MA, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
Max grew up in Northern New Mexico, the son of a Jewish father and Cuban/Chilean mother. Growing up mixed race in a multicultural environment gave him a wide range of perspective and exposed him to many walks of life. Max graduated with his Master’s degree in counseling psychology from John F Kennedy University with a specialization in Transpersonal Psychology in 2014. There he lead collaborative poetry/rhythm workshops and wrote his thesis on Hip Hop Therapy. After graduating he worked for 5 years as a mental health clinician with at-risk/at promise youth in various elementary schools, middle schools and high schools throughout the bay area. His work in these schools included developing and leading Hip Hop Therapy groups/workshops as well as providing various trainings to staff and parents around the areas of mindfulness, trauma and suicide prevention. Before attending graduate school Max worked for several years with an organization called The Beat Within, where he led poetry/rap and creative writing workshops with incarcerated youth in Juvenile Halls in Alameda and Santa Clara counties. Here he truly discovered his passion for working with youth in a creative capacity and witnessed the raw therapeutic power of hip hop, and it’s potential to engage, deeply impact, and transform the lives of these youth. He has since made it his mission to effectively bridge the gap between hip hop and therapy. During grad school he met fellow JFK student Jonah Scott and the assemblage of this vision became clear. Ever since Max was a young teen hip hop has always been his first love and passion and was his refuge and source of strength through many challenging periods of his life. This supportive and developmental relationship with the art form has been as both a listener as well as a creator. Max is an MC and producer who’s creative expression is often informed by his strong passion and hunger for social justice. Part of his motivation stems from a rich family history of social and political activism that goes back many generations. Max is actively involved in various Oakland hip hop collectives and brings this artistic perspective into his work with youth.
LMFT, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director
Jonah is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Bay Area native with a strong family lineage in social justice and sociopolitical activism. As an undergraduate in the Peace and Conflict Studies department at UC Berkeley, he focused on exploring links between creativity and health, and how these could be implemented in areas such as violence prevention and conflict resolution. He then went on to obtain his MA in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 2013, where he wrote his thesis on Hip Hop as a therapeutic medium. It was here where he began to connect the dots between his life-long love and passion for hip-hop, his instilled understanding around structural social and racial inequalities, and his innate drive to be of service. It was also here where he met Rhythmic Mind co-founder Max Kline, and began development of the program models and curriculums. After obtaining his MA, he worked passionately as a therapist with at-risk/at-promise youth at numerous middle and high schools throughout Oakland, CA. This work included designing and facilitating Hip Hop Therapy groups and utilizing Hip Hop music and culture in individual sessions with youth. With over 30 years creating original Hip Hop music himself, he has experienced first hand its therapeutic capacity, and is greatly motivated by the desire to share this with others.
lcsw, program facilitator
Carla Felten is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has over 12 years of experience working with “at-risk”/at-promise youth in mental health, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems in three different states. Originally from Santa Cruz, she is now based in Oakland and supports youth and families throughout California as a therapist. While not a Hip Hop artist herself, she is a singer/songwriter and has a profoundly deep love for music. Her connection to Hip Hop has had a tremendous positive impact on her life, especially around re-authoring her own narrative of what Hip Hop culture means to her personally and in her work with youth. As a woman of color, she knows firsthand the impact that representation has in therapeutic spaces, and is motivated by being able to offer that to the youth she serves. She brings a phenomenal depth of compassion and empathy to the work she does with our organization, and connects with the youth in a way that is both clinically savvy and richly soulful.
nelson ambeau III
staff artist/program facilitator
Nelson AKA Ambeau Inc. has a true love for music, a passion for working hard, and a strong will to help others find their goals. Born in San Francisco and raised in Vallejo, CA, he is an incredibly talented multi-instrument musician, composer, rapper and producer/beatmaker. A graduate of our programs himself, he knows first hand how powerful the work we do can be, and is driven by a strong desire to share that experience with other youth. Working with us as a Youth Artist Liason, he uses his impressive musical expertise to assist youth in our programs with beat-making and rhyme writing.
Adisa Banjoko (aka The Bishop) is a master storyteller, award winning author, scholar, and podcaster who shares time moving between the San Francisco Bay Area and the UK. He has interviewed and connected on deep levels with some of the most highly esteemed and influential artists in the history of Hip Hop, including Tupac Shakur and members of the Wu-Tang clan. Adisa is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt instructor and teacher of various forms of mindfulness and meditation. Adisa has taught group sessions and private lessons for adults, women and children of all backgrounds. He currently serves as the Head Coach of the University of San Francisco Jiu-Jitsu Club. He also teaches at Ralph Gracie San Jose. From 2014-2019 Adisa served as Head Chess and Jiu-Jitsu instructor at Zaytuna College in Berkeley California. In 2019 he was personally invited by RZA of Wu-Tang Clan to teach at “Camp Tazo” on Staten Island alongside RZA himself and Shaolin Monk Shi Yan Ming. In 2020 he was named a Yerba Buena Center of the Arts Top 100 for his groundbreaking work teaching nonviolent philosophy through chess and Hip-Hop in juvenile halls and schools across the country. He also hosts the Bishop Chronicles podcast on stoic resilience. Along with the wisdom gained from these various backgrounds and achievements, he brings his extensive and dynamic knowledge and experience of Hip Hop music and culture into his role as a Rhythmic Mind program facilitator.
Makeda Tucker AKA Queen M.A.K., describes herself as a Bay Area Black Native, a writer, a rapper, and a producer. She loves making music that educates and that people can relate to. A truly powerful young woman, Makeda works with Rhythmic Mind as a Youth Artist Liaison, helping to facilitate some of our workshops and cyphers, providing youth peer connection. Her ability to use her formidable musical skills in the service of uplifting others always shines through, and her talent and dedication to the work is authentic and heartfelt.
Jeremy Harris Herron
STAFF artist/program facilitator
Jeremy DeSean Harris Herron AKA Remyd is a legend in the world of battle rap as well as an extremely gifted MC and songwriter. Born in St. Louis, MO during the Reagan era, he has been a challenge to normality since his conception. As a battle rapper Remyd has faced some of the best rappers in the world. His work has been cited by many publications such as The Source magazine as well websites such as Worldstar Hip Hop and Hip Hop DX and he has performed in almost every major city in the US. In addition to his battle rap/music career he also works as an Empowerment Coordinator with a non-profit called Village Connect, leading African American male empowerment workshops. In his work with us he facilitates powerful presentations on the origins and history of Hip Hop music and culture and also uses his extraordinary ability as a freestyle rapper/lyricist in his role as lead facilitator of our Freestyle Therapy Cyphers (FTC’s).
staff artist/program facilitator
Johnnie Cleveland aka JC is a prolific producer, artist, and songwriter based in the Bay Area currently living in Novato, CA with his son, daughter, and wife. He has a web series called “Rhythms With JC” where he makes live beats on the spot from kits he created from scratch. In addition, he hosts a local artist community event by the name of “Rhythms & Rhymes” aka RNR415 in Fairfax, CA. Over the years, Johnnie has been consulting, working with kids, producing artists, headlining his own shows and has had the honor to Dj and perform with notable Hip Hop artists such as The Locksmith, Nef The Pharoah, Zion I, and San Quinn. He is a lead facilitator of our Freestyle Therapy Cyphers, and additionally utilizes his dynamic talents in assisting us with teaching youth beat-making/production skills, as well as helping mix and master songs the youth create.
Gabriel Aranda, or more commonly known by friends as Gabi, has lived in the Bay Area his whole life. Born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland and Berkeley, he spent his whole life in creative environments. As a self-taught musician, he has been producing and recording music projects for himself and other artists since the age of 16, and has been privileged to perform on large stages around the world. Gabi spent 3 years straight traveling throughout Central and South America, and during this time he taught theater workshops to international students and developed a music studio which he ran in Ecuador for over a year. Gabi was our first staff artist, and primarily assists us in teaching beat production skills to youth, as well as doing some mixing and mastering work on the songs the youth complete.