Molly, Xanax, weed, cocaine, lean, Oxy, and alcohol. These are all examples of drugs that you commonly hear about in music. Whether you listen to EDM, Pop, Trap, Psychedelic Rock, or Underground Punk, substances are as tied into music as harmony is to melody. It’s one thing to sing along to “I did half a xan, 13 hours till I land,” but once you hear about “jungle juice” spiked with Xanax at parties, it becomes more than concerning. Drug culture in college isn’t news, but as it becomes more normalized in music, we become desensitized to its consequences. If students use drugs for recreation and cite musicians as their inspiration, it’s not just a risk; it’s a call for help.
Artists use music as their personal diary. An album can explain the entire story of someone’s life or a monumental moment that changed their perspective. How each individual chooses to represent their life and pick the content in their lyrics is incredibly unique. Many of the themes range from heartbreak to death to overcoming personal struggles and even just a wild night they had on tour. Substances heighten your senses and create a higher awareness of your being, so it’s unsurprising to see their prevalence in music. With this in mind, many artists choose to share their stories of substances and unintentionally promote drug use to their fanbase. If it weren’t for Lil Wayne, the larger population wouldn’t know how to make lean, and artists like Lil Pump and Lil Uzi Vert have popularized Xanax. We constantly see young artists likeAmy Winehouse, Mac Miller, Lil Peep, Kurt Cobain, and so many others succumb to overdoses. It’s unfair to blame music for recreational drug usage, however, it’s ignorant to believe that artists don’t have an impact on a fanbase turning to drugs to cope with the everyday stresses of life. Drugs have always been available, and musicians might be helping to open the door for young people to start using.
College playlists often have songs about drinking, partying, and living your best life (look no further than the classic “I Love College”). You’ll definitely catch me screaming the words to “Mask Off” on any occasion, but I can’t help but feel like drug use in college has gone to the extreme. It’s easy to find a cornucopia of illicit substances right at your fingertips, and being away from home and parents makes it even more enticing. I haven’t done any formal research on drug references in music and how it impacts college students, but based on my mere six weeks at Tulane, I can confidently say that it’s nearly obligatory to take shots when the song tells you to. In the heat of the moment, its easy to forget the power that music can have on us, and that lyrics aren’t an instruction manual. If you choose to partake, please do NOT forget about the many dangers there are. Uppers and downers alike have serious repercussions, and no one wants to be the kid who came out of college with an addiction rather than a degree. Music is a tool, and should be treated with care. Rage at your own discretion, but don’t forget about the story each song tells.
COVER PHOTO: Huffington Post