On Sunday, Los Angeles producer DJ Mustard took a stand against codeine (also known as lean or purple drank—a prescription cough syrup that has been popular in the hip hop community for decades.) Mustard, the producer behind hits for R&B singers Jeremih (“Don’t Tell Em”), Tinashe (“2 On”) and Ty Dolla $ign (“Paranoid”), posted a video on Instagram of himself pouring out a bottle of codeine, saying “It’s over. Fuck this shit. Cool. Fuck that, it’s over.” That’s below:
DJ Mustard’s decision arrived on the same weekend 27-year-old Chicago rapper Fredo Santana was found dead in his Los Angeles home. (DJ Mustard tweeted in memory of Santana on Saturday.) Last year Santana posted a picture on Instagram describing hospitalization for liver and kidney failure. That same month he tweeted about how prescription drugs were damaging his body and causing seizures.
By tossing the codeine, DJ Mustard is adding to what might very well be a new conversation in the rap music community about stepping back from its decades-long glorification of prescription drug use. Earlier this month, young rappers Lil Pump and Smokepurpp expressed a desire to stop using Xanax. Just this weekend, up-and-comer Lil Xan asked his fans on Instagram to post videos of themselves flushing Xanax bars down the toilet:
The increased awareness surrounding drug abuse is heartening to see. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, who memorialized Fredo Santana on Instagram this weekend, too, captioned his post with an important message—that this conversation can’t simply be centered around individuals. He wrote:
“Fredo was the spirit of the drill movement, & the chicago streets he embodied. Near the end of his life he made some statements that I think we all can REALLY LISTEN to and learn from. He spoke about his drug use and trying to escape the PTSD he had from growing up in the hood, surrounded by violence. I call it post traumatic streets disorder. we need to evaluate the conditions in our communities that raise young black men with more psychological issues than they can ever really unpack. we have to diagnose the system, not the symptoms. rest up to a real rockstar. 27"