Drug Game? Or Rap Game?

Drug Game? Or Rap Game?

|by: J.P.|

Molly, Percocet, Codeine, Coke, Lean… Are these drugs, or is it rap?  Most would consider these to be harmful drugs that, if addicted, can end in death.  So why are they glorified and marketed by rappers in songs and across social media? Let’s go back in time to the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. Those were the times of the epidemic of heroin and cocaine. They spread through urban communities like wild fires, damaging and killing everything it touched.  Even with that, hip hop did not glorify drugs killing the community.  That wasn’t a marketing tool used.

Some artists mentioned drugs in songs but “kept it real” on the effects that were married to the drugs.  “Since a young buck | Violent as fuck | Wasn’t me dog | The high will do it.  I used the wild off embalming fluid | I sent niggas to the trauma unit” – Beanie Sigel.  These lyrics come from “You, Me, Him & Her” by Jay Z. In the lines, Beanie touches on past indiscretions dealing with phencyclidine or PCP.  The rapper seems to regret past dealings with the drug and also touches on its side effects.  As you can see, there is no glorifying the drug.  There is no promoting the drug to the youth or encouragement of its use.  Granted, not all lyrics consist of the same focus.  Some were pro drug but dope fiends weren’t put on pedestals.  Addicts were not being looked at as Gods and influential individuals.

Fast forward to today’s hip hop where, there seems to be a conflict of interest.  Are we selling drugs or making music? Take a song like “Percocet & Stripper Joint” by Future. One line says “ I just did a dose of Percocet with some strippers | I just po’d this lean in my cup like its liquor | I just need a whole lotta drugs in my system | I just tried acid for the first time, I feel good.”  I’m a fan of Future and I like his music, but when I think about the content of the lyrics I can see why the youth are hooked.  It’s all they consume.  If a person goes throughout their day seeing signs of pizza {see’s crust in the trash, a coworker cuts a pie into slices or the radio station offers free pizza for a year} by the time they make it home they will more than likely have a taste for pizza.  Subliminal messages are picked up by the subconscious mind and that same understanding applies to the music. I’m sure the average person wakes up and the first thing they do is check social media.  They more than likely play music as they get ready for the day ahead and likely play music in the car on their way to work.  Imagine if in all three events you hear nothing but drug usage lyrics.  You see lean on a rappers Instagram when you open your eyes, hear about ecstasy in the shower and molly in the car on the way to work. Multiple that times 5 (Monday-Friday).  Come Friday what’s going to be on your mind?  Yes, you guessed it, drugs. In addition to rappers endorsing through songs and social media, other outsiders add fuel to the fire.  Companies have gone so far to capitalize off the dangerous trends that they have created legal anti-energy drinks and market them in a way that tugs the young hip hop audience.  

As an avid lover of music I know the inspiration it can give you, and the power and feelings lyrics have on a person.  I mentioned Future but not all of his music condones drug use. Many more artists have music consumed by lyrics’ condoning hard drugs like it’s cool.  Reality is it’s not.  Every year we lose a rapper due to overdose on drugs.  People flood social media in remembrance of the artist and speak on how drugs are a serious issue.  Weeks later they are back taking a selfie with a cup full of codeine.  I’m confused. I’ll go a step further, the story of Texas rapper Big Lurch. Lurch is serving a life sentence for murdering his roommate and CONSUMING parts of her intestines. Lurch was on PCP. If that doesn’t make you want to leave hard drugs alone, seek help. Hip Hop has become the #1 genre globally for some time now. Rappers need to own up to the pedestal the fans and consumers have put them on and make good use of it.  Regardless if your fan base reaches global status, your social media will.  Someone who isn’t a fan can see an artist glorifying drug usage from the other side of the world. Seems like the rap and drug games are merged together.  Artist need to understand the distance their influence reaches.  This goes deeper than the music.

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