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Kendrick Lamar: “I Wanted a Darker Tone Woman in the Poetic Justice Video”Kendrick Lamar is hip-hop’s latest conscious lyricist. He spends as much time tackling colorism through his music videos as he does painting vivid images of his childhood in Compton, Calif. Now the good kid, m.A.A.d. city MC is embarking on a divergent path from his rapping brethren. Lamar is opting to condemn the emergence of Molly in hip-hop rather than embracing the craze.

Molly is “a powdered form of MDMA, the molecular compound found in Ecstasy, and it’s often laced with other highly addicted drugs” according to Fox News. Molly is considered a social drug, since it is often used at parties and other gatherings. It is also extremely dangerous.

Dr. Ken Bachrach, the clinical director of Tarzana Treatment Centers, said Molly is dangerous because it can be laced with potentially-fatal drug concoctions.

“It can be cut with everything from talcolm powder, heroin, it could be cut with anything,” he said.

In recent months, Molly has infiltrated hip-hop, appearing in the lyrics of several influential rappers including Kanye West and Rick Ross. It is being depicted as a harmless party drug without real-world consequences.

Lamar sees it differently. His latest video “B****, Don’t Kill My Vibe” highlights his perspective when “Death to Molly” flashes across the screen at the end of the clip. He thinks it’s time for hip-hop to divorce Molly in order to preserve the integrity of the culture.

“When everybody consciously now uses this term or this phrase and putting it in lyrics, it waters the culture down,” Lamar explained in an interview with MTV News. “So it’s really just time to move on.”

Lamar understands the influence of hip-hop and how it impacts communities of color. He recalls watching Jay-Z’s transition from jerseys to button-ups and emulating his hip-hop forefather’s fashion choice. Lamar – also known as K.Dot – sees a similar movement happening with Molly, but thinks the promotion of drug use is regressive.

“Sometimes you have the trends that’s not that cool,” Lamar explained. “You may have certain artists portraying these trends and don’t really have that lifestyle and then it gives off the wrong thing. And it becomes kinda corny after a while.”

Lamar was careful with his wording. He didn’t pinpoint the introduction of Molly in hip-hop on a singular figure, but the origins of the drug’s mention can be traced directly to Atlanta, Ga. rapper Trinidad James.

James’ successful debut single, “All Gold Everything,” included the viral phrase, “Popped a Molly, I’m sweating.” Since the rapper’s line, Molly has been rampant in the hip-hop culture. However, James takes no responsibility for the impact of the drug.

In a recent interview with XXL, the Def Jam-signed MC spoke about the dangers of recreational drug use.

“Honestly man, life is based on moderation. Anything that you do, you have to do it in moderation,” he said. “People overdo it and it turns into people OD’ing or dying, but it’s all about how extreme you go with it.”

He continued, “Some artists have made some of their most incredible music on drugs, so for me to say that drugs are messing up hip-hop, I’m not going to say that. It’s just that some people really believe so much of what we say, and people honestly don’t understand moderation.”

Referencing Molly has had detrimental consequences for artists. Rick Ross was terminated from his Reebox endorsement after promoting the usage of Molly to date rape an unsuspecting victim in fellow rapper Rocko’s song “U.O.E.N.O.”

However, endorsing drug usage has also been paid off for some MCs. In an opinion piece for the Huffington Post, A-Trak – a DJ and record label owner – spoke of the dilemma he faces as a non-drug user promoting drug usage.

He writes:

One can’t deny that the current climate of trippy and experimental mainstream rap has coincided with the breaking down of geographic and sexual prejudices in a notoriously territorial and homophobic culture.

That said, the closer I get drawn into it, the more I tend to wonder whether I am just enjoying this music from a safe arm’s length as I silently endorse it? Is there any hypocrisy in the fact that I, clearly not an advocate of drug use, made a track with Juicy J and Danny called “Piss Test”? We don’t appreciate rap songs based on the moral value of their lyrics, but rather on their artistic merit. Danny and Juicy are part of a long tradition of great, unhinged rap. Yet for all the talk about syrup and Molly, it seems like we’re only being exposed to a partial, romanticized account. Rap went from glorifying selling hard drugs to glamorizing their effects. And beneath the surface there may be a profound lack of understanding of these substances.

Lamar has no interest in Molly and hopes other rappers will follow his lead.

“It’s really about keeping hip-hop original and pushing away the corniness in it,” he concluded.

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  • IJusWannaSay…

    This comin’ from a rapper that has to yell, ‘DRANK!’ after every line in one of his songs.
    *sigh*

    Sorry, but there’s nothing ‘conscious’ about him or any other rapper out there nowadays…you may not be for the rappers that glorify poppin’ molleys, but you’re also very silent too.

    • sami

      You do realize that that song is actually commentary on alcoholism and the affect it had on his family, his community?

      I don’t like the “conscious” label ppl keep putting on him, but I do believe that if you pay attention to the lyrics of that particular song you realize that he’s actually commenting on binge drinking and the reason why people succumb to alcoholism.

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’
      ‘Visualize’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube

      Mental Grafik on soundloud

      True hip hop fans unite…It’s time for a movement!!!

    • london via congo

      the drank part of the song you are referring to is the voice of the bad influences i his head tempting him to use alcohol irresponsibly. “why you babysitting on these two or three drinks, i’m show you how to turn it up a notch.” Its a battle between him and the pressures to conform.

      if you have a problem with the conscious label then you should take it up with the writer. as the artist himself has never put that label on himself, on the contrary he always makes references to the fact that he is no saint and always battling between good and bad influences. His first album artwork featured a table with a gun and a bible, he never claims to be a preacher on good and bad, he is simply telling his story of the impact of a normal kid growing up in a mad city.

    • IJusWannaSay…

      I still don’t care for him…now what?…still mad?…get over it!!!

      Wet-behind-the-ears hip-hop apologists irk me and amuse me all at the same time.

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube

      Mental Grafik on soundloud

      True hip hop fans unite…It’s time for a movement!

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’
      ‘Visualize’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube

      Mental Grafik on soundloud

      True hip hop fans unite…It’s time for a movement!

  • Kara Zor-El
    • Welp

      Did you even proofread that before you posted it?
      @KendrickLaamar is a parody account made by some fool. Kendrick’s actual twitter handle is @KendrickLamar.

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube

      Mental Grafik on soundloud

      True hip hop fans unite…It’s time for a movement!

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube
      ‘Blue Theory’
      ‘Pressure’

      Mental Grafik on soundcloud

      Lovers of true hip hop——it’s time for a movement

  • This first point kind of deviates from the article a bit. It is funny how we hear so much about white people copying us but you never really hear anything about us copying them. The skinny jean craze a few years ago? That came from white people. All these new skateboarding rappers? That came from white people. Molly? That came from white people. I remember a few years ago all the white hipster kids were going to dubstep music concerts and doing Molly. Eventually some rapper whose identity we probably won’t get to the root of (it wasn’t Trinidad James) introduced Molly to the hip-hop community. I think that’s a sign of how much hip-hop and black youth culture in general have changed. We used to dictate the terms and agreements of hip-hop culture. We set the rules. And white kids loved it. Now, we’re doing what white kids do. We’re in the clubs on Molly talking about how we’re white boy wasted and partying like rock stars.

    My second point is this. Molly is popular everywhere now, largely due to its portrayal in youth music culture (including hip-hop, dub step, etc.) as a fun party drug. It is a fad that will fade away. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it will be replaced by something else, something more “upgraded,” just like Molly is upgraded ecstasy. My generation is highly skilled in the production and acquisition of synthetic laboratory drugs that serve to turn parties into wild orgies of hedonism.

    Finally, I applaud Kendrick for taking a stand against Molly. Yes, he’s not perfect, as a comment before mine implied. He uses language that some disagree with. But when a rapper takes a real stand in any issue, especially a rapper who is obviously intelligent and unique, I think those of us who realize what’s going on should applaud said rapper. Too many other rappers don’t care about this shit; they exploit it to make more money. They don’t care about their people, just about their people’s money. Kendrick genuinely cares.

    Just a few impressions I had reading this article.

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com

      ‘MOMENTS’

      THE HUE-MAN ETHNIC MOVEMENT

  • I don’t look to Lamar as a “conscious” rapper because it creates a pigeon hold. I think he’s a smart guy who knows what outside (and inside) influences to to share and which ones not to succumb too. The minute your start labeling these artists the sooner you’ll be disappointed. For instances, Talib Kweli. He himself has stated he never called himself a conscious rapper, people ASSUMED, so when they started seeing him on songs with Rick Ross and 2Chainz people couldn’t believe it. We have to stop putting limitations on music people.

    • Totally didn’t proofread….my bad. That’s what I get for being at work and taking a conf. call….but you get the premise….

    • pragmatic maxim

      Themovement.bandcamp[.]com
      ‘Deja Vu’
      ‘Moments’
      ‘Sound That You Hear’
      ‘Sweet Ironies’
      ‘Visualize’

      The Hue-man Ethnic Movement on YouTube
      ‘Blue Theory’
      ‘Pressure’

      Mental Grafik on soundcloud

      Lovers of true hip hop——it’s time for a movement