Young rapper Juice WRLD’s death is the latest in a disturbing trend of rappers dying prematurely.
The rap industry is notorious for indulgence and lavish lifestyles: gratuitous sex, expensive cars, and close proximity to an unlimited access of drugs.
Rappers exalt the effects of molly, opiates, and benzodiazepines, and scattered amongst these tracks are references to their bitter struggles with dependency and depression. It appears we have hit a critical point in which not only is addiction normalized, it is packaged and marketed.
We are watching our youngest stars rise only to burn out.
There has been much speculation on the self-prophetic nature of some of these late artist’s lyrics. Juice WRLD, on the song “Legends”- itself a touching tribute to two other late artists XXXTentaction and Lil Peep, raps “we ain’t making it past 21.” Hearing this line in the wake of his death is undoubtedly eerie, but we must confront the truth.
I believe it’s time for us artists to critically examine our roles and our responsibilities. I find myself wondering, where do we draw the line between expression and glorification?
How do we teach our youth how to process grief and trauma, and how do we dissolve the stigma of speaking openly about mental health?
Do these industry “templates” breed a generational disease? …