For centuries now, the intricate relationship between music and drugs has always had a relevant influence on the evolution of music as we know it. Drugs have been mentioned in countless songs over the years, and has undoubtedly stirred up a lot of controversy along the way. This controversy is nothing new to us today, tracing back to 1985 when the Parents Music Resource Center first went after record labels in court for not labeling their explicit music as unsuitable for minors. Although this controversy is nothing new to us in 2013, it is still relevant in all the types of music we listen to, whether it be house or hip hop. In a recent article titled “License To Pill” on The Huffington Post, Canadian DJ and veteran producer A-Trak talks about his views on drugs and music, and the everlasting relationship between the two. He writes;

“I believe hip-hop has entered its psychedelic age. Turn on the radio: Molly, Xanax and cough syrup references are ubiquitous. One of the most acclaimed new mixtapes out is matter-of-factly titled Acid Rap. The spiritual guru of the era is the Juicy J, a Memphis veteran whose group Three 6 Mafia helped shape the sound of Southern rap. His hedonistic songs are anchored by irresistible hooks, hypnotic beats and jovial rallying cries. I have no idea what he’s rapping about, but the lullaby cadence of his music draws me in.”

It’s no secret that many artists today are spreading messages regarding drugs, but there is a reason why it lures so many people into the great music surrounding it. Whether artists refrain from drug use, use them for creativity, or use them recreationally, it is definitely one popular topic to reference in music, from The Beatles to Danny Brown. A-Trak went on to talk about his own musical work and it’s relationship to drugs;

“That said, the closer I get drawn into it, the more I tend to wonder whether I am just enjoying this music from a safe arm’s length as I silently endorse it? Is there any hypocrisy in the fact that I, clearly not an advocate of drug use, made a track with Juicy J and Danny (Brown) called “Piss Test”? We don’t appreciate rap songs based on the moral value of their lyrics, but rather on their artistic merit.”

Just as A-Trak wrote, it is definitely possible to view art from the perspective of artistic merit, rather than morale value. But not everybody sees things the same way, and who knows how one song’s lyrics will affect each different person that listens to them. Keeping these ever-changing perspectives in mind may be the main thing taking moral responsibility off these artists’ minds, leaving them to tell their own story of their lives how it really is. That life doesn’t always lead to a happy ending though, as A-Trak went on to write about;

“What worries me is the unspoken aspect of the story; that is the real elephant in the room. Just recently, Lil Wayne almost died from multiple seizures, yet he vehemently denies that there was a relation to his codeine intake. When legendary Houston rapper Pimp C passed away, the cause of death remained hush. Closer to home, my good friend DJ AM died from a drug overdose four years ago at the height of his fame. There needs to be more open dialogue about this. It won’t stop us from enjoying the music.”

Anybody can enjoy the music they want to, no matter what the message of the song is. But as more drug-referencing music comes out day after day it is definitely a smart move to stay educated on the topic. In the words of A-Trak;

“My stance is: we can rap about it, but let’s also talk about it.”

Source: The Huffington Post