• PoThePanda

The Highs and Lows of Substance Abuse In The Music Industry

If you ask most people when was the first time they got high, 36% of them might say it was a concert, rave, or festival. Which drug they took varies by crowd and by genre, with big name gatherings like EDC and Tommorowland being known for its ecstacy taking fans while rap festival Rolling Loud has acts like Lil Pump throwing pounds of marijuana into a wanting crowd of young adults. Some adore it, some are disgusted by it, but the relationship between drugs and music has been there since the beginning of time.

There are many cliche artist that come to mind when drugs are mentioned in the realm of the music industry: Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg represent the stoner community, UGK and Future stood tall for codeine lovers, and then you have acts like Young Thug who just seemed to be on everything, even having his first Billboard smash be a bouncy tune called 'Stoner' and comparing himself to legendary rapper and drug enthusiast Fabo. The aforementioned Future has built a savage fan base that to cling to every drop of his HiTech laced ratchet bangers that highlight the life of a rich drug addict. Naming his projects after his habits, 'Dirty Sprite 2' was one of the most successful body's of work in 2015 and introduced the combination of codeine and promethazine to a whole new generation of listeners. One of these many fans was the late young rapper from Chicago known as Juice WRLD. It was a dream for Juice WRLD to collaborate with Future and when that time came, Juice revealed to him in the studio that his music influenced his choice to do drugs. This past December, those habits caught up with Juice in an unfortunate overdose. Lil Peep, another young artist taken by drugs, would often praise Future's music and named him as an influence as well. Future has addressed his regret for his lyrics after his time with Juice, but his sound remains the same.

In no way can any rapper or personality be blamed for someone else's choice, but at what point is the community asked to take some responsibility? At the same time, is it right to limit an artist on what they can say or express on record knowing who's listening? I personally first smoked marijuana at the age of 13 and although it was my own curiousity that led me to that, I can definitely say songs like 'Day n Nite' and 'Pursuit of Happiness' by my favorite artist Kid Cudi sparked the interest in me to see what this feeling was he was rhyming about. Both Cudi's music and drugs have gotten me through some dark times, but like Cudi himself, my consumption can go overboard with any substance I choose. At some point, artist and fans alike need to step back and look in the mirror, which is hard to do when it's fogged by smoke.

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