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date: 22 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article adopts an interdisciplinary public health approach to an analysis of the impact of rap music and culture on the mental and behavioral health of children and youth around the world. Its purpose, however, is to go beyond a review of some of the potentially deleterious effects of rap in order to explore the vital role that the arts can play in promoting the protection and development of the human spirit in the twenty-first century. This exploration requires examination of the capacities that are embodied in the notion of the human spirit. In the most basic sense, these capacities consist of the capacity to know, to love, and to will. This article also summarizes the epidemiological and public health research that seeks to link indices of pediatric health to an emerging global musical culture that caters specifically to young people. Finally, it outlines a role for the arts in the protection, development, and refinement of the human spirit.

Keywords: public health approach, rap music, behavioral health, human spirit, twenty-first century

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