Does the music industry promote drug use?

May 10, 2018


Does the music industry promote drug use?

Every time you hear of a parent blaming music or television for their child’s behavior, you can always sense the discontent in the child.

The truth is that we have all been exposed to various types of music and not all of us use drugs. The state of the music industry in Nigeria has definitely changed.

But that doesn’t mean that our society has no impact on our lives. We are affected by what we hear and see. Over time we begin to reflect and actualize them.

The main question is if music can inspire drug use?

Song Lyrics and drug use

Attitudes regarding drug abuse and music took an abrupt turn in the 1930s, when American jazz musicians became some of the first truly international recording artists. The art changed forever when listeners suddenly had the option to take the songs they loved home with them, and enjoy them at any time.

Today, music is more accessible than ever before. Coincidentally, so are illicit drugs.

There is no denying that some Nigerian music embraces drug use. From Wizkid to Olamide to Reminisce, popular artists seem to have an affinity for items like “weed”. This item is featured in some of their song lyrics and videos.

Rap music is notorious for its marijuana and drug dealing references. It’s relatively easy to find a song about any drug you can imagine, but there is a very clear favorite among musicians – cannabis.

Music Videos

It is enough to sing about these illicit drugs but to do music videos that have them represented is a serious issue. The level of mediocrity in music videos increases over time. Most music videos you see out there are either portraying drugs, sex or money. An analysis revealed that drugs were present in nearly half of 359 music videos —alcohol in 35%, tobacco in 10%, and illicit drugs in 13%.

The researchers argue that drug and alcohol-based content is not only present in popular music videos, but also that the content is dangerous because it portrays drug and alcohol use in a positive light.

What it means to society

Recently, there was a documentary by BBC about the use of codeine by young Nigerians. Yes, we should cut the supply of these illicit drugs but what of the demand. If drugs are in short supply those who need them will still find their way around it. There was a time when a whole family could watch a Nigerian music video but this cant happen again.

The damage the music industry produces is damaging every fabric of sanity and values we used to have. Young people definitely see their superstars using these items and would definitely use it as well.

I have had to talk to young people who want to venture into music. They say they get inspiration from smoking weed. Why not life experiences which are relatable? Who says that you can only do good stuff if you are high on something strong. We might need to look at what music industry is producing and the damage it has on the society at large.

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Founder & Publisher of Youthcentral.ng. I tell stories about young Nigerians across the globe, entrepreneurship and youth culture.