With marijuana steadily becoming more mainstream, rapping about the glories of getting high just doesn’t have the counter-cultural edginess it once did. So no wonder the current generation of rap and hip-hop artists are hyping a new drug culture in their lyrics and image. For the younger generation, it’s more about popping pills than rolling blunts. But in the wake of the overdose death of rapper Lil Peep, one artist is speaking out against the new drug wave.
Smokepurpp and Russ Rap Beef Puts Drug Culture On Blast
Time was, rap beefs used to play out between high profile artists at the top of the game. But in the era of Soundcloud, lesser-known rappers don’t just have a platform for easily sharing their music. Now, all it takes to start a rap beef is an internet connection.
The “Soundcloud rap” movement has been responsible for launching a number of artists into mainstream success, from Playboi Carti to Lil Yachty.
But last week, one of the genre’s hitmakers, Smokepurpp, clapped back at a Twitter rant fired off by the prolific Soundcloud rapper Russ.
Russ, who’s riding the momentum of his wildly successful independent career, let loose a flurry of tweets condemning other rappers who try to make pills a part of their image.
Russ’s tweets came on the heels of reports that rapper Lil Peep died due to a Xanax overdose. Some media outlets have described Xanax as the most fashionable drug in the 2017 hip-hop scene. Lil Peep’s toxicology results are still pending.
Rap and hip-hop have always spoken to the antagonisms in society. And we do live in a country with rampant prescription drug problems.
Addressing those problems through artistic expression is totally legitimate, Russ says, and something he gets behind. It’s when addiction and abuse become separated from their consequences and glorified as part of an image that Russ draws a line.
Abusing xanax and other pills drugs etc in private cuz your depressed/other mental issues is one thing(still not good)..constantly recording yourself doing drugs and putting up pics and videos of doing it is when you start CHOOSING to publicly glorify it and make it an image.
— Russ (@russdiemon) November 18, 2017
Soundcloud Rapper Wants More Responsibility, But Others Say STFU
Russ went on to acknowledge how the line between representing reality and cultivating an image is a blurry, troubled one. And he’s seen how savvy artists have figured out how to make it work for them.
Mental health issues and addiction are real things, Russ says, but the fact that it “works as an image is a real thing too.”
I’m not saying depression/anxiety/addiction aren’t real things. They are..just like posting videos and pictures of you doing drugs because a PART of you knows it works as an image is a real thing too. You can be both lol depressed AND posting drug abuse constantly as an image.
— Russ (@russdiemon) November 18, 2017
That’s why Russ encouraged other internet rappers to “be responsible with [their] platform.” For the fans, Russ said “y’all need to wake up and question more shit.”
But Russ’s critical approach to consciousness-raising in the wake of Lil Peep’s death hasn’t been embraced by other artists in the scene.
Smokepurpp, one of several artists who are open about their drug use in online videos, had a simple reply for Russ: “shut the fuck up u a bitch.”
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