Is Hip-Hop Really The Ultimate Gateway Drug?

A recent article published by a student at Johns Hopkins University delved into hip-hop culture, and the genre’s promotion of drug use.

The piece, titled “Hip Hop Culture Perpetuates Drug Use,” was penned by Junior Writing Seminars major, Sammy Bathia.

The article, which was published prior to the death of rising rapper Lil Peep, pointed to three different eras in Hip-Hop that promoted drug use.
First, it was the 1980s with crack, followed by the 1990s, which ushered in the era of marijuana use.

“This decade, rappers seem to have embraced a laundry list of other narcotics, some new, some not, many of which are heavily regulated prescription medications like Xanax, Percocet, and Adderall. Others are Schedule I and II drugs.” – Sammy Bathia.

Popular rappers like Trinidad James, G-Eazy, Post Malone Lil Wayne and Future all promote the use of Hardcore prescription narcotics in there lyrics.
And, according to Sammy Bathia, this trend has gone way too far.
And he believes it will be up to the listeners to draw the line with certain artists.
“There is always a line, somewhere, between what we deem acceptable and what is nauseating in the message it sends. There is a line between smoking weed and abusing prescription pills. There is a line between making music revolving around an artist’s honest account of his drug use and making music that glorifies addiction and lethal combinations of those drugs.”
Unfortunately, fans alone will not be enough to make an impact, considering the number of corporations openly promoting drug use over public airwaves.
For instance, the nation’s #1 song “Rockstar” by 21 Savage and Post Malone is littered with references to drug use.

“I’ve been fuckin’ hoes and poppin’ pillies/Man, I feel just like a rockstar.” – Post Malone on “Rockstar” Featuring 21 Savage

And, before we are too quick to judge hip-hop artists for their drug use, it’s important to note studies have shown pop musicians and country artist die way more often than rappers who use drugs.
Regardless of who is to blame, hip-hop definitely needs to have a discussion about prescription drug use and its impacts on the culture.
Last month, rapper Fredo Santana revealed he needed a kidney transplant because he used too much lean, while artists like Macklemore, Kid Cudi, And Yelawolf have done stints and rehab to kick their habits.
Hip-hop cannot be blamed for the opioid crisis that’s plaguing the nation, the genre is merely reflecting the realities of the epidemic.
“This is a conversation worth having and a reality worth grappling with,” Sammy Bathia wrote. “For our own sake, the realities that artists such as Future have normalized cannot be seen as normal.”
We agree Sammy.