Hip-hop music glorifies drug use, negatively influencing lifestyle decisions of young people, according to research
03/05/2018 // Jhoanna Robinson // Views

A study that was conducted by University of South Florida researchers found that there may be an association between hiphop rappers' songs detailing drug use and the actual rise in the number of people taking drugs.

Rappers Kanye Omari West; Karim Kharbouch, who is better known by his stage name French Montana; and William Leonard Roberts II, better known as Rick Ross, among others are being blamed for the rise in the use of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), which is a drug that has the street name molly or Ecstasy.

West, who married television personality Kim Kardashian back in 2014, is one of the biggest names in hip-hop.

Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., who is known professionally as Lil Wayne and who has released 12 studio albums, rapped about “popping” molly when he was featured on Onika Tanya Maraj or Nicki Minaj's “Roman Reloaded”, singing ,“Pop a molly, smoke a blunt, that mean I'm a high roller.”

The study's participants mentioned that they got the urge to try to take the drug after big hip-hop names West and Montana gave reference to the drug in their lyrics.

One volunteer, whose name was not released to the public, told researchers: “Whenever the [rappers] mentioned [molly], they are either partying, drinking [alcohol], smoking [weed], or having sex. All of the things I love to do most. I never heard about anyone getting addicted or dying. That made me feel better about trying it.”

Stormzy and his alleged influence on the use of cannabis

Ian Hamilton, who is a researcher in the Department of Health Sciences at York University, noted that the popular music genre contains massive amounts of lyrics that highlight the use of weed, a class B drug. He further added that songs that feature weed, which are predominant in West's, Richard Kylea Cowie Jr. or Wiley's, and Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo, Jr. or Stormzy's albums, are “essentially product placement”.


Among the songs that Stormzy have that consistently mentions the use of weed are:

  • Big For Your Boots – "Mad stressed so I'm bound to light my spliffs."
  • Wicked Skengman Part 4 – "Wait two secs, let me spark this zoot." Spliffs also called zoot.
  • Scary – "Anywhere I go, got my bro with the smoke." 
  • Standard – "Cause my jeans weren't baggy enough to hold food." Food is another term for weed.
  • Bad Boys – "Charge three for a Z, that's banter." This is in reference to the selling of weed, as Z is used in youth culture to refer to an ounce of pot.

The hip-hop genre has always been cognizant of its acceptance of recreational drug use. However, lately it has taken a sudden shift to include mentions of abuse of prescription pills and depression. Take for instance Quavious Keyate Marshall or Quavo's song “Slippery”, which has these lyrics: “Pop a Perky just to start up/Pop two cups of purple just to warm up.”

Perky refers to Percocet, a painkiller composed of paracetamol and the opioid oxycodone, while purple is a drink made form codeine-based cough syrup. (Related: Prescription drug abuse exceeds heroin, cocaine and ecstasy combined.)

Sources include:



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