Music is often a useful way to learn about and understand what is happening in our society. Songs that resonate with a large audience are indicators of how people feel and can be a window into their personal lives, beliefs, and outlook. Our worldviews are shaped by the media that we interact with and, in the case of songs about drugs, how drugs are used and abused in society.
Top 5 Songs About Drugs
#1: “Some Kind of Drug” by G-Eazy
Gerald Earl Gillum, known professionally as G-Eazy, is an American rapper and producer originally from Oakland, California, although he grew up primarily in Berkley. Songs are influenced by the environments we grow up in and how we see the world. In G-Eazy’s song “Some Kind of Drug”, the rapper writes, “I’m on some kind of drug / I’ve been addicted and I cannot find enough”.
G-Eazy also tells us, “I got drink, I got the herb, I’m tweakin’, now I must be cured / The only way I rest assured is if / I get my fix.” In these lines, G-Eazy references several forms of substance abuse including alcohol, marijuana (aka. “herb”), and amphetamine abuse. The concept of “tweaking” is associated with negative side effects associated with amphetamine abuse including paranoia leading to erratic behavior.
Based on lyrics like this, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that G-Eazy is no stranger to the world of drug use and abuse. He appears to openly be telling his audience that he uses and abuses drugs and has faced issues with addiction. On the other hand, G-Eazy’s track informs us more than what can be taken from the face value of his lyrics. As is often the case with music lyrics, it’s important to read between the lines.
Maybe one of the most interesting aspects of G-Eazy’s “Some Kind of Drug” is that the fix he’s chasing may not actually be a particular substance at all. It’s entirely possible that G-Eazy is implying he has more issues with sex addiction than with drug addiction or else that, overall, he has a polysubstance abuse problem, meaning he has many addictions and no real preference for one over another. Polysubstance abuse is not uncommon and issues surrounding sexual deviance are not atypical for those who have problems with substance abuse.
Drug abuse is often correlated with legal issues. On May 2, 2018, G-Eazy was arrested in Stockholm, Sweden on suspicion of assault, possession of narcotics and use of narcotics. The story is that he punched a security guard and, when searched, was found to be in possession of cocaine. He pleaded guilty to charges including narcotics possession and assault in court. He was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay fines.
On September 13, 2021, G-Eazy was arrested in New York on charges that he assaulted two men. At the very least, it is apparent that G-Eazy has anger management issues and does not have terrific coping mechanisms in place. If he did, he would be unlikely to lash out violently. It’s entirely possible that G-Eazy was under the influence at the time of these incidents. Drugs and alcohol often result in people acting in ways that would otherwise not while they are inebriated.
#2: “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” is undeniably the most well-known song about cocaine abuse in contemporary times. Older generations are more likely to think of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” which is a little on the nose (pun intended).
“Can’t Feel My Face” is not particularly subtle. Canadian singer Abel Tesfaye, known professionally as the Weeknd, opens the track with the lyrics, “And I know she’ll be the death of me / At least we’ll both be numb / And she’ll always get the best of me / The worst is yet to come.” The singer acknowledges the highs and lows of amphetamine abuse in the same breath. The urge to use with the knowledge that your unhealthy choices are leading your life down a dark path.
#3: “Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” is considered iconic of the era. The track glorifies smoking marijuana, something that Snoop Dogg has openly advocated for as a lifestyle choice since the beginning of his music career. The chorus, “Rolling down the street smoking indo / Sippin’ on gin and juice” refers to smoking weed and drinking cocktails while driving which is, of course, not advisable for a number of obvious safety concerns. The track is a lighthearted party anthem but the subtext that drugs and alcohol are required in order to have a good time is a disappointing and potentially dangerous takeaway, especially for susceptible younger audiences who have not yet developed a good sense of risk aversion.
#4: “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind
Third Eye Blind’s extremely popular song “Semi-Charmed Life” once dominated the Billboard charts. Many who were young at the time did not comprehend the underlying messages of the track which addresses a number of distressing topics including an addiction to crystal meth.
The song’s narrative follows a relationship that breaks down as a result of meth abuse. The line “Doing crystal meth until you break / It won’t stop, I won’t come down” followed by repeated references to “bumped” and “then I bumped again” referring to the short half-life of amphetamines like meth and cocaine where people are known to go on binges and stay awake for days at a time resulting in deterioration of both physical and mental health. This is followed by an extremely unpleasant withdrawal process. Part of the reason why those who abuse amphetamines tend to go on binges, furthering the cycle of abuse, is to avoid feeling the negative withdrawal symptoms.
Lyrics in the song “Semi-Charmed Life” include the lines “When I’m with you I feel like I could die / and that would be alright, alright”. This feels alarmingly similar to the lyrics uttered by The Weeknd in “Can’t Feel My Face”. Some things change, the effects of drug abuse and addiction remain relatively consistent. The message from a song decades ago about how it feels when a person has developed a substance abuse disorder is likely to resonate with a person today who is experiencing similar feelings and emotions related to their own personal circumstances.
#5: “Jane Says” by Jane’s Addiction
“Jane Says” was released in 1987 but more than 30 years later the message remains the same. Addiction destroys lives. The lyrics, “I’m gonna kick tomorrow / Gonna kick tomorrow” is repeated to reflect and emphasize that those with heroin and related opiate addictions often find themselves repeating this very same phrase. Loved ones and friends often get frustrated with how often they hear someone say they’re going to “kick” or “get clean” as soon as they finish the rest of the drugs they have in their possession or once they reach a milestone such as completing a project that is a source of pressure and anxiety.
Disturbing visceral lines in the bridge of “Jane Says” includes the lyrics, “She takes a swing / She can’t hit” which has a double meaning that relates to violence associated with drug addiction as well as the concept that it becomes difficult to “hit” a vein. A person who has been “shooting” drugs intravenously for a long period of time is likely to have collapsed veins. It is not possible to inject into collapsed veins so a person who has shot drugs for a long time will inevitably have scars and bruises on many areas of their body where they have attempted to find new injection points.
At the end of the day, these are always excuses for continuing the cycle of abuse. Lies and excuses create a “boy who cried wolf” scenario where it becomes difficult to trust a person who has abused substances for a prolonged period of time. In recovery, part of the process of getting your life back on track involves mending relationships that were damaged as a result of lies told in order to continue a life fueled by drug abuse and addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, the professionals at Oasis Recovery can help. Call us today to speak with a treatment specialist about the many programs and services we offer. We are here for you.