The exploitation and glorification of drugs and alcohol has been prevalent in rebellious music for decades. This is especially seen in the 1960s during the counter-culture movement. The 60s was a time of great change in America. There were many social movements occurring at once as a result of various political debacles such the draft and the Vietnam War as well as the Jim Crow Laws. One of the most influential social movements was the shift of the culture in teenagers and young adults infamously known as the counter-culture. The counter-culture was a movement targeted directly at young adults aging from 18 through mid-20s. It was a result of a mixture of social injustices that directly impacted young adults such as the draft and segregation. Young adults were breaking the traditional lifestyle of going to school, getting a job, having a family, working until you retire, and then dying. Young adults were starting to rebel against the system. They were embracing the ‘hippie’ lifestyle of dropping out of school, protesting the war, and finding themselves through spiritual journeys. The counter-culture could not have lasted if it was not for some key factors helping to fuel the fire from the outside. These factors included the introduction of psychedelic drugs such as LSD as well as other drugs being illegally moved into America from foreign countries such as cocaine and heroin and the emergence of rebellious rock’n’roll music. Rock’n’roll music glorified drugs and alcohol and made it the cool thing to do for kids. This was arguably what started the war on drugs that emerged during the Reagan Era.
Fast forward about 50 years into the future and not much has changed with the millennial generation. Social injustices are still prevalent in today’s society as well as music that glorifies drug and alcohol use. The main difference in today’s society is it is more prevalent in hip-hop/rap music than rock’n’roll. Rock’n’roll is not the same as it was during the 60s-80s eras. Around the 1980s, gangster rap emerged in the U.S. pop-culture and took the country by storm. Ever since, rap/hip-hop, besides pop music, has become the reigning music of the current culture. Rap/hip-hop music runs supreme on all the top music billboards and charts, and has a direct impact on the culture. The same glorification of drugs and alcohol that sold hits during the 60s with rock’n’roll or during the 80s with gangster rap is still selling hits today with modern-day rap/hip-hop. It leaves a lasting impression on kids and the younger generation as well. Some can argue that it is an issue and some may agree. Others can argue that it may be how a child is brought up that will determine if this music really can have such a large influence on kids, teenagers and young adults. Either way, drugs and alcohol are a huge part of contemporary and alternative forms of music today and that does not seem like it is going to change for a long time to come.