There are many different trends in every generation, whether it be style, diet crazes, or decor. But drugs also fall into that category.

The 1970s were essentially a groovy cloud of pot smoke. The ‘80s saw a drug “panic,” where crack cocaine was the subject of public concern. Around 1995, American teens and young adults began to experiment with heroin, crystal meth, and other “club drugs.” This doesn’t mean that all these drugs were fairly new; the use of these drugs just became a lot more mainstream.

Then walks in rapper Lil’ Wayne, sipping on his beloved cough syrup, better known as “sizzurp.” Surely he wasn’t the first rapper to abuse the drug, but his addiction to the substance became notorious. It was almost amusing as it was more than evident that he was under the influence when he recorded his music. His slurred rhymes and raunchy verses are auto-tuned to the point where it’s incomprehensible at times. In other words, he sounds like an absolute idiot.

His very public “purple drank” use (the styrofoam cups seen in his music videos) opened a whole new door to the drug world. The proclamations of love for his drug-of-choice are laced throughout his lyrics, with lines like “I smoke a lot of weed, and drink a whole bunch of syrup” and “I’m on that lala, twist it up // I’m on that syrup, slow it down.” But wait, there’s my personal favorite: a whole song dedicated to drugs dubbed “Pill Poppin Animal”: “I’m a pill poppin’ animal, syrup sippin’ [expletive] // I’m so high you couldn’t reach me with a [expletive] antenna.”

Lil’ Wayne’s indifferent approach to cough syrup was something his younger fans laughed about earlier in his career. Building up to his Tha Carter III release, he was the “it” rapper, better yet “the best rapper alive” as he self-proclaimed. With his popularity and celeb status, his fans seemed to be a lot more interested in what he had been taking as well. Forget weed, coke, or any of that; sizzurp’s where it was at.

It became cooler (for lack of better term) to reference cough syrup, or casually talk about it as if it wasn’t a serious drug at all. It was just his baby bottle that made him come up with the most ridiculous musings. But it actually does a lot more.

According to, the most common ingredient in modern cough syrup is Dextromethorphan, or DXM. When taken in the recommended dosage, it is safe and suppresses the cough. However in high dosages, it can produce euphoric highs and hallucinations, giving the user an out-of-body, dream-like experience. Mixed with other depressants, it can cause a potentially fatal reaction.

Long term effects, aside from addiction (Lil’ Wayne is way beyond that point), include problems urinating, short term memory loss, confusion and difficulty concentrating. I would much rather listen to him rap about these problems than about his sizzurp intake, but that’s just me.

In any case, all of that caught up to him after he went on a purple drank binge recently. On March 12, he was rushed to the hospital after having multiple severe seizures. However, he told The Rolling Stone that epilepsy was to blame (obviously).

In essence, my point is this: no matter how someone carries themselves, an addiction is an addiction, and drugs are drugs. It is a serious matter that shouldn’t be scoffed at or played off as a joke. Lil’ Wayne may be worth millions, but what good are all those millions when you beat your health to a pulp by drinking dope all the time? No matter who you are, you are not an exception to any consequences of your actions. Get your act together Weezy F., or your next hospital visit will be your last.


Kattey Ortiz can be contacted at

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