Thursday, 10 December 2009


Drawing from his own experience of alienation and homelessness, Darren ‘Loki’ McGarvey recently reported on Volition, a project that he is initiating together with a group of Scottish youth with whom he has been working for the past several years.

Volition engages 14 to 25 year old youth, many of whom are victims of a society that provides limited opportunities for young people. Meaningful jobs are scarce. Families are often in disarray. Drugs and alcohol are everywhere. Where do young people turn? Where do they release their anger and find new meaning for their lives?

While some young people at risk find diversion in football and other sports, significant numbers of youth are still adrift. Loki has found that engaging with hip hop can give new meaning to their lives. When it was first introduced, rap, a form of hip hop, was often violent and homophobic, but it has since changed and has become a universal language among young people.

In Volition youth find an environment where they can freely explore their ideas and express their opinions in a context where others understand. The medium, as well as other forms of hip hop, draw on the creativity of youth, which often has few other outlets. Writing, recording and performing rap enables the participants in Volition to express their anger, their outrage and then move on from there. Hearing and critique one another’s works they find release from their own pent-up anger and can reflect on their own lives and how they can find a place in this world. The participants in Volition are encouraged to aspire and gain a sense of achievement and identity. In community with others, they can develop their literary skills using figurative language and multi syllabic rhyme structure.

Furthermore, Volition is organized in a totally democratic way giving all participants a real sense of ownership. Members are currently engaged in the process of writing the organization’s constitution, coming to understand the importance of clear goals and aims, as well as an effective structure

Volition is in the process of equipping a work space where participants can listen to and assess each other’s work as well as compile CD’s and plan for performances.

The testimony of the participants speaks volumes.

Jamie writes: Before hip hop music was introduced to me, I was into the usual crap music, but I never really felt as though I had a connection with any genre. When I heard hip hop I instantly felt a strong bond with both the lyrics and the beats.

Alie writes: Hip hop to me personally is a way to chill out and listen to other people’s life stories.

Doug writes: I believe that Hip Hop has changed me personally for the better; in a way I have grown up with it; it has kept me from using my spare time from vandalising, etc. Instead I devote most of my spare time to writing for collaboration with others who have the same interests.

Janet writes: The feeling of belonging is something that hip hop has given me, where family and career have failed. Without Hip Hop in my life I would be a lost soul with no aims or direction.

David writes: It’s time to say that hip hop has always received bad press and that is unfair as true hip hop is all about peace, love and unity.

John writes: Hip hop has given me a way to express my feelings; it gives me a chance to give my opinions on different subjects and helps me understand other people’s situations and feelings. I realize now that Hip Hop is a musician’s equivalent of a painting a picture. It is just a different form of art and I am disappointed by the negativity which often surrounds it.

Andrew writes: Writing is a way of expressing feelings that I would not usually talk about with other people, helping me open up to what is really going on in my mind. It helps me understand other people’s; views as well. Putting my anger on paper helps me deal with it. I realize now that words are a more effective release then acting out.

Calum writes: Hip hop has had a massive affect on my life. I started listening when I was 15 and at 16 I started writing. I enjoy this because I am a creative person and use writing as a way to reflect on something. It is also a good way to release stress without being aggressive.

Angela writes: I was bullied as a youth and as a result have confidence issues and social contacts are a struggle for me. But Hip hop has given me an outlet and has upped my confidence. It has also given me an opportunity to meet people who have become good friends. It has helped me in more ways than I can even describe.