Hip Hop As Therapy. - Fienyx: Just Us
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posted 16 Jul 2019 by Krister Axel
Art is more vital now than ever to the process of turning hurt into healing.

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Fienyx is a musical pioneer, who uses sharp language to shine a light on the simple power of self-discovery. He shows us the way to use our own struggles as a force for healing the world through the interpretive lens of hip hop.

But don’t take my word for it; just listen. Alive in this single track is a story that is is both moving, exhilarating, and terrifying. From family conflicts, to a navigation through the cold and lonely forest of self-medication, to the final catharsis that forges lyrical steel from the detritus of life, in the one track is both question and answer. There is guilt, high art, and acceptance; Just Us is a masterpiece of personal catharsis, and should feel close to anyone who has spent time on the east coast. These are our neighborhoods, these are our kids, this is our collective pain. The message is always the same: innocent kids are getting caught in the crossfire, either literal or emotional, and they need help. Art is more vital now than ever to the process of turning hurt into healing.

This song is featured on our Conscious Hip Hop playlist.

From the Artist

Hip-Hop has always been therapeutic for me, and I have dedicated my life to furthering the work of my late mentor Dr. Tyson, the founder of Hip-Hop Therapy. The process of creating this song has been vital for my ongoing recovery, and through it I have found a way to begin processing this loss and keep pushing forward. Being a mental health practitioner, I know a large part of recovery from psychological trauma depends upon finding meaning in it, especially with some sort of social significance, and Hip-Hop has always helped me do that amidst tragedy. It is part of the reason I am still breathing, and to that point, I believe this song embodies Hip-Hop Therapy in action.

As heart-wrenching as this song is, I predominantly want to send a message of hope; that despite all the horrors of existence, it is possible to find purpose and persevere. The problem is apparent, as I think it’s safe to say almost everyone either has a friend or family member who is affected by mental illness (addiction, depression, etc.), if not themselves personally. My goal for the song is that it will serve as a contribution to the solution, particularly by confronting the silencing effect of stigma and shame. Ideally, this song as well as my work will contribute to a more permissible environment for these issues to be openly addressed.

J.C. Hall (aka Fienyx) is a Hip-Hop artist and Hip-Hop Therapy Studio Program Director at a transfer high school in the South Bronx. The origin of the program was recently chronicled in the short documentary Mott Haven, which garnered a handful of Best Short Documentary awards at renowned film festivals across the country.

Visit Fienyx online at hiphoptherapy.com.

About the Author


Krister Bjornson Axel

Ogdensburg, New York

Paris, France. Madison, Wisconsin. Los Angeles. Ashland, Oregon. Ottawa. I write music, I write about music, and I write code. See also: photography, prose, podcasting. I have 1 gorgeous wife, 2 amazing kids, and many interests.

Recent Awards: 2020 ND (Photo) Honorable Mention, 2020 Accenti Writing Contest Finalist