The so-called “glorification” of drug use in hip-hop has been a major talking point for years, a cause most recently taken up by outspoken rapper Russ. Since wearing an inflammatory anti-drug T-shirt in September, he’s seen himself become hip-hop’s de-facto anti-drug spokesperson. His sentiment is right, but his delivery isn’t always graceful – and could be considered rather grating at times. After the recent death of artist Lil Peep from a suspected drug overdose, Russ has more to say – but apparently, it’s not because of Lil Peep’s death. Whatever the reason, not everyone wants to hear it.
One major critique of Russ’ anti-drug message is that he’s insensitive to the plight of those addicted to drugs, which makes his name calling and simplistic solutions more ripe for ridicule than reverence. For instance, his t-shirt became meme fodder instead of the evocative conversation starter he may have desired. Recently, he delivered more tweets about rappers that “glorify” drug use and the perilous consequences:
Those tweets (of which there are many more) have garnered mixed responses. Though many, including Peep’s own brother, agree with him that hip-hop artists are irresponsibly promoting drug use, there are others on Twitter making jokes like, “if you do one drug Russ teleports to your house and takes your Xbox for a week.” It seems like a notable amount of hip-hop fans feel that Russ’ anti-drug campaign is “self righteous and holier than thou,” as one fan tweeted.
Despite the criticism, Russ doesn’t seem to be backing off or watering down his tone – which may continue to hinder him from reaching the people who most need to consider his sentiment. For now, though, he says he’s “off” the discussion, leaving those he criticizes to be “destructive and delusional.”