Photo: NRK P3
by We’Ced Youth Media
Editor’s Note: Kendrick Lamar, a young rapper from Compton, CA, recently broke into the mainstream with his critically and commercially successful debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city. At the height of his popularity, Lamar recently dedicated a video for his newest single to condemning the popular party drug, molly, a form of MDMA. We’Ced discussed what it meant to them to have someone from a culture that is usually portrayed as a negative influence, take a such a clear anti-drug stance.
Deborah Juarez, 17
Before today, I had never heard of the rapper Kendrick Lamar and the drug Molly. Since I think most rappers talk about “Wooo! Drugs!” I tend to stay away from that because it’s promoting bad behavior and that is not right, especially in today’s society.
Personally, I believe Lamar is anti-drugs now because of media. Like someone rebelling against the normal is seen as even more exciting than someone following the crowd. However, whether that is or is not the case, I still applaud Lamar for doing the right thing and not talking about drugs in a positive manner. Rap is major in today’s society; everyone I know hears it or raps some lyrics from their favorite rap song. So yes, any and every music plays a role in people’s lives. Because of the adrenaline induced from music and how it helps young people escape from reality, people my age really look up to music. So much so that they will take whatever is said seriously, like doing drugs and taking a step further by doing it themselves. I don’t listen to music and when I tell people that they look at me as if I’m crazy and they repeat with passion in their eyes, “music is my life!”
Alyssa Castro, 20
I am familiar with molly and I have heard of Kendrick Lamar because I’m a fan of his music. I think he’s courageous and is owed the respect he’s received for standing up for his opinion and being anti-drug in a culture where drugs are very popular. I like that he sets an example for other rappers and gives a voice to a group of young people who may be anti-drug as well.
I think his words were just keeping it real and people should not always follow mainstream thoughts that fade off eventually, especially in the rap world. I think music influenced young people to try or abstain from drugs cause it sets a tone for whatever event they attend. Maybe having the lyrics to a song about a topic you know nothing about could push you to try and experience what those lyrics are talking about or vice versa.
Fernando Almaraz, 17
I had never heard about Kendrick Lamar or molly before today. I believe Lamar was brave to take a stance against this drug. He had a lot on the line being a popular rapper, he could have received a negative response from his audience and gone down in popularity. But on the other hand, he could gain even more popularity for being the first rapper to take a stand against molly. It could have gone either way.
Before I can really make a decision on his actions, I would have to investigate if his stance was sincere and not motivated by money. But I will give him credit for criticizing the other rappers, who may rap about using or the use of drugs and perhaps they might have never done it themselves.
Music can be seen as another source of mass media and the media can be really impactful in people’s lives, from body image to the use of drugs. Like fellow We’Ced member Veronica mentions, songs can really be a source of adrenaline that can fire people up, sometimes into bad decisions in my opinion. But at the end of the day, it always comes down to our morals and beliefs and if whether we are willing to give that up for a short amount of pleasure that molly can bring.
Lisbeth Vazquez, 16
I had heard of both Kendrick Lamar and molly before. I first thought molly was a girl but then my boyfriend told me it was a drug and it all made sense. I think that rappers that promote drug use are dumb because they are influencing many young adults to do bad things. If molly wasn’t in music then it probably wouldn’t be as popular. Music influences kids because they think what they hear is cool. For example, when Lil Wayne started wearing Converse shoes aka “Chucks” then a lot of teens started to as well and now everybody has Chucks.
The same will happen with molly. If “cool” people do it, then you have to do that to be “cool.” Popularity and being cool is over the top right now. Also music might tell us false information to make it seem like they’re cool. For example, a song might molly makes you have fun and makes you the life of the party. That can make people want to do it even more.
Veronica Sandoval, 18
I’ve known about both Kendrick Lamar and molly for some time now. I think it is great that he is standing up for what he believes. Especially how he said he doesn’t follow that lifestyle and he wouldn’t just rap about it to be “cool” because I could say if a rapper raps about drugs I would think he does drugs because that is what he is rapping about.
I believe music has a huge impact on young people. Music gets people in the mood. If the music is talking about drugs and making it sound cool then that is what you are going to want to do, especially if you are at a party with other young people doing it around you. But at the end it comes down to what you believe. No one can make you do something you don’t want to do.
Jesus Perez, 18
Prior to today, I had not heard of molly or Kendrick Lamar. I fully support Lamar in his decision to take a stance against drugs. Teenagers should be setting goals for their future, not taking drugs as if they were candy. Maybe Lamar’s opinion will influence others to take a stance against drugs. Music and artists influence young people. It just so happens hat the majority of artists nowadays are promoting drug use. Artists are the creativity of the world, so whatever they say has value. The use of drugs in song lyrics can make teens think that drug are cool, so they try them to be cool.