I’ll say it again for those in the back: Rap needs a voice to speak up about the issue of drug abuse within hip-hop culture. The recent passing of Lil Peep sparked comments from Vic Mensa that touched on the subject, but there need to be more voices contributing to the dialogue.
Enter Joyner Lucas, a 29-year-old Massachusetts rapper, who refuses to stand on the sidelines. Earlier this week, he released a remix of Lil Pump’s “Gucci Gang,” where he rapped:
All you new rappers don’t be talking ‘bout shit except doing drugs
Wonder how you got a name
Sippin’ lean, takin’ E, Percocets, Purple drank
Xanax, everything sound the same
Bunch of drug addicts in the house of pain
Hope you niggas suffer til you pop a vein
This isn’t the first time Lucas has spoken out against recreational drug use, as his remix of Future’s hit “Mask Off” earlier this year struck a similar note (“Yeah, I don’t do Xannies or Mollys / Don’t come near me with problems.”) It’s a pointed perspective that certainly should be voiced, but the callousness of his lyrics—literally joking about those rappers dying—when Lil Peep passed less than a month ago makes the whole remix woefully distasteful.
Joyner also made a few headlines for his song “I’m Not Racist,” which takes on the topic of race in a post-Trump America. It’s godawful and self-serving, but Apple Music’s Carl Chery put on one of the service’s biggest playlists and it got over a ten million YouTube plays in a week. Lucas may be making a name for himself, but hopefully his desired lyrical depth will match that attention. He’s just not there yet.