How Lean Is Killing Both Rappers And The Culture Of Hip-Hop


The music industry dealt with a heartbreaking loss when A$AP Yams was pronounced dead back in mid-January.  Exactly how the beloved 26-year-old cofounder of the A$AP Mob and one of the most promising young moguls in the game died was unconfirmed for months.

His final tweet, a play on the term "codeine crazy," gave us an easy clue as to what happened.

This tweet soon confirmed what we all suspected.

For well over a decade now, the influence of prescription cough syrup has been a highly glamorized and extremely dangerous part of hip-hop.

Houston legends like DJ Screw, Bun B and Pimp C made the addictive drink (otherwise known as lean or sizzurp) popular during the 2000s. They usually mixed theirs with Sprite and Jolly Ranchers.

The origins of the drink go as far back as the 70s in the Fifth Ward, Third Ward and South Park neighborhoods of Houston.

To this day, the homemade potion is still part of the laid-back culture throughout the South and is, in part, responsible for creating a new sound that reflects every side effect from sipping lean.

An entire subgenre of rap, known as "screw music" or "chopped and screwed," can be partially credited to purple drank. But what exactly does this combination of prescription cough syrup and Sprite do to you?

If you can resist the urge to sleep, you begin to feel everything and things slow down and get choppy.

Motor skills become impaired, drowsiness takes over and a tingling euphoria of calmness takes over the entire body. Mix that with a blunt, and it's truly a wrap.

The musical result, however, has become something so unique, it still influences many artists' styles today.

No screw song is more legendary than Big Pokey's "June 27th Freestyle."

genadnon on YouTube

Drake took this track and made his own remix to show one of his biggest musical inspirations.

P1n0yPr0d1gy on YouTube

Rappers like UGK, Juicy J, Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane all made lean part of their sounds and even mainstream acts like Justin Bieber and Macklemore started f*cking with it.

With that, of course, comes a price. It's highly addictive, and an overdose usually results in a tragic death.

Bieber was once said to be addicted to lean and even wrote a song about it.

TMZ on YouTube

Legends like Pimp C, DJ Screw (the originator of the "chopped and screwed" sound) and now A$AP Yams all lost their lives by getting too turnt off the purple drank.

That's because when ingested in massive amounts, lean can stop the flow of breathing and result in many other medical complications.

Lean becomes exponentially dangerous when mixed with other drugs and alcohol.

The addiction it causes often leads to dependency and the end result is always going to be the same if you can't kick the habit.

Considering most rappers just smoke weed nowadays, codeine could easily be considered one of the most lethal drugs in the industry.

Lil Wayne's addiction to syrup eventually resulted in seizures.

ByrdGang513 on YouTube

In the song "I Feel Like Dying," he admitted exactly how he felt when he didn't have his codeine:

However, Weezy stopped drinking lean in 2009 after his life began to spiral out of control.

Lil Boosie says the craze is ultimately killing the hip-hop culture.

Like many other rappers, Boosie kicked the addiction:

According to TMZ,

The rapper reportedly said,

Unfortunately, lean culture will never die.

The truth is lean will likely be a part of hip-hop culture until the end of time.

The number of new "lean rappers" multiplies every day as many people continue to consume with all the known risks.

Like everything else in life, nothing should be used in excess and it's up to the artists as individuals to know their limits.

But, they need to remember they're influencing a generation of kids who can't think for themselves.