Blog, Opinion, Science

The Deadly Cough Syrup


Drug reference has been present in music for years. Rappers in specific are known to make drug use and abuse mainstream and acceptable. Because of rappers, drugs have become a regular daily routine in the daily lives of artists and the people inspired by the music. The deadly cough syrup mixed with sprite is known for its street name“Sizzurp” Or “Lean” or “Drank” etc. Is a cough syrup that contains codeine and promethazine. The drug is sold under the pharmaceutical company Activist.

The first time “lean” was mentioned in a rap music was back in 1998 where Dj screw dropped a single with the title of “Sippin Codeine” with the use of lyrics that say “I Sipp codeine it makes a southside playa lean, stackin green, steady stackin green, steady sippin codeine.”. Though “Sizzurp” was not made popular until about 2012 where the rapper Lil Wayne promoted his single “Me and my Drank” that contained l “I buy a bottled pop, drop some syrup in it”. It is clear how rappers give this drug an acceptable reputation, that influences the listener.

The abuse of “lean” has went out of hands, with the rate of abuse sky rocketing. That lead to the company “Activist” to cease production. The event is expressed in many rap songs, as Ab soul said in his song “Ride slow” “I heard they stopped making actives (you know when I heard that?), While I was sipping Activist. After ceasing production, a black market for the cough syrup has risen and has gathered a mass audience. That seems to be successful selling a bottle of 125ml for 400$.

The abuse of the drug came with a cost, when there was reported death incidents caused from the drug directly, and as well many people suffered seizures that was caused from over dosing on the drug. Even artists such as Lil Wayne suffered many seizures from the drug and were hospitalized for days. The alarming number of mortality caused by “Lean” started to concern many artists. That caused many artists to quit the drug. As “Schoolboy Q” describes it “I don’t know if it was a near death experience but it felt like I was about to die”. Since then artists such as “Lil Wayne”, “Danny brown”, “Future” quit using the drug.

As we live in a world that is defined by hype, it is seen to what extent people can go for in order to imitate their favorite A-list celebrity. What seemed to be bragging about the use of a cough syrup, went down south as people started getting hospitalized for the abuse of the drug. Since then, the reference of the drug was never the same and it will remain a trend that was killed.