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Music’s Tragic Drug Problem

Late+Pittsburgh+rapper+Mac+Miller+on+stage+at+the+splash%21+Festival.+%282017%29+Labeled+for+reuse+by+WikiMedia.
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Music’s Tragic Drug Problem

Late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller on stage at the splash! Festival. (2017) Labeled for reuse by WikiMedia.

Late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller on stage at the splash! Festival. (2017) Labeled for reuse by WikiMedia.

Late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller on stage at the splash! Festival. (2017) Labeled for reuse by WikiMedia.

Late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller on stage at the splash! Festival. (2017) Labeled for reuse by WikiMedia.

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Mac Miller was an influential rapper from Pittsburgh; he was wealthy, successful and (seemingly) starting to make music again after a two-year hiatus. He released “Swimming” on August 3, 2018. A month later, on September 7, 2018, he was found dead in his apartment due to a cocaine and fentanyl overdose.

He was 26.

Mac Miller is one of the latest of many musicians to die from a drug overdose. Although Miller’s struggle with drugs is one that he was open with, he made it clear that he was trying to go sober.

Rap’s subject matter is dominated with talk about drug usage and abuse, and fans of the genre are often hard-pressed to find a song that doesn’t mention drugs.

Lean and Xanax are two of the biggest contributors to the drug problem amongst today’s rappers.

Lean is prescription cough syrup that contains codeine mixed with soda, or another drink to dispel the syrup’s taste. Codeine is an opioid and thus highly addictive. Users can develop dependency after just a single sip. Taken in high doses, it can cause severe respiratory distress.

Xanax is a highly addictive sedative that helps with anxiety. Its side effects include suicidal inclinations, paranoia and loss of coordination. Taken with alcohol or other substances, it can slow breathing to a dangerous level.

A line from Juice Wrld’s track “Armed and Dangerous” that states, “Sippin’ lean cliche, I still do it anyway” is a perfect example of a musician openly expressing their drug use in a song. Juice Wrld realizes that it’s looked down upon to sip lean, but the fact that he still does it is a testament to how compelling drugs can be in pop culture. This is not only affecting the musicians and their music, but the listeners and people that the music effects.

Music such as this that mentions substance abuse can impact the public’s opinion on drugs.

“I guess they just made it sound cool,” said Anonymous.

The positive connotation of drugs that is spread through music is a huge problem. The fact that kids are being told drugs are “cool” through this type of music creates a negative impact on the teen population. 

It’s not just rap that has a drug problem, however; music greats from all genres have suffered from the addictive nature of drugs. Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Kurt Cobain, Bradley Nowell and Jim Morrison have all had problems with drugs, and some have even died because of them.

Rapper J. Cole has taken a stance against drugs with his April, 20 2018 album K.O.D. He revealed through Twitter that the album’s name, K.O.D has several meanings: Kids On Drugs, King Overdosed and Kill Our Demons. He used the album to express his feelings on rappers idolizing drug use and drug addiction.

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About the Writer
Eli Andrew, Journalist

Hey, I'm Eli Andrew, a Junior this year at AAHS I like the outdoors, rap, metal and other than that not much else.

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Music’s Tragic Drug Problem