After Atlanta emcee T.I.’s recent arrest for possession of controlled substances, the Los Angeles Times decided to chronicle Hip Hop music’s history with Ecstasy. The newspaper discovered that over the past decade, the designer-made hallucinogen that was once resigned to the rave and hyphy scenes has made a significant impact on Hip Hop music, finding fans in everyone from Lil Wayne to Tech N9ne.
“In the last three years, it’s been shouted out in songs more than ever and, increasingly – if lyrics are any indication – washed down in the VIP room by some of rap’s best and brightest,” wrote author Chris Lee. “Just don’t go looking for them to shout out Ecstasy by name. Codified references to ‘X pills’ and ‘double stacks’ (as extra large tablets are known), being ‘geeked out’ or ‘feelin’ myself’ allow them to hide the drug’s usage in plain sight.” (LATimes.com)
Citing lyrics from songs like Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and Nicki Minaj’s “Higher Than a Kite,” Lee hypothesizes that the increased presence of the drug in rap music has come out of a broadened relationship between rap and techno or electronica music. Yet this renewed interest in Ecstasy has already taken its toll with the accidental overdose of a Los Angeles teenager.
“[T.I.’s] bust arrives at a moment of renewed public scrutiny of Ecstasy, just three months after teenager Sasha Rodriguez’s overdose death from the drug at downtown Los Angeles’ Electric Daisy Carnival helped reestablish E’s reputation as a potential killer,” wrote Lee. “The recently released annual report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals that Ecstasy consumption has jumped 37% in America over the last year. Meanwhile, rave culture has made significant moves toward the mainstream, with bleary, Euro synth beats becoming the dominant sound of both hip-hop and Top 40 pop. Coincidence?” (LATimes.com)
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