In the wake of artist Lil Peep’s death from a suspected drug overdose, social media timelines have become another venue for a referendum on drug use in hip-hop. Drug use in hip-hop was already a contentious topic, with Russ’ recent hard line anti-drug rhetoric and Wiz’ more evenhanded dismissal of lean, but the premature death of Lil Peep at 21 is a touchstone event eliciting a reaction from nearly everyone – for the time being.
There were many artists and hip-hop personalities who showed love for Peep yesterday, but Lil Uzi Vert’s tweets were the most revelatory, as he said he “understood” Lil Peep’s struggles and called perceived soapboxers to task for temporary grandstanding against drug use – then lumped himself in with the lot of people having trouble with addiction.
It looks like Uzi actually took his qualms with drugs to the next level, tweeting last night about how he’s been sober all day. It’s been said that withdrawal from a hard regimen of most drugs is extremely difficult and even worse in some cases. Uzi seemed to be dealing with those effects, as he noted being irritable and having no creative drive.
It was brave of Uzi to offer that small insight. Many would think his life was perfect as a burgeoning star with tremendous accomplishments and adoring fans who look to him as an innovator, but the pressure of expectations is one of many things that can beget the most problematic vices. It only takes one listen to his “XO Tour Llife” hit to glean that he’s privy to his own dark moments. Uzi is from Philadelphia, a city that the recently incarcerated Meek Mill and one that is rife with pill and lean abuse. Unfortunately, not enough people are getting the treatment they need, as evidenced by Meek’s own addiction being held against him as a probation violation.
Hopefully Uzi does what’s best for him, and his admission will serve as a conversation-shifting example that artists aren’t clandestine agents paid to “glorify” drug abuse to impressionable youth — many have their own issues with them.