Rap’s existing drug culture should not be ignored

With a growing number of young rappers losing their lives to substance abuse problems, it is important that fans and artists alike within the new generations of hip- hop begin to treat the topic of drug addiction as a serious social issue.

A series of tragic young deaths have left the hip-hop community in constant grief of up and coming artists.
Most recently, the community has mourned the death of 21-year-old Chicago rapper Jarod Higgins, better known by the stage name “Juice WRLD,” following his passing due to an induced seizure on December 8, 2019.
Higgins would often reference in his lyrics how he self-medicated to cope with depression and insecurity.
Lyrics like “I problem solve with styrofoam” referenced his addiction to lean, a recreational drug mixing prescription cough syrup and soft drinks.
Higgins surrounded himself with a large posse and had millions of fans across the world supporting his music.
With a seemingly endless amount of support and enough money to pay for the best therapist, why didn’t he get the help that he needed?
Believe me when I say that I understand that it is easy to not take lyrics seriously.
It is easy to view lyrics that reference drugs and crime as little more than a stage persona put on by musicians to intrigue and attract fans.
Some rappers have even personally admitted to falsifying lyrics.
It is easy to see how fans can feel helpless to have a voice in saving their favorite artists.
Those who were around Higgins and knew him personally, however, were in arms reach to advocate that he get the help that was needed.
Instead, a modern glorification of substance abuse enables young artists, and even fans, to continue on a path of self destruction.
The deaths of rappers Lil Peep and Mac Miller (real names Gustav Ahr and Malcolm McCormick) deeply touched the hip -hop community, as well.
Like Higgins, both artists passed away due to accidental drug overdoses, suffered from depression or anxiety, talked vocally about their drug abuse and could have received the help they needed.
Some artists have begun to recognize that there are different, less destructive alternatives to abusing hard drugs.
Rapper Lil Xan, real name Nicholas Leanos, has spoken out about his own prior addiction to Xanax and opioids and urges his fans to not partake in the use of the drug whatsoever.
Rapper Famous Dex, real name Dexter Gore Jr., had been attempting to quit taking drugs for months before he, unfortunately, suffered a seizure on stage on November 1, 2019 due to drug withdrawal.
With the turn of the decade upon us, it is time for us to cherish the era-defining artist that we have active today.
It is time for us to recognize the substance abuse problems that plague so many young musicians, cutting their careers short before they can ever get a chance to reach their full potential.