Like weed in the ‘90s, codeine in the ‘00s and molly in the early ‘10s, Xanax has been the drug of choice in hip-hop for a minute.
A highly addictive benzodiazepine, Xanax is used to treat anxiety, depression and insomnia, and has potentially fatal side effects when mixed with alcohol and other drugs. Lil Wayne and Eminem were early users, but the drug is now regularly referenced by the likes of Future, Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert. Even Kanye popped a couple Xans on The Life of Pablo.
Beyond the casual glorification, however, we’ve also witnessed the very real and harmful effects Xanax can have. Chance The Rapper and Isaiah Rashad have both shed light on the debilitating reality of Xanax addiction, while the prescription pill was a part of the lethal cocktail that claimed A$AP Yams’ life two years ago.
During a recent appearance on the No Jumper podcast, Chicago rapper Lucki (formerly known as Lucki Eck$), whose music is probably the closest thing to a Xanax high, spoke candidly about his own dance with the drug that lasted two years, and eventually left him in the hospital.
“I quit Xans, because Xans fuck with your emotions and shit. They had me psyched out, had me in the hospital. I used to really do at least eight bars a day. My tolerance was so high, if I was off like six bars, three bars, I’d be like, ‘I’m not even high.’ I used to be so fucking Xanned out, when I see somebody next to me like slumped, fucked up, I was jealous of that guy.”
For those unfamiliar, a full Xanax bar contains 2mg, which means Lucki would have been taking around 16mg a day. In comparison, people with anxiety are prescribed between 0.25mg and 0.5mg three times daily, according to Drugs.com. So yeah, eight bars a day is a lot of fucking Xanax. Unsurprisingly, Lucki’s dangerous habit took a toll on his health.
"I was sleeping light but dreaming hard as hell. I was dreaming and believing my dreams. The first time I wake up, I be reacting off that dream. I was doing that shit so much, bro. Around this time last year, it was the lowest point in my life—not like I was struggling or nothing, I was just getting so fucked up. I was psyched out for like four days straight and I had to go to the hospital for like a week."
Xanax wasn’t just affecting Lucki’s health, but his music career, too. The 20-year-old rapper revealed how he “stopped fucking” with XL Recordings, the respected London-based label who put him in the studio with FKA twigs, and his first manager Scott Vener, HBO music supervisor and co-host of Beats 1’s OTHERtone Radio alongside Pharrell. “I was just being dumb,” Lucki admitted.
It’s unclear why Lucki developed such a dangerous Xanax habit (Depression? Peer pressure? To cope with the sudden loss of close friends and family?), but thankfully he was able to quit while seemingly avoiding some of the hellish withdrawal symptoms that many addicts suffer. “I didn’t have to go to rehab,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m super strong, but if I want to stop something, I can stop it.”
Lucki may have quit popping bars, but that doesn't mean he's stopped rapping about them; “I put Xan in my molly ‘cause I’m fearless,” he bragged on the recently released “Self Destruct.” Despite the poisonous—and potentially fatal—influence such lyrics can have on more impressionable listeners, Lucki points to the positive impact they can have.
“I don’t do Xans, but I still rap about Xans because [it’s about] showing your vulnerability with people. When people come up to me, these kids damn near tearing up, that’s what this is for, because you relate to it.
“Bro, I’ll show you my DMs right now. I be feeling bad because I can’t reply to all of them, but I swear to God, everyday it’s somebody DMing me like, ‘your music changed my life.’ Either someone telling me they about to kill themselves and my music helping them get through that time period.
“But one moment that really kinda got me, this kid—I meet my fans, some of them really be inspired by me—this one kid, he died off the bars. Shit had me tweaked out.”
Lucki isn't completely drug-free ("I still drink," he admitted. "I just be liking the way that shit feel"), but allow his harrowing account of Xanax addiction to serve as a cautionary tale for those dabbling with the drug. Rappers included.
By Andy James. You can follow him on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Jesse Lirola