No More Odes to Drug Abuse
1 year ago
Is It Still Okay to Sing Along to Drug Abuse on Wax?
Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27 after a public battle with addiction; her most famous hit? “Rehab”, on which she pokes fun at her record label’s attempt to help her sober up. No one is laughing now. The question is, will the British soul singer’s death be a wake-up call to other artists who revel in their substance abuse on wax? Will label staff and devoted fans who support these musicians now demand they get help?
While Winehouse’s tune about her issues with booze and drugs was a novelty for soul music, hip-hop and drugs have gone hand in hand for many years. Rappers name check their favorite recreational substance just as casually as they do a type of cognac or champagne. While most of us catch (and may even agree with) references to weed, mentions of cocaine, Ecstasy or codeine-based beverages may be lost on others. However, it seems like rappers are getting more comfortable than ever in referencing their enjoyment of the stronger stuff.
A prescription cough syrup, codeine-promethazine, is mixed with Sprite and used to make “lean” or “drank.” The mixture became popular among Texas hip-hop heads in the 1990s, but may have originated decades earlier. DJ Screw famously created “Screw music,” slowing down popular songs, which allowed listeners to simulate the feeling of being high off drank (and made for a more intense listening experience when one was actually high). He also died of a codeine overdose in 2000. When UGK rapper Pimp C died in 2007, the combination of his use of cough syrup with sleep apnea was to blame.
Lil Wayne’s issues with codeine haven’t exactly been a secret. He dismissed the notion that he would also succumb to the drug just because another rapper had, but his prison stint reportedly sobered him up. So the fact that his protégé Drake is now talking about “that drink” more than ever (and posting pictures of it on his blog) is a bit troubling. If Wayne did, in fact, beat back an addiction to codeine, it certainly can’t be good for him to have friends drinking it in his presence.