In the wake of Juice WRLD’s untimely death, several members of the hip hop community have spoken out about both drug use and mental health struggles. Vic Mensa shared his thoughts on the “glorification of the drug culture” in rap music, which is what he blames for the late rapper’s passing.
“I think, as members of the hip hop community, we need to take responsibility for the things that we say,” he told TMZ. “We need to recognize that the sh*t that we talk about influences children... We are polluting the minds of the youth.”
“We have a responsibility to give it to them in a real way... We need to start holding ourselves and each other accountable for the glorification of the drug culture,” he continued. “We see these things happening to the young brothers... And rap is much to blame for it.”
Mensa also said that, since Juice’s passing, he’s reexamined his own drug-touting lyrics.
“You gotta be careful about what you say because kids take what you say for real, they take it as the gospel,” he explained. “So give ‘em something they can use, not sh*t that’s killing them.”
The Hooligans rapper opened up about his own struggles with drug addiction.
“I’ve been through drug addiction in a major way and that sh*t gives you perspective,” he said. “I have a responsibility to talk about mental health, to give that in a real way to the people listening to my music.”
Drug glorification has been a controversial topic since Juice’s passing, with rappers like Mensa and Joyner Lucas blaming it for the death of young rappers, while others say the conversation emphasis should be put on mental health.
“Juice wrld was 21. He was a product of our generation of rappers who glorified drugs and made it cool,” Lucas previously tweeted. “Im blaming Yal ni**az for this sh*t. all that lean and pills ni**az glorify and talk about. You teaching the kids to do it. Smh you happy now?”
G Herbo disagreed, calling Lucas a “fu**ing clown.”
“Ni**as don’t know what ni**as going thru!” he wrote on Instagram. “Ni**as ain’t tryna be cool shorty was on top of the fu**ing world you think he was tryna fit in??? If that Sh*t was easy shorty would’ve quit!! Shorty ain’t see nun of this sh*t coming!!! He ain’t see millions coming fame coming nun of that sh*t!!”
Nicki Minaj also touched on the subject during her acceptance speech at the Billboard Women in Music Awards.
“Drugs isn’t the problem; it’s the way we fix our problem,” she said. “It’s so important that we don’t pass judgement, so that people don’t feel ashamed to speak up and ask for help. It’s so important we talk about mental heath, ‘cause people are dying.”
See Vic Mensa’s full interview below.