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Rap Music – Style – Drugs Essay, Research Paper

It’s unexplanitory, how I gets lifted higher than a hundred

stories; I take a beer and I guzzle it, I’m speakin’ so shut your mouth

and muzzle it; smokin’ el’s and rollin’ reefer, I’ll get you more f—ed

up than a can of ether; so beautiful when I light it up, and then I

cup my hands when I fire it up.

–Wax of ESMob, “Lil’ Ass Playa” (Losee 1995)

Lines much like these are not uncommon in today’s rap music. Many artists are integrating the subject of drug use into their songs. Such music has become mainstream and yet even more accessible to young listeners. In the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, the presence of drugs in rap music was not tollerated. Rap artists advocated against drugs. The rap classic, “White Lines”, by Grandmaster Melle Mel, educated listeners about the dangers of drug use and drug abuse. If an artist even mentioned marijuana or any of its thousands of synonyms, the media and the listeners reacted in outrage. In the mid-1980s, rapper Run of Run DMC claimed, “I keep a bag of cheeba inside my locker” (Ro 1996, p. 73). Even this single sentence produced shock waves.

From R&B’s “Brown Sugar”, by D’Angelo, to Cypress Hill’s “Hits From the Bong” and Method Man and Redman’s “How High,” all angles of rap music have seemed to blend drug use and music. It has become profitable to mix these items; all three of these songs climbed higher than number ten on the Billboard music charts. It is possible to go to any club in any major city and see hundreds of teens bouncing around and bobbing their heads to this music. Not only do they dance to it, but most could recite all the lyrics — as they take a hit of a joint.

Most take no blame; they will fault the system, society, or even their peers. Platinum-selling artist Method Man says, “I can’t just smoke some regular weed and write, ’cause regular weed don’t . . . do nothing for your thoughts. But when I smoke some head banger boogie, some of that . . . Hawaiian, I be writin’ super, crazy, ill bombs” (Smith 1995). This is an almost customary answer given by artists. If one is able to talk to an artist seriously (most of the time off the record), he will admit that drug abuse is plaguing society and creating self-destruction.

It is easy to question a rap artist about his or her sayings, but what happens when a group named Tha Alkaholiks sells over 500,000 copies of their album? It is simple to quickly jump to conclusions and say that they have a lot of problems and that they are poisoning listeners. However, Tha Alkaholiks’ producer, E-Swift, says that he is aware that the name may be exploiting a widespread, deadly disease. He quickly comes to the group’s defense offering:

We don’t drink to the point where we gotta see doctors or no s–t like that. We coulda turned it into a gimmick, dressing all bummy, always in the same clothes, and carrying a forty — but we didn’t. We’re aware that alcoholism is a serious problem. But alcohol isn’t only in hip hop. You see it everywhere you go (Ro 1996, p. 74).

This is seemingly a weak defense, but Swift has a point. At any time of the day, anyone can turn on the television and see someone drinking a martini or mixing a daiquiri. When questioned, most people cannot remember the last time they were at an alcohol-free party. Brett Orsak, an executive producer at The Dallas Co-nec-c?on Records, says, “What is a party without a beer or a bottle? I don’t think I’ve been to a party without alcohol since my twelfth birthday” (Waxenberg 1996).

Most artists do not drink twenty forties per night. L?c says, “Yeah, I like to get drunk. Who doesn’t? But when I’m talkin’ about drinking a whole keg, that’s obviously bulls–t. No one does that. I may have a forty or two, but that’s it” (Waxenberg 1995). Swift says that he used to have a drinking problem. He claims that he probably still drinks as much; but that it is a different frame of mind. When author Ronin Ro asked Swift if he was just an alcoholic in denial, Swift said, “You prob’ly right. But am I hurting you or your family? I don’t think so. So mind your own” (1996, p. 74) Reverend Calvin Butts and C. Dolores Tucker, both advocates against rap music, would most likely disagree. Butts and Tucker claim that even mentioning such things as

Bibliography

It’s unexplanitory, how I gets lifted higher than a hundred

stories; I take a beer and I guzzle it, I’m speakin’ so shut your mouth

and muzzle it; smokin’ el’s and rollin’ reefer, I’ll get you more f—ed

up than a can of ether; so beautiful when I light it up, and then I

cup my hands when I fire it up.

–Wax of ESMob, “Lil’ Ass Playa” (Losee 1995)

Lines much like these are not uncommon in today’s rap music. Many artists are integrating the subject of drug use into their songs. Such music has become mainstream and yet even more accessible to young listeners. In the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, the presence of drugs in rap music was not tollerated. Rap artists advocated against drugs. The rap classic, “White Lines”, by Grandmaster Melle Mel, educated listeners about the dangers of drug use and drug abuse. If an artist even mentioned marijuana or any of its thousands of synonyms, the media and the listeners reacted in outrage. In the mid-1980s, rapper Run of Run DMC claimed, “I keep a bag of cheeba inside my locker” (Ro 1996, p. 73). Even this single sentence produced shock waves.

From R&B’s “Brown Sugar”, by D’Angelo, to Cypress Hill’s “Hits From the Bong” and Method Man and Redman’s “How High,” all angles of rap music have seemed to blend drug use and music. It has become profitable to mix these items; all three of these songs climbed higher than number ten on the Billboard music charts. It is possible to go to any club in any major city and see hundreds of teens bouncing around and bobbing their heads to this music. Not only do they dance to it, but most could recite all the lyrics — as they take a hit of a joint.

Most take no blame; they will fault the system, society, or even their peers. Platinum-selling artist Method Man says, “I can’t just smoke some regular weed and write, ’cause regular weed don’t . . . do nothing for your thoughts. But when I smoke some head banger boogie, some of that . . . Hawaiian, I be writin’ super, crazy, ill bombs” (Smith 1995). This is an almost customary answer given by artists. If one is able to talk to an artist seriously (most of the time off the record), he will admit that drug abuse is plaguing society and creating self-destruction.

It is easy to question a rap artist about his or her sayings, but what happens when a group named Tha Alkaholiks sells over 500,000 copies of their album? It is simple to quickly jump to conclusions and say that they have a lot of problems and that they are poisoning listeners. However, Tha Alkaholiks’ producer, E-Swift, says that he is aware that the name may be exploiting a widespread, deadly disease. He quickly comes to the group’s defense offering:

We don’t drink to the point where we gotta see doctors or no s–t like that. We coulda turned it into a gimmick, dressing all bummy, always in the same clothes, and carrying a forty — but we didn’t. We’re aware that alcoholism is a serious problem. But alcohol isn’t only in hip hop. You see it everywhere you go (Ro 1996, p. 74).

This is seemingly a weak defense, but Swift has a point. At any time of the day, anyone can turn on the television and see someone drinking a martini or mixing a daiquiri. When questioned, most people cannot remember the last time they were at an alcohol-free party. Brett Orsak, an executive producer at The Dallas Co-nec-c?on Records, says, “What is a party without a beer or a bottle? I don’t think I’ve been to a party without alcohol since my twelfth birthday” (Waxenberg 1996).

Most artists do not drink twenty forties per night. L?c says, “Yeah, I like to get drunk. Who doesn’t? But when I’m talkin’ about drinking a whole keg, that’s obviously bulls–t. No one does that. I may have a forty or two, but that’s it” (Waxenberg 1995). Swift says that he used to have a drinking problem. He claims that he probably still drinks as much; but that it is a different frame of mind. When author Ronin Ro asked Swift if he was just an alcoholic in denial, Swift said, “You prob’ly right. But am I hurting you or your family? I don’t think so. So mind your own” (1996, p. 74) Reverend Calvin Butts and C. Dolores Tucker, both advocates against rap music, would most likely disagree. Butts and Tucker claim that even mentioning such things as


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