Durrell Howell got tired of the frustrations and strife that young black males experienced in his Baltimore community, without anyone actually seemingly interested in their plight of trying to become better men, when the odds at times may seem stacked against them.
It’s no secret that Baltimore can be a very violent place at times. A place where so many young Black males make bad choices and decisions that lead to either their deaths or imprisonment. There are many factors that play a part in all of this death and destruction but one thing that is constant among the youth and young Black males, in particular, is that the proper resources for them to tackle the mental health issues that underline the root cause of all of this isn’t widely available.
Or it doesn’t seem that way to them.
This is why Durrell launched Rap Goals approximately two and a half years ago, as a way to release some of this frustration with society. Rap Goals is a workbook-slash-journal-slash-diary that instructs its readers to tackle many of their problems head-on by writing out their thoughts and then thinking about certain life scenarios pertaining to them.
The initial manifestation and carnation of Rap Goals were actually born through the Group.me app. Group.me is an app where you can create massive group chats with people whether they are your friends or not, that are centered around certain topics.
In his case, Durrell wanted his Group.me chat to be a counseling session for the brothers in the hood. For them to get together and talk amongst themselves and express their frustration.
“In this group, I challenged everyone in the group to get certain things off their chest by writing down their thoughts once a day in the group. So it became a journal basically.”
He goes on to add that “we held each other accountable and if someone didn’t post, we’d reach out and see what was wrong.”
He then took it to his Instagram account to posted something for 365 days straight.
He goes on to state that things took a different turn of events when someone got killed by some cops and that incident really sparked taking things from Group.me to him then creating this book.
“The sad thing is that I don’t even remember who got killed or the reasons behind it. We’ve become so desensitized as a society where I just knew that it hurt and we needed some sort of healing.”
He came up with Rap Goals as a way to be relatable to the youth.
“Everyone loves rap! I’ve been listening to rap my whole life and learned more from it than I did in school. And I know many of these kids out here are the same way.”
“Rap” or R. A. P. stands for “responsibility, accountability, and “progression,” which Durrell says are the 3 keys to life and how should strive to live.
Rap Goals is a journal and workbook that actually offers assignments by using rappers actual lyrics in songs then flipping those lyrics into an assignment.
For example, the recently departed Nipsey Hussle’s lyrics are found in several pages throughout this book.
How long should I stay dedicated?Nipsey Hussle
How long ’til opportunity meet preparation?
This is a quote from Nipsey Hissle’s song “Dedication” to which Durrell flips on his readers to help illustrate how important it is to prepare and work hard for what you want in life. And for them to stay consistent with that preparation so that they don’t get discouraged. He uses Nipsey’s lyrics and his life to relate this message.
There is then an assignment below on this page for them to plot out a course of action on one of their goals.
Notice in the page excerpt pic above how this is day 348, which shows you that Durrell wants his readers to work hard and think about their next course of action every day of the year.
For more details about Durrell and Rap Goals, and where you can buy the book, please visit his website here.