Hip Hop’s Lyrical Influence

Stephen Young

In today’s society, celebrities are looked up to and idolized. They are constantly seen on television, social media, and heard in the world of music. Celebrities have a huge impact on people’s lives, whether it be buying a product, influencing how they live, or listening to a song. A celebrity’s platform is commonly used in the business world as companies use them in advertisements, hoping they will influence people to buy their product. At times, a celebrity’s influence can have a negative impact on people’s lives.

Hip-Hop is arguably the most popular genre of music in the United States, and a popular topic in many songs is the usage of drugs. For starters, there are many recent song titles that associate with drugs such as “Move that Dope,” “Stoner,” “Zack and Codeine,” “XTCY,” and many more. On top of that, there are even artists who have drugs associated with their name such as popular rapper, Lil Xan. Countless songs in today’s rap are about drug usage, and people all over the world are singing every lyric to these songs. Here are some examples:

I need to smoke, who gon’ hold me down now? I wanna get high y’all.  “Just What I am” – Kid Cudi

I don’t usually do this unless I’m drunk or I’m high but I’m both right now.  “Both– Gucci Mane and Drake

Cookin’ up dope in the crock pot. “Bad and Boujee” – Migos

So what we get drunk, so what we smoke weed, we’re just having fun, we don’t care who sees. “Young, Wild & Free – Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, and Bruno Mars

“Kids take a majority of their ideas and beliefs from those who they listen to and who influenced them. A song about drugs has a high chance of making kids curious about drugs, and could definitely lead to them trying it out,” said Jackson Meadow, a junior at Lake Forest High School. Rappers singing about drugs works the same as celebrities sponsoring a product. People take what they hear from someone they look up to, and buy the product, or in this case, do drugs. “It can sometimes seem like artists today are even promoting a drug,” said Meadow.

In today’s rap music, drug usage is seen as a common thing. Almost every song has some reference to drug usage, making it seem as if it is normal. “I think that because kids see their favorite artists doing it and talking about it all the time, they think it’s kind of normal,” said Michael Vallone, a junior at LFHS. “I don’t think they put the idea in their heads; it’s more of just a message saying it’s okay or normal to do something like that,” said Vallone.

Despite several incidents involving drug abuse and artists such as Demi Lovato and the death of Lil Peep and Mac Miller, rappers unfortunately still continue to preach about their constant use of drugs. However, some artists have begun to raise awareness of drug usage. In J Cole’s recent album, KOD (a title with three meanings, one being Kids on Drugs), he talks about addiction and drug usage, hoping to affect people in a positive way. Meditate, don’t medicate, Cole said in his song, “FRIENDS,” hoping to deliver a superior way of dealing with pain to his audience.

This is not a new problem; however it is indeed growing. Today, more and more artists are spreading the idea of drug usage throughout their songs, and it is influencing people around the world.