Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Tony Grands
According to the media (both in real-life & on the aggregated interwebs), Lil Wayne has been battling a bout of seizures over the past several months.Some “news” sites, like TMZ, even went so far as insinuating that he’d all but died during the last one. While none of us outsiders truly knows what’s causing these attacks, it’s a fair assessment to make in saying that it probably has something to do with drug use. If he didn’t rap about drugs so much, my opinion would likely be different, but he continually spews bars about his insatiable lust for mind-altering substances – with specificity – so who am I to not believe him? Although, I don’t necessarily believe him when he brags about shooting people or having gratuitous amounts of anal sex, either, but that’s neither here nor there.
If his seizures are the result of
codeine addiction some sort of drug abuse, I don’t expect Wayne to get any help. Most people wait until it’s too late anyway, and I imagine that living the rap life leaves little to no room for lifestyle maintenance & health management. Nonetheless, Lil Wayne could possibly be marching head-first into a fate similar to the one that took Texas Hip Hop legends DJ Screw & Pimp C, respectively. Both of those men died with some variation of “syrup” in their system, and even though the Hip Hop community was stunned by their premature deaths, the culture continues to take drugs like there is no tomorrow. The irony in that is if enough drugs are taken, the probability of tomorrow never arriving becomes more and more achievable. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; our very own, misguided Manifest Destiny, so to speak.
It’s no secret that rap music promotes sex, violence, & drug use, but when sh*t gets real, then what? What I mean by “real” is rappers killing one another over beef. Rappers becoming addicted to their vices. And for the record, this isn’t a piece about Lil Wayne, Pimp C, or DJ Screw. It’s about the tragic trajectory of America’s drug culture which has surreptitiously infiltrated middle-ground urban America. See, Hip Hop culture is only a little bit older than I am. It’s young, in terms of long-standing societies, so it makes complete scientific sense that only now would we see any social affects on it’s participants. I don’t know much about Lean or Mollies (which both appear to be Hip Hop’s current drugs of choice), but I know I’ve seen weed become as common with young people as a Newport after Xmas dinner. If that’s any indication of Hip Hop’s influential headlock on the urban United States of America, the future is going to be substantially rougher than any of us could have forecasted.
Again, let’s assume Wayne’s seizures were due to his drug habits. And let’s pretend he knows it. Do you think he’d take the necessary steps to get healthy & take his message to his fans? Probably not, especially because he’s a mega-rap/pop star who makes tons of monies based on his image. He might even think it would be kinda cool to overdose at this leveled-off apex of his career. That’s the short-term mentality that got us here in the first place.
At the rate we’re going, It’s only a matter of time before rapper rehabilitation becomes as “popular” as it is in the Hollywood sector of entertainment. And we don’t even have to look that far, seeing as though Chris Kelly, of Kris Kross, recently died of a drug overdose. His family and friends acknowledged that he’d been fighting a drug problem for a long time, but sadly, that recognition came too late. Maybe if Chris had somewhere to go, he’d wouldn’t have died so unnecessarily, like many before him. How many die after him, though, is something we can still control.
photo courtesy of raprehab.com
Words by Tony Grands