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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A UNCW grad student’s name may not be familiar to you, but his alias Kon Sci has been making waves in the local music scene for the years.

In just a few days he will be graduating with his masters in social work after combining his love for music and working with troubled kids.

He might not look like your average hip hop hipster, but Joseph Latterner is passionate about hip hop music. Over the past three semesters he has been reaching out to at-risk teenagers through hip hop therapy.

“For me it’s genuine, and I think that sort of radiates with the kids, because I am not afraid to freestyle with them,” Latterner said.

Latterner grew up outside of Washington, DC, in a urban neighborhood. That’s where he says he learned about the art of music.

“When I had an opportunity to work with kids in a group therapeutic setting, I somehow wanted to introduce something creative, something music-based, and I thought there has got to be some way to introduce hip hop into the therapeutic setting,” he said.

He says he has enjoyed breaking down racial barriers and connecting with students in a way they understand and relate to.

“They get a chance to introduce music,” Latterner said. “They are at a residential setting with a lot of structure and a lot of rules and expectations. So when we enter into the picture, we are setting up this platform for them to be able to introduce things they are interested in like hip hop music.”

Latterner has traveled across the country speaking about hip hop therapy and its benefits.

After graduation he will continue this unique therapy as he pursues his license in clinical social work.

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7 Comments on "UNCW grad student uses hip hop as therapy tool"

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2015 years 8 months ago

For some truly therapeutic music…I prefer the genre of Ambient. All too many times in the music entertainment industry, we are shoved Hip Hop/Rap/Country Rap/Bounce music our way. I always just turn the channel, or “Off”, when the main stream screaming words (instead of a true voice of singing) come my way through TV or internet advertising.
It’s amazing how the music media is so little minded in the varieties of music and talent out there…and they just “stay stuck” on artist that claim their so called music, is lessons learned “from the streets”. There is music out there that paints majestic views in ones mind of beauty and serenity, and this scenario was brought out right after the 911 attacks, as the media was degrading so much of the hateful type music in Mainstream America…and that should be changed. Well it went right back to what it was…forgotten about. I’m not blaming mainstream Rap/etc. for 911…just for a fleeting moment though in time…a more soothing style of music was promoted…then crapped upon. Try and get your local radio to play Ambient…you may get Classical in small doses…but will have no problem finding Hip Hop/R & B/Rap.
There’s a whole big world out there…so open it up a little Mr. Media…to the many genres available.
They say their piece of mind so many times…now I’ve said mine :-)
I’m sure I’ll get chastised for my beliefs on this one…but so it.

2015 years 8 months ago

In an attempt to sound opened minded your comment comes across rather close minded. I know this guy and his music, and what he does creatively is thoughtful, reflective, and socially aware HipHop. With therapy, his focus goes beyond just trying to relax someone with music. It has to do with the messages embedded in the music/lyrics itself, and since HipHop/Rap is a purveying force amongst the youth, especially underserved and displaced youth, then introducing this kind of music and culture into the therapeutic setting is a very powerful place to start in order to develop rapport. Ambient music is great and music therapy spans all genres, but I would recommend you do a bit more digging before you start to put down what this young man is doing and how he is bringing HipHop music and culture into the therapeutic setting. And if there is a local ambient artist or a therapist that uses ambient music in his or her therapy sessions then I fully agree that the local news should promote that as well.

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

Ehhh…I believe my point was, that mainstream America is geared towards Hip Hop/Rap in massive doses…and the exposure of Ambient music “locally” is just about unheard of…except for this conversation or at a movie theatre.
Sorry bud…but IMO…there’s nothing Rap or Hip Hop delivers to the public but a lot of noise…cloned noise molded from computerized tempo’s and beats, and to top it off…an extreme lack of a singing voice to be appreciated from said “artist”.
I can go on all day about this…but as I said…promoters of Hip Hop/Rap speak their piece…I’ve said mine, and there’s nothing on our Green Earth that’ll change it.
I’m extremely opened minded about music…real music that presents a message to listeners and not just Clang Clang Clang…Bump Bump Bump……….Bump! And that is what’s promoted so much in today’s promotion of musical artist…or musical artist so to speak.
Turn the channel :-)

2015 years 8 months ago

You cannot call yourself “extremely open minded about music” and then turn around and call HipHop “noise molded from computerized tempos and beats”. By the very laws of context and human nature those two statements cannot exist in the same post my friend. The later may be true of commercial Rap, ie what is played on the radio and pumped through MTV and BET, but without doing a bit more research your assertions are nothing but closed minded rants.
KRS-One is a highly regarded and published poet and scholar, also an MC/Rapper. You watch Jimmy Fallon? What kind of a band do you think is playing in the background? The Roots—HipHop.
De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Brand Nubian, Nas, Tupac, Immortal Technique. All speak to social awareness and change. Whether you call it poetry over beats, Rap, or HipHop, it is music.

I on the other hand, am TRULY open minded about music and although much of ambient music is created electronically in the same fashion as HipHop I find it to be as creatively valid an artform as any other genre.

I implore you to promote ambient music as much as possible, but also to not bring down HipHop. This is not an attack but an invitation to broaden your horizons or atleast not try to rain on this talented young man’s endeavors. Consider yourself schooled

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago

Good luck with your beliefs. The Rappers and Hip Hoppers will forever live due to people like you. You cannot be a true musician!

Guest Reply
2015 years 8 months ago


First thing I noticed was “Parental Advisory” stamped on the bottom right hand corner of the CD cover. Very theraputic huh? Very common.
I noticed WWAY didn’t post (nor mention in their video coverage) a website to go to, to listen to this guys messages. Wonder why? Let me guess…in layman’s terms it’s known as “foul language” in any book. Henceforth…”Parental Advisory”.
Well…you suggested doing some homework on my own…and I did…and the story remains the same…Parental Advisory was a warning that I take heed to, because it means derogatory language used as lyrics. This is usually the “norm” in Hip Hop/Rap as a warning…not a promotional tactic to get one to listen to it. Ever been around someone that cusses a lot, and you just want them to leave, because most intellectual people don’t see a need for such language being necessary to get a point across? Same thing with this type of entertainment…Nationwide!
Therapeutic??? You’ve been schooled Anon77. You must be this guys manager…or someone’s manager looking to make a buck on Easy Street.
Just remember, don’t forget the ” Parental Advisory” label ;-)

King Solomon
2015 years 8 months ago

His music is of exceptional talent and the idea of Hip-Hop musical therapy being introduced in a clinical setting is an amazing way to reach the kids. If you haven’t heard his album “And Beyond” you’re missing out. Tune in.


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