Ten Drug-Addicted Rappers
Gucci Mane has been going berserk lately. He spewed a bunch of hate speech about Brick Squad and how he banged Nicki Minaj via Twitter, and then his own friend called the cops and had him arrested for erratic behavior (getting an ice-cream cone tatted on his face wasn't a first clue?) -- but it seems all that is in the past now.
Yesterday, Gucci got back on Twitter, talkin' about how he woke up in a hospital ashamed and embarrassed about his behavior, apologizing for the shenanigans, and admitting to a terrible ten-year lean addiction. In case you're too privileged and white to understand, lean is codeine cough syrup mixed with soda for an ultimate #traplyfe experience.
As Gucci said, "that shit ain't no joke." He claims to barely remember all the things he's done, and he's going into rehab while under incarceration. But he's not the first rapper to fall victim to addiction, and thankfully, he's still alive. Some of these other hip-hoppers aren't so lucky.
Weezy sure knows a thing or two about that lean. The New Orleans rapper has been sippin' and spittin' about purple drank for years. He first came out about his addiction in 2008, but rumors of the toll it takes on his life continue into 2013. When he landed in a coma after suffering from severe seizures a few months ago, everyone pointed at a sizzurp OD as the cause, though Wayne claims to have suffered from epileptic seizures his whole life.
Marshall Mathers' drug addiction wasn't really a surprise, considering the regularity with which he rapped about Vicodin and all manner of legal and illegal substances. His music suffered, and he almost died. That was the wake-up call. He lets the story loose in this incredible interview from the documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs, and it hits home as a dark reminder of how serious these funny rhymes about drugs can actually be. Em has since beat his addiction and pumped his skills back up. We're glad one of the greatest is still with us.
See also: Rap's Top Ten Struggle Songs
Eminem actually helped another famous rapper, T.I., beat his own addiction. The King of the South got hooked on oxycontin and hydrocodone after a series of major dental surgeries. He abused the pills, combining them with alcohol to kill his emotional and physical pains, and before T.I. knew it, he was out of control. He was caught with drugs by police and admitted his addiction problems in an interview with Vibe. Eminem helped him learn to accept his addiction, the first step to recovery. Thankfully, T.I. seems to be doing much better these days.
The Ruff Ryder lifestyle is not for the weak. Big dog DMX is tough as barbed wire and slicker than an oil spill, but even he's had a hard time fighting addiction. He's battled with cocaine and crack addiction, among other things, and it's sent him to jail almost 30 times. He tells in the above video about how his children were his inspiration to finally get clean. But even when you're not using, it's a constant battle to stay sober.
See also: Miami's Top Ten Hip-Hop DJs of All Time
This South Florida boy's had to struggle with more than just some "Ice Ice Baby." Bro was feeling way down after his shameful exit from the spotlight, and in the mid-'90s, he turned to ecstasy, coke, and heroin. Ice actually tried to kill himself with a heroin overdose in '94, but his friends found him and saved his life. He kicked the habit, and now he's a successful home flipper, right here in SoFla. He even has his own TV show on the DIY Network. That's a happy ending, for sure.
You know who else beat addiction and got his own television show? FLAVOR FLAV! Yeah, that's right. Not that he's totally out of the red zone (he recently had to close down a bunch of fast-food chicken restaurants), but at least he's no longer battling an addiction to crack. In the early '90s, Flav caught some flak from his fellow Public Enemy members for showing up late to shows, but they didn't even know the real problem. He eventually checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic, and, y'know, found love in one form or another on VH1. Now, he's back on the road with his pals and bringing the hype to the stage without any serious drug problems.
See also: Hip-Hop: Five Most Annoying Buzzwords
Ol' Dirty Bastard was one of the greatest voices in hip-hop. But unfortunately, he was high most moments of his life. And in the end, his substance abuse was his undoing. The beloved but troubled rapper died of a fatal mixture of cocaine and the prescription drug Tramadol in 2004. It's rumored that his drug abuse was some kind of self-medication for mental instability, but whatever the case, his powers on the mic are dearly missed. No hologram can fill the void he left (though they definitely put one onstage at Rock the Bells).
He was a Southern hip-hop icon, and he lived the life he rapped about. A founding member of UGK, Pimp C helped pave the way for the Dirty South revolution and gave the game some of its trillest tracks, but his reign was cut short when addiction got the best of him. Pimp was found dead in his hotel room in 2007, and autopsy reports showed a mix of promethazine and codeine (two of the main ingredients in cough syrup), which proved deadly when combined with the rapper's preexisting sleep apnea condition.
See also: Five Reasons Today's Rappers Are Fakes
You guessed it, one more sad rap overdose story. Chris Kelly, better-known as Mac Daddy of '90s kid-hop crew Kris Kross, had a hard time after puberty. He turned to drugs to kill the pain of forever being remembered as a child star, so we must assume, and even though the crew was getting back on the road, it wasn't enough excitement to save him. The 34-year-old was found dead of a cocaine and heroin overdose in his Atlanta home earlier this year.
But let's end our list on a happier note: Lil Boosie is still alive, and he's actually supposed to get out of jail in four or five months. The Southern hip-hopper with the distinctively cartoonish voice has been behind bars since the end of 2011 for drug-trafficking charges, but he told TMZ that part of the problem was his own drug addiction. Of course, he's promised to get clean while behind bars, and surely the scene will have his back when he finally gets out. Every five minutes, you hear a "Free Boosie" call on the radio. We just hope he doesn't get mixed up in the wrong cup again -- though, clearly, he wouldn't be the first.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.