Recreational drugs use is fun until it produces a fatal statistic.
For years, prescription drugs like Percocet, Actavis, Xanax, and OxyContin, to name a few, have lived in the rhymes of many of your favorite rappers. "Percocet, molly, Percocet" was the hook to one of 2017's hottest hit songs, Future's "Mask Off." On "Gatorade," one of his beloved cuts, Yung Lean raps "Relently, I pop two pills too many / I don't give a f—k I brought plenty." Granted these 'scripts offer escapism for those dealing with anxiety, depression, and, on the whole, pain, its popularization has certainly blurred the line for the real issue at hand: substance abuse.
This permissiveness is the issue that rapper Fabolous brings to light on "F vs J," the intro of his Jadakiss collaborative album Friday on Elm Street. "It's getting spooky out here / All the Nino Brown's done turned Pookie's out here," he raps. The duality in the line pairs the popular characters from the 1991 film "New Jack City" to the fog-headed climate of the music scene today. To hear him tell it, the intent behind the line was to drag a growing debate out into the forefront. "Our music was drug dealer music versus today music. They kind of always make that comparison where it's drug user music. [But] when you look at it in hindsight, it's both kind of misleading because you rapping to a younger generation who's going to take up what you rapping about," the Brooklyn rapper explained to REVOLT.
Unfortunately, this epidemic has claimed the lives of rappers like Lil Peep and found its way into the narrative of Fredo Santana, who, prior to his passing over the weekend, had spoken candidly about his addiction to lean prior to his passing over the weekend. Santana had been two months sober after kicking lean and previously discussed how a near death experience led him to get "help" and show others that "we got our whole life ahead of us."
In response to the alarming statistics behind the epidemic, which claims the lives of 91 people a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many rappers have stepped up. Lil Uzi Vert, Lil Xan, Smokepurrp, and Lil Pump are among the rappers who have denounced Xanax abuse and kicked it to the curb. Earlier this month, rapper Mozzy launched the #KickDaCup Challenge as a way to get rappers to stray away from lean. Most recently, DJ Mustard took to social media to pour his purple drink down the sink.
The rallying towards a substance-free lifestyle is one that Fab describe as necessary. "It's scary though man, it's dudes dying out here. Nobody is saying how severe and how real that is, but it's real man."
Hopefully, many will take note and work toward making a change — before it's too late.