Hip-hop isn’t the first musical genre tied inextricably to drugs – just think back to the trippy tunes of the 1960s and 1970s. But rap’s celebration of all things intoxicating outpaces that of even its wildest pop-culture predecessors, by a long shot.
Drug mentions in rap lyrics have been enormous is quantity and explicit in quality since the genre’s earliest days. From sale to use and even overdose, rap verses reflect the history of drug culture. But how has the relationship between drugs and hip-hop changed over the years? Are today’s emcees still rhyming about the same substances as popularized in the 1980s? Which drugs have faded like fads, and which continue to bounce with the bass of every generation?