Did You Know These 5 Rappers Gave Up Getting High?
Author: Justin Mckibben
The culture of Hip Hop and Rap over the years has evolved so much it is truly incredible. From upbeat and radio-friendly rhymes over funky disco instrumentals to speed-style tongue-twisters over techno. Some rap artists have decided to try and keep it classic and stylish, while others (who I hesitate to call ‘artists’) have become more complacent with repetitive hooks and chanting dance songs. Either way you put it, the subject of drug use has always been relevant.
Back in the day hip hop artists like Run DMC and Marky Mark opposed drug use in their music. It was common for rappers to talk about keeping a clean mind to focus on the music. Over the years, rappers began to shift their position on drugs, and many began to glorify gratuitous drug abuse.
Some rappers amplified their fame through graphic depictions of their battles with drugs. Eminem, one of the greatest to ever hold the mic, later gained a great deal of notoriety for telling the story of his recovery in his records. But what about other artists that aren’t so celebrated for sobriety?
While their choices to change may be different from others in recovery, these artists still have a good enough story for letting go of some bad habits. Did you know these 5 rappers gave up getting high?
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II (born January 22, 1990), known by his stage name Logic, is an American rapper from Gaithersburg, Maryland. Logic grew up with a mother who battled addiction and worked as a prostitute. His father was addicted to drugs and used to get crack from one of his brothers.
This stands to enforce the idea that nothing as any meaning except the meaning you give it. While some would use this upbringing as an excuse to use, Logic uses it as inspiration to stay clean. While he did get high for a time, he is now sober. In an interview with the Village Voice Logic says parents gave him a lesson on “what not to do.”
- Kid Cudi
While Scott Ramon Seguro Mescudi AKA Kid Cudi became well-known as a guy who rapped about weed, with songs like Day and Night (and pretty much every other song he had for a while) he actually hasn’t been getting high for a while.
A few years back, Kid Cudi stopped getting high and hasn’t looked back. It wasn’t easy either. Since his fan base was mostly marijuana enthusiasts, he was criticized for it by some. But Kid Cudi let his fans know that he didn’t care about the opinions of people who obviously did not care about him to begin with, and that they should be happy he made a positive change in his life.
Kid Cudi recently entered rehab for depression and anxiety, something he said he has been dealing with since before getting famous. He said he has never known peace or how to relax, and surely it is safe to assume he tried to find that in drugs for some time and apparently that solution didn’t make it any easier for him. Hopefully as he commits to the change he needs in his life, his sobriety will evolve with his message.
- Joe Budden
Much like his renegade rapper associate Eminem, Joe Budden is more vocal than most about his sobriety. Joe Budden is best known for his work with the hip hop group Slaughterhouse alongside Joell Ortiz, Kxng Crooked and Royce da 5’9″. These days Budden makes a point to say flat-out,
“I don’t do drugs. Period. Some people can function, I’m just dysfunctional and self-destructive.”
His biggest issues were with MDMA. At one point Joe Budden even aired out some of his experience on Fox News.
“I didn’t see a problem that maybe five days would go by without me sleeping. I didn’t see a problem that maybe I was hallucinating at times. I didn’t see a problem that I just could not get up and walk sometimes.”
Now, ‘Jump-off Joe Beezy’ says he sees the problem for what it truly is. Thankfully, it hasn’t stopped this hard hitting lyricist from putting in serious work with Slaughterhouse and Shady Records.
Before I get too far into this, let me say that J Cole is an awesome artists and probably one of the best rappers out these days.
Now, J Cole is also a good example of how drug use, and in particular marijuana, fuels the commercial side of rap. A lot of rappers write songs about partying just to connect with that hip hop audience, but actually no longer indulge themselves. Eminem is a prime example, as some who has been clean for several years but still makes references to marijuana in his music.
J Cole used to rap a lot about marijuana to keep his fans feeling relatable, but was never really into doing it himself. Cole gradually stopped putting emphasis on marijuana in his music to better represent his life. In one interview J Cole said,
“I just had a phase toward the end of college. That was my phase, but it was never for me.”
So even though he might utilize his experience with weed to relate, he doesn’t need it to kill it musically.
- Kendrick Lamar
There are few streets as drug infested and gritty to grow up on as in Compton. Kendrick Lamar grew up this notorious area of California surrounded by drug users, including his own father. His dad warned him at a young age not to be like him, and he took it to heart.
Lamar does not drink or smoke. The rapper actually takes his role as a leader very seriously and uses his voice to show it. At one point Kendrick even came out against the hip hop trend of rapping about Molly, one street name for MDMA. In an interview with MTV he stated,
“Sometimes you have the trends that’s not that cool. You may have certain artists portraying these trends and don’t really have that lifestyle, and then it gives off the wrong thing.”
Kendrick shows that it is important for icons of the hip hop and rap community that regardless of whether you signed up to be a role model or not, people are watching.
Hip Hop artists and rappers as they are today should definitely be conscious of their own impact on the world. If you falsely represent a lifestyle you don’t fully understand, it insults the integrity of your message, and it can be dangerous to the thousands of people you influence.
Once upon a time rappers talked about surviving hardship and adversity; sometimes that meant depicting the struggles related to drugs and addiction. Too many artists today overvalue or lionize drugs and lifestyles that destroy people’s lives. So when few artists are truly willing to let the pen bleed and expose their souls again it should be recognized. When they share their experience with mental health and addiction the message can be profound and powerful. And time and time again they prove that just because they gave up getting high doesn’t mean they gave up on the music.
The culture of Hip-Hop may currently be over saturated with artist who promote drug abuse, many hip-hop artists today have amazing stories of recovery themselves. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.