Pharrell, psychiatry and Parliament Hill

NEUROSCIENTIST¬†Becky Inkster, of Cambridge University’s department of psychiatry, says her ‘hip hop credibility’ has been challenged in an article in yesterday’s¬†The Observer. We were told that hip-hop could be used, specifically Pharrell Williams’ omnipresent song, Happy, to help people suffering from mental ill-health. Dr Inkster is setting up a social enterprise with the aim of helping mental health patients use rap music as therapy.

On the Hip Hop Psych website today, however, she explains: “While we appreciate the song Happy by Pharrell Williams, we do not use that song as an example as we feel it represents pop culture and we are keen to dissect hip-hop lyrics as we are incredibly passionate about hip-hop. We love all kinds of hip-hop artists, not just commercially successful ones.” In essence, Pharrell is just too poppy to help.

A key to just how far that song was drenched in ‘pop culture’ was the number of parodies and tributes across YouTube and Vimeo. Here, for example, are the fresh-faced teachers at Parliament Hill and how they signed off last summer’s exam season. If you’re my age, with hip hop days of most kind behind them, the video, on the school website, will make you worry that you are older than every teacher in Camden.

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