North Texas Daily

The glorification of drug use within music is dangerous

The glorification of drug use within music is dangerous

The glorification of drug use within music is dangerous
May 17
16:00 2022

Content warning: this article contains language and content related to drug use and addiction. Viewer discretion is advised. 

As more people listen to a wider range of music genres, extremely detailed discussions of themes such as drug use, addiction and success are becoming commonplace. 

The discussion of drug use and struggles with addiction, in an attempt to raise awareness for those who have struggled with such issues, is much needed. However, actively promoting extensive drug use, be it intentional or not, and its relation between many artists’ and their significant levels of success is becoming incredibly dangerous.

While a lot of rap and hip-hop music can have super catchy beats and well-written lyrics, many people fail to truly consider the harmful implications of artists’ discussions of drug use and addiction in relation to their success. It is incredibly important to consider the mental and physical safety of people who may hear and be encouraged by lyrics promoting the lifestyle of a wealthy, drug-using (or abusing) artist.

If a teenager hears their favorite rapper sing about how they get high and use hard drugs all the time, have millions of dollars and have made a name for themselves, what else is that teenager supposed to think except that leading a lifestyle like that can only have positive impacts on their success?

Glorifying the use of drugs and leading listeners to believe that a toxic lifestyle can coexist with wealth and fame is incredibly harmful to people’s perception of the impact of drugs on people’s lives. Creating this seemingly positive correlation between using drugs and being successful is not only false advertising but is genuinely dangerous to the impressionable minds of a large chunk of music listeners.

Researchers have found that one of the most impressionable age groups is 19 to 24-year-olds. Statistics show that the age group that listens to rap music the most are people ages 18 to 34. This clearly proves that a large majority of rap music listeners are much more likely to hear lyrics that imply that intense drug usage can coexist with wealth and success, which is not the truth in most cases.

A song by popular rap group $uicideboy$ titled “Either Hated or Ignored” disproves the idea that drug usage promotes a more wealthy, and therefore a happier or better, lifestyle.

The song includes the lyrics, “Now I’m smokin’ more ports, And I’m closer to death than I was when I was poor.”

This implies the more they smoke and the more drugs they do now that they’re rich and famous, the closer they are to death. They may be making money but they’re also killing themselves.

On the other hand, another song by the group titled “Materialism as a Means to an End” proves that the money they make as musicians helps to fund their lives as drug users.

The lyrics, “Hunnid K for the car, half a mill’ for the addiction,” which is also a play on words as they reference another music artist, show that all the money they make directly funds their drug use.

Nearly every single song by $uicideboy$ references the usage, buying or selling of drugs. With more than 8.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, this can create a dangerous environment very quickly.

However, this group is not even close to being the only one who clearly glorifies the use of drugs in their music.

Chase Atlantic, a popular Australian music group, is also guilty of this. In the song “Drugs & Money – New Mix,” the group explicitly states that drugs and money are pretty much the only two things they need.

Lyrics say, “Drugs and f*****g money, Only thing that I need.” How much clearer can it be? To a lot of musicians and celebrities, drugs and money really are some of the only things they care about after discovering fame and wealth.

With their total of more than 10.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, making at least 18.5 million listeners across just two relatively small artists’ platforms, it is clear that the glorification of drugs in music is an epidemic throughout the music industry.

We must strongly encourage the censorship of songs, or at least specific lyrics that suggest how great it is to get rich and be high all the time when that is hardly ever the case for people. 

If we want to also help create a safer and less triggering environment for drug users, addicts and those who are at risk to become addicted, it is imperative that something is done to eliminate this wildly popular trend of promoting drug use within music.

Featured Illustration By Miranda Thomas

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Natalie VanDerWal

Natalie VanDerWal

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