It’s Time For Hip Hop To Stop The Glorification Of Drug Use
In light of the recent passing of rapper Juice WRLD dying from a drug overdose at the young age of 21 it is time for hip hop music to speak out against substance abuse. Juice WRLD is not the first rapper or musician to succumbed to the drug culture, there have been many others such as Pimp C, Mac Miller, DJ Screw, ‘Ol Dirty Bastard, and many others. Drug culture is not just a hip hop genre problem, but it reaches other genres just as much. For this article I am just focusing on hip hop music. Hip-hop music may be influencing black Americans to try prescription drugs. Since its inception, hip-hop music has been littered with reference to the drug culture. From Dr. Dre’s ode to marijuana on The Chronic, to Biggie and Jay Z cocaine selling raps.
Rappers have always bragged about getting high from marijuana which I do not consider a drug. I am advocate for marijuana use, but now we have hit a new low in hip hop music endorsing dangerous drug use behavior. This new generation of rappers have gone beyond the pal of marijuana but are referencing prescription opioids such as Xanax, Percocet, OxyContin, and Lean. These type of drugs are so dangerous they are considered the new war on drugs and the deadliest drug overdose crisis in American history.
The Drugs of Influence
Lean aka purple drank is a homemade concoction of codeine (usually found in cough syrup), mixed with Sprite, and Jolly Ranchers. Lean burst onto the hip hop scene in the early ’90s thanks to Houston rappers such as Pimp C of UGK (who later died from complications caused by drinking it) and DJ Screw. Other high profile rappers such as Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia popularized it with drug referencing titled songs.
Percocet is a dangerous prescription drug that induces euphoria, and numbness. The rapper Future elevate Percocet as the new drug of choice to get high with his hit “Mask Off,” it’s driven by a chorus that promotes drug use. “Percocets. Molly, Percocets. Percocets. Molly, Percocets”.
Other notable drugs being promoted by rappers is OxyContin, and Molly.
Why glorify drugs in hip-hop?
I am not necessarily blaming the artist for speaking their truths about their own drugs use, because the listeners have a individual responsibility of choice. We all know that the microphone is a powerful platform and words can be very persuasive, especially to young people. What I do have a issue with is when artist glorify drug use for street credibility and encouraging others to indulge. 33 percent of the rap songs that reached the top ten of Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart in 2017 mentioned drugs. My question is are rapper feeling peer pressure to encourage drug use to sell records or to fit in? We have to remember that music is entertainment and you cannot hold on to every word an artist says. If an artist tells you how good a drug makes you feel, they should be able to tell you the consequence and side effects of those drugs also.
Music changes from generation to generation and that is the beauty of it. I remember when hip hop was about have fun, to educating black youth about society issue. I never have a problem with a artist expressing their trails and tribulations but drug use I do. We have lost to many rappers and non celebrities to drugs as, so lets not encourage this new generation of listeners. There are more important topics to talk about with issues black Americans face to day.