A Rap Of Coke

The number of drug references in rap music has risen six-fold since the genre revolutionised pop music, according to a report published by medical journal Addiction Research & Theory.

Researchers led by Dr. Denise Herd of the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed the lyrics of hundreds of rap songs and concluded the genre has gone from warning about drugs to glorifying them.

Herd looked for blatant and hidden references to drugs in 341 of the most popular rap songs released between 1979, when the genre was in its infancy, and 1997.

The number of drug references increased 600 percent over that time, while the number glorifying drugs also increased. The study also found that drugs were increasingly used to signify glamour, wealth and sociability.

"This indicates a shift from cautionary songs, such as those that emphasised the dangers of cocaine and crack, to songs that glorify the use of marijuana and other drugs as part of a desirable hip-hop lifestyle," Herd explained.

"This is alarming because young children are exposed to these messages. I don’t think this is a story we as a society want them to absorb."