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Hip-hop's chemical romance with Ecstasy

September 24, 2010|By Chris Lee | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Within two years, more and more references to the drug had spread across the mainstream. On Missy Elliott's 2001 hit album "Miss E … So Addictive" (um, get it?), the rapper devotes the slow-burn chill-out cut "X-tasy" to articulate certain conditions associated with consumption. Such as feeling "so energized" and describing the artificial love vibes that accompany the drug. "Ecstasy, I'm willing to do all the things I said I wouldn't do /On Ecstasy, the feelin' makes me feel like I'm in love with you," Elliott raps.

That same year, on "X," his collaboration with Elliott, rapper Ja Rule framed the drug's merits in a different way: "How we relieve that stress? X / You know, pop them thangs, get extra horny, girl."

More recently, such hip-hop subgenres as Southern California's jerkin' dance movement and hyphy in the Bay Area made widespread references to taking Ecstasy ("thizzing" in hyphy parlance). And this year, on-again-off-again A Tribe Called Quest frontman Q-Tip portrayed an Ecstasy dealer in the Sundance Film Festival official selection about Hasidic X pill smugglers, "Holy Rollers."

But when it comes to laying bare the swirl of physical side effects, social ramifications and potential health ills associated with the drug, Tech N9ne's chopped and screwed ode to Ecstasy, "T9X," comes as close to an exegesis on the subject as any rap song has to date.

"10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, feelin' butterflies /My eyes dilate another size /Overwhelming sense of love got this nut so sprung / Walk up to a stranger, 'Can I suck your tongue?' " N9ne raps over an ominous beat.

After detailing how he has taken "five pills" over the course of an eve, the rapper catalogs certain physical sensations: "Tingling baby, got me feelin' like mingling, baby /This is hella 'Higher Learning' than Singleton, baby /One minute I'm cold, the next I'm heat /Get me some Big Red so I don't grind my teeth."

In the end, though, Tech N9ne pays lip service to the inherent dangers of taking too much. "It's pills and mo' thrills," he raps. "I'm lucky if I survive. I'm high!"

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