Hip-Hop and drug use is hardly a brand new trend, considering Dr. Dre‘s solo debut LP The Chronic, which celebrated weed use, is approaching its 20th year anniversary this coming winter. Yet it seems that beyond the green leaf, coke, PCP and even acid use has been mentioned more than casually over time by a variety of artists. In the last few years, however, ecstasy –and an offshoot street drug “molly” – has become all the rage. Is this experimentation dangerous for Hip-Hop?
From older acts such as Bone Thug-N-Harmony and Ja Rule all the way to newer favorites such as Danny Brown, 2 Chainz and Kanye West, ecstasy and molly has seemingly infused itself in Hip-Hop culture over the last decade. While ecstasy is the chemical compound MDMA sold in pill form, molly is often known as MDMA in its purest state. A new version of molly, however, is basically a synthetic made to mimic the effects of dropping an “e tab,” and some scientists contend the effects are similar according to a recent report from The Grio.
Using data compiled by EctasyData, which tests pills as part of harm reduction strategies, a lot of what’s being thought of as MDMA-derived molly was actually formulated using methylone – the active ingredient found in the “bath salts” drug that caused a media stir earlier this summer. In the major hubs of Washington, D.C., Miami, and Philadelphia, the pill has been passed off as ecstasy in its purest form, yet that appears not to be the case with some capsules simply containing nothing more than caffeine. What’s more shocking is that many urban convenience stores have carried the synthetics, along with mock marijuana and other drugs made to imitate the real thing.
Ecstasy’s prominence in the news came about in the late 90s when “rave parties” were largely popular. A common ritual at those gatherings was the use of MDMA, which is said to enhance the mood and increase euphoria in its users. Hip-Hop acts such as T.I., Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and others have either used the drug as part of a verse or, like Eminem, bragged boldly about using the pills as reported by a 2010 in-depth piece from the Los Angeles Times. Then there was the Bay Area’s “hyphy” movement spearheaded by veterans such as E-40 and up-and-coming artists such as Beeda Weeda and others who championed ecstasy use.
The aforementioned 2 Chainz and Kanye West have dropped rap lines about molly and a countless number of rappers above and underground have referred to “rolling” (being high) on ecstasy for years. With Snoop Dogg ghost writer and rapper Problem naming whole projects based on his use of molly and young ATL rapper Reese naming a song after the street drug, namedropping molly and other drugs in Hip-Hop isn’t going anywhere soon.