Drugs and Hip-Hop have been synonymous since the beginning of the genre. Grandmaster Flash told our parents not to do cocaine on “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” and there were other songs created about uplifting the community as well. Slowly hip-hop evolved and became an outlet to show us that things weren’t all about partying and making songs for the ladies. This darker tone, hashed out by groups like N.W.A. and Public Enemy, lead to more gritty, street tales. Many of us have never had to sell drugs to make ends meet so to hear the stories put into a song for the first time was an experience. Artists are good at masking the true meaning of songs with their lyrical content. As a kid who grew up and had to discover hip-hop, I didn’t know what “blow” was as a high schooler. I was the person who had to ask my friends who liked hip-hop what many of the terms meant because I didn’t grow up in the era of Genius (it was as embarrassing as it sounds).
The mid-2000s saw an explosion of trap rap that began a revolution in Hip-Hop. It became normal to hear artists tell stories about selling drugs to make ends meet in their past life (some still did it while rapping). Exploring this scene became a world of its own. What Jeezy and Gucci did birthed an entire sound that is still being used a decade later. Before them artists like Biggie Smalls, JAY Z, Cam’ron, 50 Cent, T.I., Clipse, and more took us on passionate and detailed journeys of supplying fiends with their temporary fix.
Drugs can be a devastating vice for some people. What starts as a hit “to take the edge off” can slowly spiral into a life of dependency for many. I’ve personally seen what it can do to family members. It begins eating away at the person they were until you don’t recognize them physically, mentally, or both. Addiction is real, cravings become insatiable, and before you know it you’re doing whatever it takes for a brief moment of joy the high brings you. Before I continued this post, I wanted to point out that I don’t think someone being hooked to a substance is cool. It’s a nasty realization and many families have faced this issue so I know what it can really do to people.
Real life and entertainment are two separate things though. This is why I think Malice from Clipse (now No Malice) is the best to ever rap about selling drugs. Malice did it in a way that came off remorseful. I only have to point out his verse on “I’m Not You” as an example. While there are countless other songs in Clipse’s catalog that show him battling with these thoughts, “I’m Not U” is the epitome of a man who has come face to face with his sins. He addresses his mental state with the most honest rhymes you may ever hear in hip-hop. A line like, “it shames me to no end, how I could feed poison to those who could very well be my kin” shows his battle with these demons on a regular basis. Could you imagine feeding a substance to someone who you might not even know is family; or worse, someone who is an immediate family member?
Malice’s train of thought on this record shows the good and evil we face in life. “When there’s demand, someone will supply, so I feed them their needs and at the same time cry”. Malice knows that even though his path is wrong, there will always be someone out there to give fiends their fix. So while he sulks for the people he’s enabling with addiction, their mental disorder is also keeping him in business. It’s a harsh reality to see that your way of life can affect people negatively.
Yes it pains me to see them need this/all of them lost souls and I’m their Jesus
The fact that he admits his guilt yet is willing to profit off of their sins is a battle I never want to face. If you watched his End Of Malice documentary on Netflix, you know that he eventually repented for these sins, which means we’ll likely never get another Clipse album. At first, I was selfish and wanted to get one more Clipse album as a fan. As I’ve thought more about this, I see that it’s not fair to wish for an artist to keep going back and facing these demons. I’m happy that NoMalice has found peace and still makes music. While Jeezy, Gucci, and Jay Z will be my favorites to talk about pushing powder to fiends, Malice has the absolute best bars about his time dabbling in narcotics.
By Joe Coad