Brooklyn-based rapper, PE Instructional Coach and HHPH MC, Louie C Rhymes is aiming to revitalize the field of physical education (PE) and health with his unique style. Influenced by artists like J Cole, Eminem, Biggie and Royce Da 5’9, he spits a message of reflection and challenges commonly held assumptions about personal accomplishment and self-worth.
Louie began freestyling while he was getting his degree in Physical Education at SUNY Brockport and went on to become a teacher who empowered his students to express themselves through different forms of art. He also started “Rebound with Sound” to provide youth in New York City with a platform for self-expression and growth. Today, he works at the NYC Department of Education’s Office of School Wellness Programs, supporting over 40 school communities in Brooklyn with their health and physical education programs.
Hip Hop Public Health recently sat down with Louie to find out more about his work. Read his insights in our interview with him below.
Tell us more about Rebound with Sound. How did you start it and what did it achieve?
Rebound with Sound was a club that I started in the first school I worked in and it ended up evolving into a way of life. It was a place that was meant for kids to express themselves through music, dance, writing and performing. Students also learn how to produce music using GarageBand and other computer programs.
When I first started teaching, I was afraid to let my colleagues and students know that I was a rapper because of the negative connotations too often associated with hip-hop music. When Ms. Schafenberg and Ms. Stone, my administrators at P.S. 76 in Queens found out that I rapped, they went crazy for it and said that they thought this would be great for our students as well. Feeling encouraged, I started Rebound with Sound and took it with me to my next two schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn. I performed for our students and I also created content specific rhymes for different subjects.
It’s truly amazing what your students will show you they are capable of if you just present them with the opportunity to excel. I don’t work with the students directly anymore but sharing my love for music and encouraging others to express themselves is still something I do every day.
How do you use music to revitalize PE and Health?
I noticed that people were more likely to listen to music they were already familiar with so I’m constantly thinking of new ways to infuse popular songs with PE and health-related content. I’ve created a few remixes to help educate not only students but teachers and parents as well. For example, I remixed the NYC PE Commandments over a Notorious BIG instrumental and I have circulatory system rap that was inspired by one of Drake’s songs. I also try to show students and teachers that it’s okay to struggle sometimes and most of my lyrics address self-worth, empowerment and healthy decision making. I made my debut on all streaming platforms in 2019 and I’m proud to say that I now have 3 songs streaming.
What’s in store for Louie C Rhymes next?
More than anything I want to build a family with my wife but as a rapper, I just want to enjoy the process of making music and the therapeutic gains that go along with it. I plan to drop a new single every month for the remainder of 2020 and I see myself continuing to advocate for self-worth, self-reflection and mental health through my rhymes. In the next few years, I also want to get into music engineering to help other up-and-coming artists.
If there is one thing you could remind your students of what would it be?
It’s almost impossible to experience success until you come to terms with failure. Failure is inevitable but if you focus on the things you can control and learn from your mistakes you can truly be successful.