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In The Battle Against Depression, Hip-Hop Has Healing Powers

“I love myself.”

A simple statement can become harder to recite, what with increasing pressures of age and various responsibilities. Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 single ‘i,’ helped induce our daily dose of self-love as a culture, and earlier this month healthcare consortium, Kaiser Permanente used the Compton rapper's lyrics in their "Find Your Words" campaign fighting the stigma around depression.

The advertisement features a young boy walking throughout his town reflecting on life, while emulating Lamar’s lyrics.

Watching the Kaiser’s advertisement, with Kid Cudi's admission into a mental health facility in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help but reminisce about other examples of  hip-hop's healing effects, and influence.

The genre has definitely grown since its birth in the Bronx, more than four decades ago. So much so that author and Georgetown University professor, Michael Eric Dyson, created a course around the Sociology of hip-hop in 2011, using Jay Z as his muse of dissection. Speaking to USA Today at the time, Dyson noted Hov as “an icon of American excellence” with immense cultural appeal and “lyrical prowess”as it relates to his articulation of  black culture. 

Dr. Becky Inkster and Dr. Akeem Sule founders of, “Hip-Hop Psych,”  also used Lamar as a bases for research. Specifically, the team contrasted Lamar’s ‘u’ and ‘i’ tracks from To Pimp A Butterfly between external locus of control -- denoting life’s events to external causes, and internal locus of control vs. believing it’s in your own power to influence life’s outcomes. The more hopeless feeling that the ‘u’ track presents allows K. Dot to appeal to those going through dark times, while ‘i’ enables him to tell a story of perseverance.

Dr. Inkster and Dr. Sule suggest that fusing hip-hop and psychology, may help practitioners understand the plights of their patients, and may “also be a way for young people to understand and consider their own vulnerability, resilience, and life choices in a culturally relevant and easily accessible manner.”

Using Biggie’s “Juicy” as an example for "A Hip-Hop State of Mind," Dr. Sule and Dr. Inkster discuss positive visual imagery in hip-hop. Not only does the vivid and skillfully crafted lyricism play a role in assisting in a positive self-image, but reciting along with these lyrics does so as well (just imagine listening to your favorite “hype” song and what rapping along bar for bar does for your mood).

J. Cole has had a hand in motivating the masses too. In 2014, an unemployed man penned a Tumblr letter explaining how Cole’s “Love Yourz,” track saved his life.  The man was contemplating suicide after being homeless for two weeks and going days without food, on top of trying to find a job and shelter. Thankfully, he came across  Cole’s record and the lyrics gave him “a bit of strength to try and continue.”

Hearing your favorite artist spit about overcoming adversity can inspire you to defeat your own challenges. The boy reciting Lamar's lyrics in the Kaiser Permanente advertisement is yet another reminder not to neglect the healing, educational and inspirational powers of hip-hop culture.

When things get too stressful, there's no shame in plugging in your headphones and getting a dose of lyrical medicine.

 

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Jamie Squire

Prince's Half-Sister Fears Estate Will Go Bankrupt Over Mishandling Of Finances

Prince's half-sister, Sharon Nelson, has accused Comerica Bank & Trust, the administration that is handling Prince's estate, of mishandling the late artist's finances, Billboard reports. Her family's fight against Comerica has now resulted in thousands of court filings and millions of dollars in legal fees. She predicts that if the company is not stopped, Prince's estate will soon go bankrupt.

"Prince’s estate will be bankrupt by the end of the year," Nelson predicted. "Prince is not resting in peace while this is going on. He's very upset what these people have done to his estate. It's really sad."

After Prince's death in 2016, Nelson and her siblings – the singer's full sister Tyka Nelson, his half brothers Omarr Baker, Alfred Jackson, John R. Nelson and his half-sisters Sharon and Norrine Nelson – became sole heirs of the estate that is said to be valued between $100 million and $300 million. The family was forced to hire their own attorneys to defend their interests after 45 people claimed to be heirs of the "Purple Rain" singer's estate.

Due to nearly $3 million in legal fees, Nelson said her siblings are not able to afford a new attorney. Although she is able to get by because she is a "senior citizen and I have worked all my life," she said her other family members are barely scraping by.

The family was each awarded $100,000 following Prince's 2016 tribute concert, but Nelson said they have not received any more money from Comerica although the bank continued to receive $125,000 a month for administering the estate.

Additionally, Nelson told Billboard that Comerica continued to make poor financial moves such as paying $90,000 a month to store Prince's unreleased music in a vault in Los Angeles.

There are reportedly more than 2,700 court filings regarding this matter. The court documents include motion, affidavits, memos, and depositions that support Nelson and her family's complaint about Comerica's representation.

In Oct. 2017, Nelson and two of the others heirs filed to permanently remove Comerica from the estate after an allegedly heated meeting. They accused the bank of being verbally abusive and threatening Nelson.  In Dec. 2017, a judge denied their petition to remove Comerica, ruling that it would not be in the best interest of the estate.

Comerica has denied the allegations against them. Bank officials explained in the court filings that the heirs could not receive a dime until a tax bill from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was settled. Nelson said she found that reasoning odd since Prince died with $97 million in cash and $30 million to $40 million in real estate holdings.

Comerica released a statement to Billboard regarding Nelson's claims. "The estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is a court-supervised estate, which places strict reporting and judicial oversight requirements on Comerica as the Personal Representative," the statement read. "Comerica has complied with all legal and ethical requirements during its administration of the estate. Comerica’s fees and those of the estate’s attorneys are filed with and approved by the Court every four months with complete transparency to the heirs. The attorneys’ fees paid by the estate have been court-approved as reasonable and necessary for the benefit of the estate."

Prince's siblings are currently asking a judge to permanently limit the Comerica's powers as the estate’s personal representative. A hearing is scheduled for May 20.

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DJ Paul Sues Travis Scott For Copyright Infringement

DJ Paul has filed a multi-million dollar copyright infringement lawsuit against Travis Scott for allegedly stealing his music.

According to TMZ, the Three 6 Mafia member accuses Scott of snatching a portion of the hook from his 1997 track “Tear Da Club Up,” for “No Bystanders” off the 27-year-old rapper’s Astroworld album.

Paul claims that the hooks to both songs are “virtually identical and strikingly similar,” reports The Blast. The lawsuit also notes that the songs sound so much alike that Scott changed his lyrics from to “f**k da club up,” “tear the club up” during his Grammys performance in February, without Paul's permission.

The Memphis native is asking for at least $20 million in damages. However, TMZ reported that Scott reached out to Paul sometime Tuesday (April 23) to potentially work out the legal matter.

The “Sicko Mode” rapper has faced multiple lawsuits over the last two years, including being sued for canceling a music festival performance. Last week, Scott lost a nearly $400,000 lawsuit after being sued for pulling out of a party during Super Bowl weekend. In 2017, La Flame was hit with a lawsuit brought on by a fan who was paralyzed after sustaining injuries during one of his concerts.

 

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ANGELA WEISS

Kim Kardashian Working On Getting Max B Out Of Prison Early

Kim Kardashian is making huge strides in the criminal justice department. Now that Kim is studying to become a lawyer, the reality star has her sights set on getting a number of prisoners out of prison. According to French Montana, Kim is looking into Max B's case now.

French stopped by Apple Music's Beats 1 Radio on April 16, where he revealed Kim's plans. After telling her about Max's situation, she apparently showed interest in trying to get him out early. "Me and Kim was talking about getting Max B home from jail," he explained. "Cause she's doing the whole thing with...So, like for her to even reach out and do that I felt like that was powerful."

Max B has been behind bars since June 2009 after being sentenced to 75 years in prison on conspiracy charges pertaining to armed robbery, kidnapping, aggravated assault, and felony murder. In Sept. 2016, he reportedly accepted a plea deal for aggravated manslaughter and is set to be released on November 9, 2025.

Kardashian is currently taking a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm with the goal of taking the bar in 2022. She previously helped Alice Marie Johnson – a nonviolent offender sentenced to life in prison – commute her sentence. It is unclear how she intends to help Max B at this time.

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