BUDDING rappers are ditching violent lyrics in favour of more positive rhymes after attending workshops in a project to combat gang violence.

Professional DJs and MCs from the British DJ and MC Academy worked with teenagers from Waltham Forest estates at the Soul Project charity, in Wood Street, Walthamstow.

Shanaau Briain, 27, also known as MC Angel, who worked with the youngsters, said the teenagers began writing negative lyrics reflecting their anger at their ‘situation’ but by the end of the course, the lyrics were more positive.

She said: “What we do is we try and work with them on a conceptual basis.

“We try and get them to think about positive things. For example, we read out Nelson Mandela’s speech after he was released from prison and asked them to write lyrics about it.

“Subconsciously, they became much more positive in their outlook.”

So instead of guns and violence, the young people have been rapping about more positive activities, such as getting good school grades.

One participating 15-year-old from a Walthamstow problem estate, said: “Before I decided to change the way I behaved I robbed two people and was heading for a life of crime.

“When a friend of mine got stabbed, that made me change my mind.

“He said to me ‘maybe this will happen to you next time’.

"It was like a light and so I decided to change the way I behaved.”

The Soul Project is a social enterprise which aims to support parents in raising children and advising young people.

Radio One DJ Crissy Criss presented awards to the 16 teenagers who took part in the scheme.

The academy, which now operates in five London boroughs, was set up in February.

Kerry O’Brien, also known as Lady MC, one of the academy’s co-founders, said: “Our overall aim is to support the young people through every stage of their lives to become more developed, confident and focused.”



Come to my slums we got guns/Try hype get something in your lung/Nah you don't want it with my team/We will lay you flat on these streets/Forget about school I'll ride for the cause/And I'll ride real deep so you better stay in doors/Before we rain on your team and leave you flat on the floor/


I'm trying hard in school and I wanna get good grades/I never used to care but I had a little change in the way that I think/I gotta new perspective keeping it positive my bad thoughts get neglected/ I'm trying to blow all over this music scene/I won't let the bad path get the best of me because hopefully next year the A and R's will be selecting me/ And I'll be the next best thing in the scene/