This is Gráinne O’ Grady’s bright idea for Greater Leinster.

No Limits: a rap and hip hop project for children and young people with special needs.


Music Matters have been running “No Limits” a hip hop & rap project with adults with special needs, with incredible successes; we also ran “That’s a rap” a similar project in 2015.

We now want to expand this bright idea to engage with children & young people aged 8-16 years.

Children & young people from various disability services & local communities & schools will come together for this project, so it will be a social opportunity to meet new people, as well as an artistic opportunity to engage with a new art form.

Rap & hip hop are associated with a culture of youth & modern popular life. Many children & young people with special needs want to engage with something so “cool” & innovative.Rap can help communication & speech, creativity & self-esteem.

Participants will include young people from services such as St Michael’s House, Enable Ireland, St John of God services, WALK, Child Vision and from the local communities as well. We have a waiting list of those who want to participate in such a project ,but no funding to run this. Our workshop facilitators include Ballymun hip hop duo 5th Element & rapper Temper-Mental MissElayneous.

One of the surprising outcomes of “that’s a rap” project was how the breath control techniques taught in the rap workshops are now helping one rapper to manage his anxiety better & also control his anger. Rather than shouting, he is now learning to use breathing techniques and to channel his anger and frustration into rapping rather than shouting.

Our adult rappers have been learning “freestyling”, “spitting” and “on the fly” rap which is improvised rap. They have used their own ideas to compose raps & then memorise these scripts. This is excellent for the development of memory, language and creative skills. They have been experimenting with rap names, dressing creatively & exploring their identity as a rapper & artist.

They have been engaging in “battle rapping”, which can be a competition of two or more rappers rapping freestyle in front of an audience. The rappers have also been learning about posture, microphone techniques and self-confidence.

This has been an extremely innovative project, which will greatly benefit a younger age group as well. It will bring together children & young people from many communities, organisations & schools.