Xanax Rappers: Your Drug Addictions Are Not Beautiful

These fans of Lil Peep were featured in a post on the rapper’s Instagram, captioned, “Look at my beautiful fans awwwww.” It would be Lil Peep’s final post; the very same day, he would be found dead at only 21 years old as a result of overdosing on fentanyl and Xanax. (Photo from @lilpeep on Instagram.)

These fans of Lil Peep were featured in a post on the rapper’s Instagram, captioned, “Look at my beautiful fans awwwww.” It would be Lil Peep’s final post; the very same day, he would be found dead at only 21 years old as a result of overdosing on fentanyl and Xanax. (Photo from @lilpeep on Instagram.)

Holley Murray, Literature Editor

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“Running away from you takes time and pain, and I don’t even want to / So I’m getting high all week without you, popping pills, thinking about you.” An enthralled crowd in El Paso, Texas sang out these lyrics at a Lil Peep concert on Nov. 14, 2017. The very next day, Lil Peep would be found dead at only 21 years old as a result of overdosing on fentanyl and Xanax. As a fan of the late rapper myself, I still feel a sense of unease over a year later listening to his lyrics which romanticize the drugs that he never knew would eventually end his life.

Plenty of rap artists who are still alive today continue to produce music glorifying their drug abuse issues. One of the most popular addictive drugs currently circulating in the world of touring and producing music is codeine, generally consumed in the form of lean (a liquid mixture of cough syrup and soda or juice). As a result, drinking lean has become a popular theme in lyrics among the biggest rappers of the modern age, including Gucci Mane (“Servin’ Lean”), Future (“Codeine Crazy”) and A$AP Rocky (“Purple Swag”).

The reality of consuming this “purple drank” involves insufferable withdrawals, seizures or heart issues and even the risk of lethal overdose. However, these obvious hazards are hard to see because they are masked by DJ Khaled songs referencing “guzzling on cups of lean” that receive constant radio exposure. Society repeatedly ignores the dangers of a glorified drug culture even though these dangers are exposed by some celebrity’s tragic overdose every few years or so; consider the deaths of Cory Monteith in 2013, Lil Peep in 2017, and Mac Miller in 2018.

No party or international tour should end in casualties. However, drug addiction is becoming more and more difficult to avoid as the drugs themselves become more dangerous and the social pressure to experiment with drugs increases. Discouraging drug use is in the hands of those who hold the power to influence impressionable young people – not just parents and teachers, but also celebrities and music producers. Young people should be made aware that it is possible to, in the words of rapper RiFF RAFF, “enjoy the fresh air with Versace nostrils and a clear brain.”