The Mail is excited this morning to discover the Denise Herd's study from Addiction Research & Theory that suggests that the number of references to drugs has increased:
By the late 1980s, that number had increased to 19 per cent.
After 1993, 69 per cent of rap songs mentioned drug use. Mentions of cannabis and "blunts" - marijuana-stuffed cigars - doubled between 1979 and 1997.
Yes, the study only runs up until 1997, so effectively the Mail is running a story about how bad rap was eleven years ago.
Not that that stops the Mail from illustrating "bad" drugs raps with a chunk of lyrics from an Eminem track from 1999. Mind you, they also illustrate "good" (i.e. anti-) drug songs with a chunk of White Lines (Don't Do It), whose credentials as a crusading track are somewhat undermined by it having been written as a love song to coke with the meaning flipped to ensure radio play.
The use of "percentage of rap songs mentioning drugs" is also a bit of a weak measure - couldn't the story here be less about how now more songs talk about drugs, and more about a general shift of rap from being a form of political and social commentary to being a hymnal for the joys of capitalist consumption?
The report itself seems to suggest so:
Is the increasing linking of drugs and money a sign of a more drug-positive culture in rap - or merely that, by the mid-90s, rappers had moved from the underclass to Business Class?