Lush One Interview

MC/battle rap pioneer Lush One chops it up with Rhythmic Mind Co-Founder Max Kline about how Hip Hop helped him to form a strong identity from a young age, and not only gave him a lot of self-confidence and a sense of belonging, but also a way to authentically build community with others using Hip Hop as a universal language to bridge worlds and connect across all racial, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries/backgrounds. He discusses all the positive/therapeutic aspects of battle rap, as well as his journey to sobriety and how it’s affected his self-perception and creativity/way of being in the world. All of this through the lens of the transformative and healing power of Hip Hop and how it’s been so instrumental in shaping his life on every level.

We Got The Grant! TFS and Rhythmic Mind Receive $45,000 California Arts Council JUMP StArts

We make art, and we make a difference! @CalArtsCouncil is supporting our work through their JumpStArts program. #ArtsCA Press Release

Today’s Future Sound (TFS) and Rhythmic Mind (RM) are proud to announce that we were awarded $45,000 grant to continue and expand our current #TherapeuticBeatMaking (TBM) program led by senior TFS staff Elwin Williams III aka @darapnerd (Project Coordinator and Instructor) and Marlon Richardson aka @unlearntheworld (Instructor) in the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center to include the Advanced Narrative Therapeutic Songwriting (ANTS) / #HipHopTherapy program.

Since 2016, TFS has run TBM groups in the hall, with an expansion of services to include twice-weekly delivery and work with even more units than previous years, thanks to the CAC JumpStArts grant. Youth participants were able to learn the craft of beat making on Ableton and #AbletonPush with TFS instructors, in addition to learning the basics of recording and audio engineering.

With this year’s increased funding RM was able to come on board as a partner/collaborator. This not only allows twice-weekly TBM sessions for the unit where we have worked since 2016, but in addition a select group of youth will be able to engage in an in-depth process of rhymewriting/songwriting involving the re-authoring of their personal narratives and recording of original collaborative songs. The ANTS program, led by Rhythmic Mind, integrates mindfulness, visualization, and a host of other therapeutic modalities, informed by the most current trauma research and practice delivered through a #strengthbased culturally-responsive approach.

#JUMPStArts #hiphoped #strengthsbased #culturallyresponsive #healingpowerofhiphop

Lyrics Born Interview

Interview with rapper/actor Lyrics Born, one of the most skilled lyricists in the game. He explores how hip hop helped him find his voice and place, discusses being a trailblazer as an Asian American rapper, and also unpacks the therapeutic benefits of entrepreneurship/ownership and how he uses his music to help him get through challenging times and deal with grief and loss.

Dr. Bruce Perry Interview

An interview we did with Dr. Bruce Perry, a leading expert in trauma research and treatment.  He discusses how and why highly rhythmic activities, and specifically hip hop, can be extremely effective tools in addressing trauma and its impact on one’s functioning and well being.

Remy D Interview

Rhythmic Mind interview with legendary battle rapper, freestyle wizard, and all around extremely dope MC RemyD, He touches on some really powerful dynamics, such as how Hip Hop gave him an authentic voice, to be used in place of a voice/language forced on him through oppression. He goes on to share an incredibly personal and touching story about how Hip Hop literally saved his life.

Mistah FAB Interview

An interview we did with the legendary Bay Area rapper and entrepreneur Mistah FAB, at his clothing store Dope Era in Downtown Oakland.  He discusses how Hip-Hop/rap has been therapeutic and healing for him, and reflects in depth on how the journey of growth in his life has shaped and is reflected in his music.  He unpacks the impact of trauma on his community, and how he has tried to address these issues through his music.  He shares some of his philosophies and practices around the process of personal growth and development, breaks down how they have contributed to his well being, and explores how Hip-Hop can be a powerful tool in this process.

Amend TDK Interview

Interview we did with Amend, a graffiti artist from the world renowned TDK crew out of Oakland, CA. We asked him how hip hop, and graffiti specifically, have been healing and therapeutic throughout the course of his life. He explores how while growing up graffiti provided a positive/creative alternative to the gang culture that was pervasive in his neighborhood. He goes on the breakdown the way in which it gave him a powerful and revolutionary form of self expression which served as a resistance against the oppressive onslaught of corporate marketing. Additionally, he speaks to how graffiti has been, and continues to be an emotional refuge from the many stresses of world, providing him with a sense of clarity and inner peace.

Tajai from Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics Crew Interview

Rhythmic Mind interview with Tajai of Souls of Mischief/Hieroglyphics, discussing how hip hop has been a therapeutic force in his life, on many levels.  He unpacks how, in the face of the political, social and economic oppression his community faced while growing up in East Oakland, hip hop/rap provided a crucial and much needed source of positive reinforcement.  He touches on how hip hop has been a path to self fulfillment, a means of sharpening focus, and a powerful tool for stress relief.

Frak Interview

Interview we did with Frak, Bay Area MC/Battle Rapper/Educator, discussing the myriad ways hip hop has provided therapeutic experiences through different facets of his life.

Rhythmic Mind/Hip-Hop Therapy case study: 01

The youth in this particular instance came to the group with challenges of anxiety and a sense of isolation. He expressed a pervasive feeling of disconnection and estrangement, from himself and others, and shared that he often felt outside of himself, watching his own life pass by. By and large, he didn’t engage the world with much confidence, and tended to be fairly socially withdrawn.

Through the course of the group, he created an original piece of Hip-Hop music, producing the beat and writing the lyrics. While already a prolific and talented beat maker, this was his first time writing and recording lyrics for a song. His proficiency and talent as a beat maker/producer allowed him to step into a leadership role within the group, assisting the other members with creating their own beats. This started to help build a sense of confidence and capacity, as he was able connect with his peers in a positive, value affirming manner.

This growing sense of confidence and positive self-concept was then further catalyzed and fully actualized through the process of writing and recording his own song. The conceptual framework the group provided was around how the participants deal with and overcome challenge. In this context of challenge and resilience, we asked the participants to consider what they want their futures to be and how they see themselves actualizing this future; and to then use this as the musical and lyrical inspiration for their songs. This youth chose to focus on his passion and talent for music as both his future vision and the means of getting there.

Through the process of conceptualizing, writing and recording this song, he underwent a significant transformation. He began to be more dynamically socially engaged with his peers at school. His physical posture changed, and he carried himself with an air of confidence and clarity. He seemed to become more fully embodied within himself, which generated a strength to his presence. These changes were noted by school staff, some of whom approached us directly to comment on them. One teacher proclaimed that “he seems like a different kid!”, reporting that he now participates much more readily and openly in class.

He went on to graduate that year, and soon after secured employment, which he has maintained since. He is also currently deeply engaged in a career in music, regularly creating and performing with a strong community of local artists. He has in many ways actualized the positive vision/goal he set forth for himself in his song. Through the focused and intentional creation of Hip-Hop music, he was able to take some control of and begin to shape his personal narrative. This empowering process fostered an increased sense of purpose, fulfillment, connection and aliveness, and served to significantly improve his mental and emotional well being.