What’s the main similarity between a large majority of all hip hop songs? You guessed it – the acknowledgement of drugs. Molly, sizzurp, blow, purple, green, bud, piff, dank… you name it, chances are it’s been part of the lyrics in hip hop songs. Whether young children hear these songs and don’t know what the words mean, or people listen in awe to the songs specifically relating to the ritualistic and positive portrayal of drug use, a message is subliminally sent out regardless.
Hip Hop Songs Exploit Drugs
Regardless of their intent, music artists and producers must know that the younger generations can easily be targeted through hip hop songs that get constantly overplayed on the radio. Once people hear certain songs, they may get used to the catchy beat and not even be aware of what the rappers are actually saying in their lyrics. Lyricists may just be adding words because they honestly believe that the youth find them enticing and are already aware of the subject matter, like drug use, for example.
An example of drug use in a song would be the Afroman’s song, “Because I Got High.” The song describes how he went on to get high instead of focusing on any other areas of his life and how he plans on continuing to do so. Most people have a negative outlook on drug use initially due to adherence to the law, until drug abuse is broadcast to the public in a more positive, glamorized sense, as it is through most hip hop songs.
Eminem raps some verses in the older D12 song “Purple Pills” that make the use of drugs appear more enticing. In the lyrics, it literally states the opinion that “nothing compares” to the effects that the drugs bring when used. The rap goes on to mention drugs like mushrooms, opiates, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana, enhancing the idea that the use of the drugs is fun. As one rapper asks, “Wanna try?”
Music has become a whole new format for peer pressure. Younger generations especially look up to music artists and singers because they usually see what appears to be happiness in their idol’s lifestyle of fame, money, and luxury. If their idol is mentioning the use of drugs, the listener may be inclined to do the same for another reason – thinking that if they do what their idols do, they may end up just like them – happy, famous, and rich. 2Pac made a rap song, “High Til I Die,” where he explained how he was going to stay high on drugs until the day he died. The whole rap piece exploits the use of drugs while tying in the idea that the addition of money and encounters with women create a life of lavish joy.
Meanwhile, the music industry’s main goal as a business is to make a profit, so they want to create music that will leave the listeners wanting to hear the next song and the next one after that. In order to do this, the music industry has to add something to their music to get the listeners hooked, which could result in their own repeated subject matter or even similar topics as their music artist competitors put out. In other words, one song about drugs can turn into another one about them, which creates a snowball effect of music involving drugs.
Intentional or not, the use of drug-related words in hip hop songs plays a role in romanticizing and glorifying substance abuse. The amount of words mentioned in songs pertaining to drugs has increased throughout the years and the wrong message is being sent to the youngest of generations. It is our responsibility as a society to educate our youth about the dangers of drug use and addiction so that regardless of what artist is singing about it, they know what the real consequences are and that death from drugs inst so cool.
What does drug addiction really look like? Click here [Warning: Graphic Image] The Effects Of Drug Abuse