The Relationship Between Hip Hop and Cocaine

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 There will probably always be references to cocaine in hip hop. My favorite one to date is hilarious, and from the late Christopher Wallace (aka The Notorious B.I.G) on his song “Ten Crack Commandments”. Biggie said, “That g****mn credit, dead it/ you think a crack head paying you back, s**t, forget it…)

   Rappers always will refer to the drug in some way, whether he or she is telling about their own life, surroundings, or even a movie.  Popular films that hip hop fans watch that are closely related to cocaine fuel a lot of the lyrics. A few of the most well-known ones are “New Jack City”(a 1991 film starring Wesley Snipes who plays Nino Brown, a drug lord in New York during the crack epidemic),“Blow” (where Johnny Depp plays George, a weed dealer who eventually starts pushing cocaine), and “Scarface”.

   A lot of rappers have even adopted the names of popular cocaine related figures. Scarface, a well-known and loved Texas MC, got his stage name from the famous movie. In an interview for a documentary entitled “Scarface: Origins of a Hip Hop Classic”, Brad Jordan (the rapper’s real name) commented on why he chose his stage name after the film’s. He simply said “I took on the Scarface name because that was me, man.”

    In a Huffington Post article entitled “Al Pacino Thanks Rappers for Loving Scarface” the 71-year-old legendary actor who played as Tony Montana told reporters: “I don’t think anybody’s ever talked about it as accurately and clearly. I understood it better having heard them talk about it….”

   Some MC’s adopted the names of actual historic real-life drug dealers. Victor Santiago (aka Noreaga, a New York rapper) traced his stage name after Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, a 1980’s drug lord born in Panama in 1934. At one time, he was a valued asset to the CIA and a war ally to the United States’ fight against communism in Latin America. His relationship was shaky with Washington, and the District of Columbia began to think that he was doing business in Columbia South America with the Medallin cocaine cartel. Washington believed Noriega was helping them to get large amounts of it into the U.S. In 1989, George Bush was tired of it and ordered 20,000 troops to invade Panama. Noriega hid inside the Vatican Embassy in Panama City, but turned himself in early January 1990. He was sentenced to forty years in 1992 for drug offenses and racketeering. In December of 2011 the 77-year-old prisoner flew into Panama’s international airport after being held in France since 2010. It was his first visit home since he’d turned himself in.

 

Sources:

Woodie, B. 27 Sept. 2011. Hip Hop and the Crack Generation Counter Punch Tells The Facts Names the Names. VH1 & Counterpunch.org. Retrieved from http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/27/hip-hop-and-the-crack-generation/

Phillips, T. 11 Dec 2011. Panama Ex-Dictator Manuel Noriega Flies Home. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/dec/11/panama-manuel-noriega-home

 

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