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Los Angeles Times Article Tackles Ecstasy Use in Hip-Hop

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Drugs use in hip-hop is not a novel occurrence. But in lieu of T.I.‘s recent arrest for possession of ecstasy, the topic of narcotic abuse in the music industry’s has been brought further into the public light. In a recent article, the Los Angeles Times took a deeper look at the drug which has seen a 37 percent spike in use over the past year, sighting hip-hop’s influence as a major player in the growing epidemic.

Ecstasy use among rappers is nothing new, hitting the mainstream with increased abuse in the late ’90s and early ’00s. Rappers like Twista, Gucci Mane, Eminem and Ja Rule have made reference to the drug. Rule in particular has made countless songs about getting high off ecstasy. In 2007, the Queens native admitted that the song ‘Extasy’ was about the pill, versus a form of sexual pleasure which is thinly veiled in the lyrics. “I wanna fly/ and bring ya sex in me/ I feel right/ ex-ta-sy I’m flying high/ When ya sex-in me I feel right/ Extasy I’m gonna fly,” he rhymes. “We got the murder mansion, that’s the spot to chill, got b—-es poppin pills … Sexy, you ever tried extasy? It’ll have you wilding in a club, smiling at a thug, expression hugs with her, f—ing us/ that’s right, we freaking, off for life, pass the O.J., we getting high tonight on extasy.”

Although falling short of admitting his own drug use, in an interview with MTV at the time of the song’s release, Rule acknowledged the drug’s popularity, stating that he wrote the song for “all of the ravers out there.”

Perhaps one of the most notable drug users in hip-hop today is Lil Wayne, who habitually rhymes about his drug addiction. Wayne has only publicly admitted to smoking weed but was arrested during a 2008 tour stop in New York in which authorities uncovered ecstasy pills, among other drugs, on his tour bus. The 27-year-old has not only expressed his love for drugs in rhyme, but made a swift reference to his entrapment by way of his addiction, which may have been overlooked by many listeners. “Drugs beating me up, I’m fighting for my life,” he raps in Mack 10′s song ‘So Sharp.’ Additionally, Wayne’s ‘I Feel Like Dying,‘ is a candid description of a drug session which includes a trip on Xanax, codeine and marijuana.

In the Bay Area, ecstasy use has become a not-so-silent part of the rap culture. The term “thizzin” or “thizz face,” which is widely used in rap lyrics, is a direct reference to the clenched-jaw side effect of a user after taking ecstasy. San Francisco based record label, Thizz Entertainment, also sought to capitalize on the popularity of the drug both by its company name and logo. The logo features hazy letters, which can be paralleled to the disoriented feeling that comes with using ecstasy. Bay Area staple Mac Dre, who died in 2004, founded the label and was also known for rhyming about ecstasy, opening the door for rap groups like The Team, who also openly rap about using the drug.

So even though hip-hop cannot be solely blamed for popularizing ecstasy, only time will tell if the actions and lyrics of rappers are doing more harm than good, when it comes to impressionable fans who may be interested in popping a few pills.

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