These numbers aren't shocking. They even seem a little low. I listen to Ghostface; 100 percent of his songs glorify drugs. It's also not shocking anymore that certain elements in the media would be all hot to suggest a link between drug references in music and drug use among kids.
The Washington Post, where I found the story, is measured, containing mostly bare statistics. The plethora of parenting and medical Websites that have hopped on the story, though, take a more angled analysis, making oblique reference to "previous studies" that say "substance use in popular media is linked to actual substance use in adolescents" -- suggesting basically, that drug music leads to drug use.
Except: A link isn't necessarily a cause. Links have been found, sure, but causal links -- proof that music causes drug use -- haven't.
If you took a group of all hip-hop fans and sub-divided by other factors -- quality of education opportunities, perception of upward mobility, persistence of strong familial role models -- I'm certain the link between those factors and drug use would be much, much stronger than hip-hop fandom alone. Kids with better opportunities and role models do fewer drugs. That's it. This is about socio-economics, not celebrity worship or peer pressure.
Which is why Country -- also traditionally a product of poor, under educated communities -- not pop or R & amp;B, has the second highest rate of drug and alcohol references. Song lyrics aren't a reflection of the kind of drug-addled scene artists are trying to create, they're a reflection of the communities they're born in.
No, to find out why kids are destroying their lives, you gotta dig way deeper than a rap lyric or a country song, into the diseased societal infrastructures that keep kids from dreaming bigger dreams than where to score a dime bag.