Hip Hop is known for quite a few things. It’s known as a form of music created by black people. It’s known for catchy lyrics spoken over a rhythmic beat. It has also somehow become known for inciting most drug usage.
In fact, some people have gone onto say that Hip-hop is the root of . Yet, hip-hop does not reference drugs as much as other genres. In a recent study, researchers analyzed the mentioning of drugs across music genres. They found that hip-hop actually mentions narcotics the least out of them. The genre that actually mentions drugs the most is country music. So, why is it that hip-hop is demonized for its allusion to drugs while no one saying anything about country music doing the same thing on a much larger scale?
The long answer is the criminalization of black people when it comes to drugs. This started in the early 20th century, with the discovery of cocaine. Back then, people were just starting to use the substance, taking advantage of its pain relief effect. They had yet to discover the damaging effects that it had. Once cocaine addiction surfaced throughout various communities, it became an immoral product in society. Black people were blamed for the rise of cocaine in America, even though there wasn’t any proof black people were responsible. That did not stop the New York Times from writing an article called “Negro Cocaine Fiend”, which depicted cocaine causing black men to attack white women.
From there, the demeaning of black people for drugs continued. In 1971, Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs. Nixon said that these laws were to protect the American public. However, that is not the case. Thehref=”https://www.aclu.org/other/drug-war-new-jim-crow”> War on Drugs<span was actually meant to target African Americans and the Civil Rights movement for its marijuana usage. Nixon used the myth of the “Negro Cocaine Fiend” to attack black people and black rights.
It has been almost five decades since, yet black people are still demonized for drugs on a social and legal level. Police and court systems still seek the maximum punishment for black non-violent offenders for drugs. Black people are still stereotyped as aggressive drug dealers. The myth of the “Negro Cocaine Fiend” is still alive and well. Despite so much “progress”, America still has a multilayered system of attacking black people, under the idea of drug prevention. So, when black rappers talk about drugs with a black art-form, they are criticized for it. Yet, Eric Church can have a song called “I’m Gettin Stone” and there is little to no critique of him.
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The only reason that country music gets away with all its mentions of drugs is that it’s seen as a white art. Hip Hop has done this far less, yet is being blamed for drug problems in America. This double standard is rooted in bigotry and systematic racism that has been around for over a century. If you are going to attack Snoop Dogg for talking about weed, you need to have the same energy for every country music star who talks about cocaine and pills.
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