High schools in the Bronx are using an unconventional method to help student deal with anger, sadness and the hardships of their life. As the New York Times reported in a story published Tuesday (Jan. 19) New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science II as well as Mott Haven Community High School have enabled students to write and record original rap songs in order to better cope with grief, anger and societal ills.

For many of the instructors and counselors at these schools, hip-hop therapy provides a desirable avenue for students to engage in their studies. As the article illustrates, "it encourages them to give voice to their day-to-day struggles in neighborhoods where poverty and crime are constants, and provides a foundation for school leaders to engage directly with them in a way that seems more enjoyable than intrusive."

Jason Alcequiez, a 17-year-old sophomore at the charter school, has written and rapped about fights with his parents as well as a girlfriend who broke up with him. “I’m not one of those people who would get sentimental about my feelings and talk about my feelings,” Jason told the Times. “I’d rather write it out in music.”

For Mott Haven Community High School an after-school hip-hop therapy program that began in 2013 now draws as many as 20 students.

At New Visions, students have rapped about grades and relationships. "After a girl in the senior class committed suicide in October, some of her classmates coped by making a hip-hop video tribute that was shown at a school talent show," the article explains.

The students at New Visions have recorded a 19-track mixtape titled Hoodies Up about the police brutality towards minorities which can be streamed below.

https://soundcloud.com/c-y-p-h-e-r/sets/hoodies-up-mixtape

 See New Music Releases for January 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkgpxYceAnI