Meditation for the Hip Hop Generation

Written by Brentom Jackson, RYT, LPC-Intern

Whether you like it or not your son or daughter probably loves hip-hop.  Whether that takes the form of expressing themselves through graffiti art or dance crews, buying the latest article of clothing from an emerging “urban fashion” designer, or listening to rap music.  Hip Hop culture has almost effortl

essly merged with the mainstream. Its appeal ranges across a broad spectrum of ages, races and economic statuses.  Rap music ranked second in music style popularity in 2003 (according to Media Life Magazine), and like every other sub-culture that has moved into America’s living rooms, it can sometimes get a bad rap.  But here are a few surprises from the hip-hop community that could be useful to your meditation practice, or could be the key to a more hip yet mindful life for your child.

Business mogul Russell Simmons (also known as the “Godfather of Hip-Hop”) in his second book, Super Rich, shares strategies on how to get past perceived obstacles to happiness and fill life with friendship, compassion, laughter, love, a sense of fulfillment, and, yes, money. When you use your gifts and serve the world, the world will in return reward you. Through real-life examples, Russell provides the concepts and tools needed to transform your relationship with yourself and the world for the better.

Tired of the same six songs on the radio?  Give an album by MC YOGI a try.  MC YOGI grew up in Northern California, painting graffiti and listening to hip hop.  He spent most of his high

school years at a group home for at-risk youth.  Then at age 18 he discovered yoga. Deeply moved by this powerful experience, MC YOGI devoted himself to learning everything he could about the ancient discipline.  By combining his knowledge of yoga with his love for hip hop music, MC YOGI creates an exciting new sound that brings the wisdom of yoga to a whole new generation of modern mystics and urban yogis.

This small but powerful book might be just the thing to get that seemingly stubborn teen to give meditation a try.  Ezir'ra James, a Licensed Therapist, explores the connection between Yoga and Hip Hop Culture in this booklet. After three revisions, it organically turned into a meditation performed in his daily practice which helped him overcome mild episodes of psychosis disorders. This booklet is for those interested in healing themselves through meditation and movement. Ezir'ra is also a long time Hip Hop head that proclaims his generation to be “b boy buddhas.”

If you need soothing music to help you meditate or maintain a pleasant mood try Hip Hop Yoga: For Meditation, Relaxation, and Sleep In the Urban Jungle by Workout Music is a two volume collection of songs that are hip hop influenced yet calming enough to use in all areas of personal and spiritual growth.  The musicians that worked on this album are devout yoga practitioners and feel it is their mission to make these wonderful traditions available to the next generation.

The great thing about hip-hop becoming “main-stream” is that these wonderful tools are not hard to find.  By taking a trip to your local bookstore or logging on to you’ll be able to find not only these items but a lot more just like it. You might be surprised how many beautiful things the world of Hip Hop has to offer.

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