Illegal drug use and drug addiction has become rampant among musicians in recent years. This situation has been linked to increasing need among musicians for wealth, social standing, and glamour among other reasons…
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Drug addiction among musicians of specific genres of music seems to be higher compared to some other genres of music. A recent study by the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health found out that illegal drug use in rap music has increased by six times since 1979. It is the fear of many parents and public health officials that the trajectory in rap music poses serious threat to the society particularly among the youth. Pop and rap music is very appealing to majority of young individuals, most of whom are looking up to rap, jazz and pop artists as their role models (Yang para3). This paper delves into drug addiction and musicians, particularly addressing the reasons as to why drug addiction is so omnipresent in musical circles. Drugs have often been associated with music scenes, and celebrated musicians such as Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Richards, have been addicted to drugs at one time or another. The close relationship between drug addiction and musicians is well reflected in a short fiction by James Baldwin “Sonny’s Blue”. In this story, an African American schoolteacher disagrees with his younger brother “Sonny” about his ambition of becoming a musician. Soon after Sonny is arrested for heroin use and sent to rehab. After a short while, he watches Sonny performing at a Jazz club and he feels deeply connected and enlightened with Sonny’s blues (Baldwin 21). However, what is apparent from the story is that Sonny is suffering from drug addiction and he is a musician. He displays characteristics of a drug addict such as being introspective and quiet person with tendency of withdrawing inside himself. He is also wild and behaves in a manner that is not expected of him. Nonetheless, he has passion for jazz music and he goes ahead to become a successful musician (Baldwin 42). Sonny is in a community of many other musicians who are addicted to drugs. Considering the positive and negative effects of drug addiction on musicians, it is critical to examine the various aspects related to these two issues. There is no doubt that drug addiction is very common in musical circles. In fact, there are numerous evidences of famous musicians who have battled alcoholism and drug addiction for better part of their music career and some have even succumbed to drug addiction. Famous politicians such as Bob Marley, Britney Spears, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and Michael Jackson among others battled with drug addiction. So, why are drugs so omnipresent in musical circles? Many musicians use drugs largely because drugs including alcohol are extremely prevalent in the music industry (The Music of Orrin Hatch para3). Every music events, big and small, have people using harder drugs; music industry is considered a “party industry” and it is somewhat expected apart from entertainment, there should be upbeat emotions during performance. In many cases, drugs are used in the musical circles to enhance entertainment, as well as in enhancing emotions. It is for this reason that drug use has become part of music culture where famous music stars and even fans have made it a mainstay. It now appears awkward to many musicians mainly in pop, rap, and jazz music industry not to use drugs
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