For as long as hip-hop has been around, drugs have always been a topic of conversation among rap artists. But over the years that conversation has shifted from selling drugs to taking them. Instead of hearing tales of rappers pushing weight, we are far more likely to hear about sippin' on syrup.
Sadly, despite continued loss of life, many high-profile artists are either endorsing the consumption of lean through social media posts—see 21 Savage—or publicly denying their addiction.
Not one to bite her tongue, SZA took to Twitter on Thursday (March 9), urging any of her followers who abuse codeine syrup to kick the habit.
Twitter being Twitter, her PSA was met with equal parts agreement and denial, with some "fans" calling her a snitch (what?) and suggesting that lean consumption could be fine if abused only in moderation (um, no).
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It's not surprising to see people act a fool on social media—What do you mean Kendrick is making an album about God?!?—but it is rather startling that more A-list rappers, especially those directly connected to artists who have lost their lives, aren't leading the charge in condemning the use of lean.
No, rappers are not required to be role models, and I'd never suggest that hip-hop becomes a drug-free culture and genre, but lean isn't only killing rappers—it's also killing rap fans.
It might be difficult to kick a dirty drug habit, but it isn't hard to take into consideration how lifestyle choices can affect a mostly young, impressionable fan base. Young Thug seems to have recently figured this out, scrubbing his Instagram clean and admitting he needs to be more mindful of his lyrical content.
We have a long way to go before lean education overtakes lean glorification, but progress requires change agents. Who's willing to follow SZA?
By Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram