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Future’s 2017 single, “Mask Off” had hip hop fans ardently chanting the song’s substance centered chorus, “Percocets, Molly, Percocets” shortly after its May release. The track eventually worked its way into the festival sets of electronic artists like Marshmello, with its integration in the electronic sphere contributing to its further popularization.
“Mask Off” is but one of many hip hop songs to mention MDMA, and as a recent study has newly determined, hip-hop’s lyrical glorification of the party drug has led to an increase in the number of new users that try the stimulant for the first time.
Published in the Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, the study surveyed African American young adults who have used molly in the past. The study went on to determine that 82% of the study participants credited hip-hop music as a key influence in their decision to take molly.
Study participants noted that the proliferation of hip-hop lyrics that portray MDMA as a chic, fun drug contributed to their comfort in trying it. “I’m just trying to party like a rock star, not get strung out,” one of the study participants noted, “Whenever they [rappers] mentioned it [molly], they are either partying, drinking [alcohol], smoking [weed], or having sex. All the things I love to do the most. I never heard about anyone getting addicted or dying. That made me feel better about trying it.”
And yet despite MDMA’s convivial representation in hip hop lyrics, Khary Rigg, a PhD and professor of mental health law and policy at the University of South Florida reminds listeners that while Molly is “not as dangerous as opioids,” the substance continues to be “linked to psychiatric problems, sexual risk taking and adverse health outcomes like seizures, irregular heartbeat, hyperthermia and even death.”
The study’s focus on the molly use of African American participants offers researchers insight on how hip hop music can influence patterns of MDMA use among the African American population — studies concerning MDMA use have previously focused on white, European, and electronic music listeners involved in dance culture.
“The behaviors of millennial African Americans are probably the most likely to be influenced by hip-hop music as the artists themselves are typically from that demographic,” adds Dr. Rigg. “This suggests that rappers may be effective sources for prevention, health promotion, and harm reduction messages aimed at African Americans.”
Whether top grossing rappers fond of name dropping “Molly” in their songs will refrain from the drug’s mention will remain to be seen, and is perhaps doubtful, the study nonetheless spotlights the power of lyrical suggestion.
H/T: Medical Press