Eminem, Lil B Mention Drugs More Than Anyone In Hip-Hop

By McCarton Ackerman 05/16/14

Eminem topped the list with numerous mentions of prescription drugs, the same drugs that nearly killed him in 2007.

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Despite openly being in recovery, Eminem fuses more drug references into his songs than anyone else in hip-hop.

He joined rappers Lil B and Three 6 Mafia as being among the performers with the most gratuitous mentions of drugs. The survey was conducted by Project Know and used online database Rap Genius to filter out lyrics for drug references. Lil B made the most references to cocaine and MDMA, Eminem topped the list for mentions of prescription drugs, and Three 6 Mafia took front billing when it came to marijuana references. Lil Wayne, Lupe Fiasco, and The Roots also received honorable mentions.

Project Know explained in a statement that “prevalence in this context is the total number of rap songs containing a given phrase in a year divided by the total number of rap songs in that year.” The survey also did not include “slang phrases that are often used in other contexts,” such as “boy” being used as a reference to heroin.

Eminem’s frequent mentioning of painkillers is particularly fitting because it was an addiction to prescription medication that nearly killed him. He took dozens of pills every day at one stage, until a nearly fatal overdose put him in the hospital in 2007. He’s now been sober for several years and frequently sports 12-step medallions on stage, even titling his 2010 album Recovery.

"I had to regain motor skills, I had to regain talking skills. It's been a learning process, I'm growing,” he said in the 2013 film How to Make Money Selling Drugs. "I couldn't believe that anybody could be naturally happy without being on something. So I would say to anybody ‘It does get better.’”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.