I said in one of my first few posts, that there is a huge drug culture within hip hop. It’s disgusting. And what makes it even worse is that artists don’t realise the toxicity of this culture until someone dies and sadly, it took the death of Fredo Santana to bring to light an issue that has been brewing in hip hop for years now.
Why did it take an artist dying to get other artists to understand that, ‘wow, these drugs are actually going to kill me one day, maybe I should stop?’. It’s the same rhetoric all the time.
I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite or anything, because most people who know me know that I listen to these same sort of rappers who glorify this lifestyle, so I’m speaking objectively about something that is actually damaging the culture.
I get that artists feel as if they need to take these sort of stimulants to be able to fully express themselves. I understand artists can actually be prescribed to these anti-pain pills, due to physical or emotional trauma. But what I can’t get around is how being a druggie has now become fashionable?
Let me use an example; I listen to Hoodrich Pablo Juan quite a lot, and my very first post on this blog was about how I think he is being slept on. But something came to my mind recently that I couldn’t shake off. His latest project, Designer Drugz 3, was his first studio album; I liked it quite a bit, but I expected it to be better. This was the third and final part of his Designer Drugz trilogy; let’s talk about the title. Designer drugs. For those who don’t know, designer drugs refer to drugs that have been created in a laboratory, and these drugs are created by changing the properties of a drug that comes from a plant. So examples of these are MDMA, ketamine etc. Talk about perpetuating a toxic lifestyle. It just extends the false rhetoric that being a druggie is ‘cool’, which is something that really boggles and baffles my mind.
The drug culture that is entrenched within the seams of hip-hop has accelerated at an alarming rate in the last 5-10 years, and unfortunately, it takes an untimely death to get people to wise up, and assess the dangers and hazards of promoting this exact culture.
Fredo Santana is the second rapper in the last 3 months to die as a result of excessive drug usage, and what makes his case even sadder is that he had already had been admitted to hospital previously because of complications caused by Xanax and lean usage. Despite realising the error of his ways after this close brush with death, sadly, his life was unfairly cut short.
With the emergence of rap stars such as Lil Pump, Lil Xan, and others (rappers who are, or have been, very open with their drug usage), there are not many signs to show that this dangerous taboo is going to stop. Although Lil Peep’s death causing some rappers to start ‘anti-drug movements and campaigns’, it once again stresses the question of, ‘why does it take the death of someone to get people to realise the error of their ways?’.
It’s not as if Lil Peep was the first rapper to die from drug usage; the deaths of Pimp C, DJ Screw and ODB were the first wake up calls for the industry on the dangers of ‘lean’, but their deaths did not stunt or stop the popularity of the drink, which is very alarming and saddening.
Yes, artists are normal people like us. Artists such as Lil Peep have actual prescriptions to some drugs, but this still isn’t an excuse to perpetuate and promote the use of these drugs recreationally. These are pyschoactive drugs, which can cause irreparable damage to the body and mind if not properly moderated. There’s no excuse for anyone to be furthering the usage of drugs, especially with the opioid crisis that a lot of the Western world finds itself in.
Drugs within mainstream hip hop
The emergence and integration of hip hop into mainstream media and culture has been great, and has helped remove the monopoly pop songs used on a commercial basis. We now see rap songs and albums topping charts on a regular basis, but a major proportion to these songs and albums will contain references to drug usage.
Post Malone and 21 Savage’s Rockstar broke the single week streaming record for Apple Music, and topped both the US and UK charts; the hook to the song contains the lyrics, ‘I’ve been f***in h*es, and poppin pillies, I feel just like a rockstar’.
This line demonstrates that beyond the entrance of hip hop into mainstream, drug rap has become the most popular form of hip hop now. Beyond how good the song is, and how well it did commercially, doesn’t this line perpetuate a negative issue that has caused so many problems within hip hop culture since its birth? Behind the blasting beats, behind the sick flows and bars, rappers are promoting a lifestyle that has unfairly cut the lives short of legends, and potential future legends.
Hopefully, the deaths of Lil Peep and Fredo Santana will discourage people from this hazardous lifestyle, and shine light properly on the dangers of taking and experimenting with narcotics.