Workshop offers help with hip hop

Write2Rhyme will be held over four Saturdays from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7 at Harbourfront Library

Local rapper Matt Dunae, also known as SirReal, will lead a series of free rap workshops at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library. (BLACK PRESS file)

A Nanaimo rapper is hoping to reach out to struggling and underprivileged youth through a new rap workshop program at the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library.

Matt Dunae, who goes by the stage name SirReal, is leading the free workshop, called Write2Rhyme, on four Saturdays from Sept. 16 to Oct. 7. The sessions are open to participants of all ages and skill levels and will cover a brief history of hip hop, as well as skills like beat and instrument selection, song structure, choruses and hooks, counting bars and coming up with ideas. The participants will also have the opportunity to record a song at the library.

Dunae said it’s important to provide mentorship for prospective rappers.

“When I was coming into the music industry no one really told me how to go about it. I had to learn all this stuff myself through trial and error,” he said. “I want to pay it forward and give these kids the information now and sooner so that they can get into the industry faster and not have to make the same pitfalls and mistakes that I did.”

Dunae said when he was growing up, hip hop was his therapy. He started by writing journals, which turned into poems and eventually songs. He said he hopes to introduce others to the value of processing thoughts and experiences by writing them down.

“Counselling didn’t always work for me so I used music as my outlet and it seemed to not only help me get the things off my chest that I’ve gone through, but also it affects other people and they can listen,” Dunae said.

“When you listen to your voice on a song that you’ve created it’s such a confidence booster, it’s such a great feeling of accomplishment. So if people that have never felt that or only felt that once or twice in their life or have been rejected by society can feel a sense of accomplishment and feel a sense of worth, then it starts to create better support for themselves.”

Duane said he sees firsthand the therapeutic effects of rap, whether it’s through leading workshops with the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society or incorporating rap into the suicide prevention talks he gives in schools for the Vancouver Island Crisis Society. He said that while some people who struggle may turn to “other coping methods which are not often healthy,” rap provides a healthy alternative.

Those interested in registering can do so by contacting creativitycommons@virl.bc.ca. Space is limited.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com