Rap & Therapy saved Sylvan Lacue from Childhood Traumas

Just another crutch for my brokeness
A term that I got for my therapist
As a black man, I feel I should be sharin’ this
In the hood they say we crazy and we derelicts
But we needed for our kids and our marriages
The old folks say we don’t do that
But taking care of self is the new black
Unconventional ways, unconditional ways
Mediation, mindfulness, it’s just given to praise

Common – Good Morning Love

Rap : A Space to Vocalize Emotional Issues

Sylvan Lacue has learnt to confront and voice his emotional issues and childhood traumas through his music. Rapping since 11 years old, Hip Hop rapidly became his very private space, for self-affirmation and self-healing. Anger, overwhelm, fatigue, anxiety, social withdrawal, apathy, hopelessness, overthinking, family issues… it is quite fascinating to observe that people go to therapy and write music for the exact same reasons.

Going to therapy, or writing down your feelings, in order to find harmony, is an action you take precisely when you’ve had enough running away from your emotions and you feel it’s finally time for you to take back the control in your mind: mental health.

Rap & Therapy saved Sylvan Lacue from Childhood Traumas 1

Sylvan lacue aka young Sylvan

Just a few months after Young Sylvan EP.1, Sylvan Lacue comes back with the second act of his EP series. Throurh his art, the Miami MC embodies the refreshing outlook of a generation on the subject of therapy, notably, within communities that have historically seen it as taboo.

With the release of the second episode of the Young Sylvan’s trilogy, Sylvan Lacue builds with all the experience he acquired prior. Much like in the first installment of his EP series, the MC rhymes with a amped up interpretation on up-tempo beats.

Therapy is a subject that the MC has tackled for many years now and in many forms too. One of his greatest piece on the subject lies in his break out album Apologies In Advance (2018) and notably in the visual of the song « Empathy ».

« Life don’t come with tips, someday I’ll be rich/ At times I feel tense, light two spliffs two ignite my bliss » (Peter Pan)

Sylvan Lacue processes by delivering streams-of-consciousness, and pictures his memories of the past, his relationship with his mother and his rise as a boy to a man. It feels as tough, those topics would be the recurring themes of a personal diary. LaCue addresses childhood traumas by acting as a younger and immature version of himself, trying to understand the self-consciousness. That’s why his EP presents « Power Rangers », « Peter Pan » and « PS2 » – titles that all refer to his childhood as well the whole 90″s generation. The idea is not to carelessly bare it all but to creatively open up the doors of his world.

Rap & Therapy saved Sylvan Lacue from Childhood Traumas 2

Sylvan Lacue uses no filter with the dark and spaced out « Trauma ». In the two minutes song, the MC abruptly rhymes : « trauma make a ni**a want drama ». As playful as his flow is, you can’t help but be alerted by his words.

Even at his most boastful, Sylvan Lacue distills a couple of cues, proving that he’s still coping with ills that he’ll constantly attempt to transform through words and sounds.

hip hop & THERAPY – New initiatives

Sylvan Lacue’s career and approach to music is clear proof to the shift known by the hip-hop community on therapy. If hip-hop music presented therapeutic tools before, artists didn’t always clear the air on therapy outside of the recording studios. In recent years, prominent figures like Kanye West, Jay-Z or the late great Combat Jack have talked in favor of therapy. This momentum is seemingly spreading in various regions.

In France, producer Shkyd wrote pieces about mental health in French rap, he argued that there was a crucial need for a space for healthy conversations on mental health.

In UK, Rap Therapy is « a series of innovative workshops that uses rap as a therapeutic tool to train young people to be creative and to positively express themselves ». Composed of a team of seasoned writers, Rap therapy works with the school systems, showing a new way for the youth to express different types of affects.

Hip-Hop : A forever changing culture

Born as a response of the inner-cities of New York City in the late 70’s, hip-hop’s impact over the world is undeniable. The very first shift known to hip-hop happened with Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five « The Message ». With « The Message » hip-hop proved to be a culture able to tackle the realities of impoverished neighborhoods. Therefore, hip-hop became, as Chuck D explained it,

« The Black CNN », a culture that would notably expose the realities of the African-American community all across America.

Later on, hip-hop saw artists sharing more personable stories, building a specific link with their listeners. 2PAC was the first prominent figure to fully share who he was behind the music, he was then followed by other greats such as Nas, Jay-Z, DMX, Kanye West, J.Cole or Kendrick Lamar.

The multiple dimensions of hip-hop pushed several writers and analyst to assess and study its effects. In a 2002 study, Edgar H. Tyson argued in favor of the therapeutic potential of hip-hop, notably with at-risk and delinquent youth. In that study, Tyson also showcased how artists such as Goodie Mob, Outkast or 2Pac had a thoughtful purpose in their songs, discussing resilience, spirituality or « the maturing process of young black men ».

These last years, a new shift has happened as artists are now voicing a favorable opinion on therapy, incorporating it into their art. Sylvan Lacue is one of the brilliant voices that embody that change.

Alfred Dilou

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