If you had to guess which music genre contained the most references to drugs in the lyrics, you might start with the home of “Because I Got High,” hip hop. According to a new study published on Addiction.com, rap’s actually in last for genre with the most references to marijuana in music.
The leader? Country music. And the most-used drug in music overall? You guessed it: Marijuana.
The lack of drug references in hip-hop and rap music could be a relatively new phenomenon; at least for the youngest listeners. Logan Freedman, a data scientist at Addiction.com, tells Newsweek the genre could be undergoing a fundamental transformation, though more research would be needed to determine why rappers aren’t talking about drugs as much as they used to decades ago.
“I think there was a huge drug culture in the 90s that was blossoming into rap music that simply isn’t as big as it once was,” Freedman says. “It’s really amazing, I think because marijuana has become more normalized in our culture, a lot of country artists are signing[sic] about it more often than ever.”
The top three drugs most often referenced were marijuana (by a long shot) followed by cocaine and acid. “It’s incredibly telling if you look at music history, the 60s is when drugs started being mentioned more and more in the media,” Freedman told Newsweek.
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“But there’s clearly some surprising new information here. We did this study to raise awareness about how drug references in music may interact with addiction, and to alert people in case they want to avoid hearing about drugs in their everyday music.”