top of page
  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Relax Your Mind, Let Your Conscious be Free


In 1989, I attended LL Cool J’s Nitro World Tour, which featured Eazy-E, N.W.A, Slick Rick, De La Soul, and though he was scheduled to perform, Too $hort was unable to attend the Denver concert. It was the most influential concert of my lifetime, thus far.


Since then, I’ve been a fan of De La Soul, which is a trio comprised of Kelvin “Posdnuos” Mercer, David “Trugoy the Dove” Jolicoeur, and Vincent “Maseo” Mason. One would be hard-pressed to find a more impressive hip hop trio that has moved the culture and not solely the sound of rap.


On their album Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump (2000), the group dropped a track entitled “Oooh,” which featured rapper Redman. The video paid homage to The Wiz (1978), which I watched several times in my youth.


Though not featured on the official video version, the album contains a line that gave way to the drafting of this post. It states, “You need to not get nappy with me. Or else we gon’ relax your mind, let your conscious be free.”


As is the case with artistic expression, interpretations of artist meaning is subjective in nature. Viewing this line through the lens of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), I recognize demandingness inherent in the statement, “You need to not get nappy with me.”


Saying that people “need to not” do something is akin to saying they shouldn’t, mustn’t, or oughtn’t to behave in a particular manner. Although “nappy” has various meaning, in regards to hair it means “coiled,” and is also used when “referring to something or someone that is dirty, nasty, gross.”


In the ‘90s and early ‘00s, a popular hip hop saying was “don’t get it twisted,” similar to the coiling of hair. It conveys the same demanding message as, “You need to not get nappy with me,” which essentially translates to an advisement for one not to get the wrong idea, act in a twisted fashion, or behave in a nasty manner.


What I find particularly interesting about the De la Soul line is the statement, “Or else we gon’ relax your mind, let your conscious be free.” This may be interpreted in a number of ways.


The two most obvious explanations relate to either that relating to mental, emotional, and behavioral health, or homicide—the killing of one person by another. I’ll expand upon my reasoning.


The first interpretation is what I think is the most likely translation of this line. When a person expresses intention to relax one’s mind, this often means the act of decreasing levels of stress.


This can be done with grounding activities, mindfulness techniques, meditation, substance use or abuse, medication, and other means. Some methods are more helpful or healthy than others.


The second interpretation relates to a common element of rap music: homicide. It’s spoken of so frequently and casually, as though one addresses an outfit of the day, to the point by which I suspect De la Soul could be using a double entendre.


For instance, if one were to relax your mind and let your conscious be free with a firearm, the insinuation is that a person would shoot you in the head. An example of this was when rapper Beanie Sigel stated on “Crew Love” “I’ll blow out ya brains and won’t give you no reminder.”


Because I often work with management of rage, hostility, aggression, and violence, I’ll take the less charitable interpretation of the line in “Oooh,” for the sake of illustration herein. Suppose client X informs me that when others disrespect her, she wants to relax their minds and let their conscious be free.


Aside for assessing for safety (i.e., opportunity, plan, intent, capability, etc.), I would assist client X with understanding the ABC model of REBT. This method demonstrates how our unhelpful beliefs lead to emotional, bodily sensation, and behavioral consequences.


When a person perceivably disrespects client X by behaving in a nappy manner (Action) and client X unproductively tells herself, “This bitch got the wrong one, because she need to not get nappy with me” (Belief), it’s client X’s rigid attitude that results in an unpleasant outcome like brandishing a firearm for conscious-clearing (Consequence).


As rapper Slick Rick said in “Children’s Story,” “This ain’t funny, so don’t ya dare laugh. Just another case ‘bout the wrong path.” I’ve worked closely with clients who’ve ended the lives of other people for little more than perceived disrespect.


Therefore, I would work with client X to Dispute the irrational belief which doesn’t serve her interests and goals. Challenge to her self-disturbing narrative is conducted with the aim of achieving an Effective new belief.


For example, rather than inflexibly demanding respect from others, client X could adaptively conclude, “Although I’d like for people not to get it twisted, I have no control and little influence over the behavior of others. However, I do have control over how I respond to them.”


With this productive attitude, client X could then disengage from an event that has the potential outcome of penetrating head trauma from a projectile having been launched at high velocity. In this way, client X can relax her own mind and let her conscious be free of the matter—in alignment with the charitable interpretation of “Oooh.”


If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.


As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.


At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!



Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW




Anatomorphex. (n.d.). De la Soul – Lion, Tin Man, & Scarecrow costumes [Image]. Retrieved from

Bork152. (2022, June 5). Don’t get it twisted. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, May 17). Circle of concern. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 24). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2024, January 4). Rigid vs. rigorous. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Jay-Z. (2018, October 19). Crew love [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

OfficialSlickRick. (2009, October 8). Slick Rick – Children’s Story (Official music video) [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Sister Neely. (2004, February 24). Nappy. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

Sotheby’s. (n.d.). LL Cool J: “Rush artist management presents LL Cool J Nitro World Tour” concert poster, 1989. Retrieved from

Starbucks corner. (2005, December 7). Nappy. Urban Dictionary. Retrieved from

WeAreDeLaSoul. (2023, March 2). De La Soul - Oooh (Official audio) ft. Redman [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

WeAreDeLaSoul. (2023, June 22). De La Soul - Oooh (Official music video) [HD] ft. Redman [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Beanie Sigel. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). David Jolicoeur. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). De La Soul. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Eazy-E. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Kelvin Mercer. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). LL Cool J. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). N.W.A. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Redman (rapper). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Slick Rick. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). The Wiz (film). Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Too Short. Retrieved from

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Vincent Mason. Retrieved from

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page