The owner of Fool's Gold records, A-Trak wrote a great piece about drugs in hip-hop titled "License To Pill" on The Huffington Post. In the piece, A-Trak claims he's never taken drugs but also says he believes rap is entering its psychedelic age.
The renowned DJ claims that if you "turn on the radio: Molly, Xanax and cough syrup references are ubiquitous." He points out how everyone from Juicy J to Rick Ross to Ludacris to his own artist, Danny Brown, all rap about drugs, a lot.
He also negotiates the tension between enjoying art and endorsing things you don't actually believe in, "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 called 'Piss Test'?"
The most impressive part about the article is how he's able to tie the rise of alternative drug use in rap to larger trends happening within the genre, better than your average know-it-all music critic:
But for the most part, what I'm noticing is a level of abstraction that has helped rap reach a further orbit of expressionism. The genre hasn't felt this free since the Daisy Age. It may have started with Lil Wayne's 2008 masterpiece of stream-of-consciousness rap "A Milli," although I would also credit Lil B's "based" style for opening this generation's minds. Is it all due to the unshackling and relaxing effect of drugs? Probably not. But one can't deny that the current climate of trippy and experimental mainstream rap has coincided with the breaking down of geographic and sexual prejudices in a notoriously territorial and homophobic culture.
He concludes saying that we need an open discussion about the effects of drugs (and points at Lil Wayne's recent health issues), not just a romanticized notion of drug use.
Read his full editorial right here.
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