapists to validate the experiences for those for whom rap music is a significant mode of expression. Editors Susan Hadley and George Yancy go beyond promoting culturally competent therapy to creating a paradigm shift in the field, one that speaks to the problematic ways in which rap and hip-hop have been dismissed as expressive of meaningless violence and of little social value. More than providing tools to incorporate rap into therapy, this text enhances the therapist's cultural and professional repertoire.

  • Taylor and Francis; September 2011
  • ISBN: 9781136652332
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip-Hop
  • Author: Susan Hadley (ed.); George Yancy (ed.)
  • Imprint: Routledge

In The Press

"This is an informative book on rap and hip-hop history and culture that is now in the commercial domain of music. I was surprised by and admire the work these contributors have done and are doing with young people and adults around the world." –BACP Children and Young People

"Hadley and Yancy's pioneering volume illuminates the value of rap music and Hip-Hop culture in psychotherapy, in group settings with at-risk youth, in juvenile detention, with cancer patients, in pediatric medical settings, and in grief therapy for those experiencing loss, and provides protocol for therapists who are unfamiliar with the genre." - James G. Spady, Author, Tha Global Cipha and Marcus Garvey, Jazz, Reggae, Hip Hop and The African Diaspora

"[...]this book explores how the performance of Hip-Hop aesthetics and rap lyrics has potential as a culturally sensitive approach to therapy and critical commentary. [...]the authors demonstrate how young people who find themselves silenced and marginalized can use rap and Hip-Hop culture in ways that enable them to speak beyond internal and external barriers." - Brynjulf Stige, Professor of Music Therapy, The University of Bergen and GAMUT, Uni Health, Uni Research, Norway

"[The authors] have put together an engrossing collection of essays regarding rap and hip-hop music as therapeutic tools for professionals in music therapy, psychology, social work, and public health in general. [This book] is a pioneering resource for those interested in popular-music studies as well as for therapy professionals. The book is not a how-to manual, but it is filled with inspirational and innovative ideas about how to utilize rap/hip-hop music to good effect in a therapeutic setting. Equally helpful for musicians interested in learning more about music therapy and for therapists looking for new ideas in their own practices." -- A. C. Shahriari, Kent State University

"Susan Hadley and george Yancy have edited an interesting and compelling book that looks at the role and success of rap and hip-hop music in a therapeutic milieu. The volume would be interesting to music therapists and other individuals who are seeking creative ways of working with adolescents, especially those adolescents who are involved with the rap/hip-hop genre. The strength of the book is in the specific examples explaining how to do this type of therapy as well as the culturally diverse approaches that various authors report. Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip Hop makes a compelling and informative case for helping individuals in an strength-based, fluid modality that is fun and engaging." - Carol Drucker, PsycCRITIQUES

About The Author

Susan Hadley, PhD, MT-BC, is Professor of Music Therapy at Slippery Rock University. She is the editor of several influential books and has published numerous scholarly articles and book chapters. Her research focuses on feminism, race, disability, and psychotherapy.

George Yancy, PhD, is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University.  He is the author of Black Bodies, White Gazes: The Continuing Significance of Race and Look, A White! Philosophical Essays on Whiteness. Yancy has also edited 12 influential books, three of which have received CHOICE Awards.