Photo of artists Cane in the studio
Author: Justin Mckibben
Recently one of our Palm Partners Alumni who has been pursuing his passion for music posted a powerful music video with a strong message that caught our attention. After hearing how the track he had recorded was speaking intensely and poetically about the issues concerning the opiate epidemic and the shady side of Big Pharma in the prescription drug outbreak across the country, we wanted to know more about the project.
The name behind the deep reaching lyrics is Cane, and he’s a hip-hop artist ‘straight outta Indiana’. The video is titled “Detox” and is a powerful look into the world of prescription drug abuse from someone who has personally had to fight for their life. The video itself does have some mature content, but nothing extremely graphic. It begins with news broadcasters and headlines talking about the epidemic, and the beat itself is something a lot of people might recognize as the “Run This Town” instrumental by Jay Z, but Cane does a good job of making the music his own.
He credits the recording and video production to RJ Write @FlatlineMedia with a post that has been shared by multiple sources. Hopefully it’ll trend and catch even more momentum. We wanted to celebrate this level of heartfelt dedication, so we reached out to Cane to get a glimpse at some of the thoughts behind the music.
Q & A with Cane
Q: So, what is your sobriety date and how long have you been making music?
A: “My clean date is 8-8-14. I’ve been making music for 5 years. My father is a musician also so it’s always been in my life.”
Q: What has life been like since leaving treatment?
A: “Life after leaving treatment has been truly a blessing. When you’re caught up in the grip of addiction you tend to get caught up in the rat race and you feel like you’re going to be stuck in that forever you lose hope of having any normal life. Now that I’m home I’ve went back to school and getting my GED then went and got my CDL and in my semi-truck driver. I have a daughter and I also have another child on the way, all these things seemed impossible when all I could think about was getting one more… and as I grow in this recovery process I’m learning more about myself and learning to love myself and ways that I never have… and it all started when I took that first step and entered the doors of Palm Partners.”
Q: What was the most valuable experience you took from treatment at Palm Partners Recovery Center?
A: “The most value experience I took from Palm partners is that people do truly care and you’re not alone. I was reminded that Humanity is real and it still exists, there are still people out there that genuinely care because when you’re caught up in that street life you tend to lose that reality… and they also gave me a firm foundation to build on as I got out into the world and started to recover.”
Q: In your own words, what has inspired you to write about this in your music?
A: “What had inspired me to write this in my music was looking around at myself and those around me caught in the struggle, and realizing that we all share the same pain and can relate it was at that point that I knew I had to bring a clear message through my music and be a voice for those who feel they aren’t heard and also create awareness to situations that most turn a blind eye to.”
Q: What is the main message you want to send with a song like this?
A: “The main message that I want to get through with this song is that I believe the system (Big Pharma) is more of a business built on creating revenue instead of cures, it seems they are creating momentarily relief of symptoms instead of actually trying to heal their patients. A cured patient is a lost customer, not caring about the side effects their drugs have on the consumer they over medicate to the point that we feel we can’t go through life without these medications. It’s almost as if they’re telling the public, this is your only hope… don’t worry about what’s it’s doing to your health, don’t worry about what is doing to your life because we’ll just prescribe you something to handle that stress as well.
My personal experience has showed me that when my tolerance grew they upped the dose, always having a pharmaceutical answer for everything…when in the end everything they gave me to better my life was actually killing me, physically, mentally and spiritually.”
Q: Who has been most influential in your recovery?
A: “Ronald “Choke” Nelson has been one person who has helped me grow the most in my process of recovery, and my family.”
Q: How has recovery made you more successful in your music or other passions?
A: “Recovery is help me in my music by helping me learn who I truly am as a person, which helps me open up more and be able to express myself freely, opening up a new platform of consciousness and truly seeing life for what it is in all its beauty and Glory which makes me see reality instead of my self-made prison which kept my close minded, judgmental and delusional.
Now I see the beauty that life truly is, I can write and create with a sense of Peace and clarity, and with other passions like Family, relationships and life in general is just gave me a sense of gratitude and appreciation which helps generate a loving atmosphere, and in a loving atmosphere all things grow.”
Q: When can we expect more projects like “Detox” from you?
A: “I’m in the process of writing a new track called “It’s Okay” which will be somewhat of a motivational song letting the people know, it’s okay to have flaws, nobody’s perfect… just learn to accept yourself regardless of your past you can have a bright future.
I also already release a song called “My Story” which also gives hope and gives you a glimpse into my world.”
Q: If you could give a message to anyone who might be hurting, what would it be?
A: “Anybody that’s out there listening still caught up in the grip of addiction just know that there is hope. Find that last piece of strength; that last piece of love that you have for yourself and find a way to get somewhere to get some help. You do not have to settle for the limitations of your past, there is a brighter future ahead just step forth and make an effort and slowly but surely things will fall into place, you just have to believe. There is a better life for you out there, you don’t have to stay stuck in the never ending cycle, so please from me to you reach out to someone who cares make that call, Reach Out and save your life”
With gratitude and humility Cane happily touched on a lot of important ideas in his song and during our conversation. It is clear this artist believes in his recovery, and believes in raising awareness and spreading the message to others. We are always proud of the amazing accomplishments and uplifting stories our Palm Partners Alumni share with us about life in recovery. We always encourage our Alumni to reach out and share their own perspectives. Part of proving recovery and life after treatment is possible is living by example and making the most out of our message. Cane is taking that to heart and putting his talents to use to try and make a difference.
You can check out the music video for ‘Detox’ here and you can check out more of Cane’s music here.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners alumni out there with talents, stories and experiences to share, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. You never know how many lives you can touch, and how many people could make the choice that saves their life because of something that you choose to share. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Ok, this is actually a pretty crazy story if you ask me. Of course no one did ask me, but if they did… woah. Somebody hold my gold teeth! Not to say celebrities never get sober, or rap artists, but Gucci Mane is one rapper that was infamous for his reputation as a “Trap Artist.” Typically that title means he is a rapper who makes music glorifying selling drugs and the violence that comes with it. Not a huge fan personally, but the guy is definitely one of those “nothing to something” stories that makes you scratch your head to think he’s gone straight.
Gucci Mane- born Radric Delantic Davis in February of 1980- is an American rapper from Atlanta, Georgia. He released his debut album back in 2005, but was getting in trouble long before then and found plenty of it afterwards. Now after serving nearly three years behind bars, Gucci Mane says he is sober and ready to reclaim his throne… 3 years sober!
Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis, had a string of hits in the 2000s including “Wasted” and “Lemonade.” He’s also had a string of arrests that year. At least 10 times since 2001. Most noteworthy was May 10, 2005, when Guccie Mane was attacked by a group of men at a house in Decatur, Georgia. Gucci Mane and his companions shot at the group, killing one. The corpse of one attacker was found later behind a nearby middle school. The rapper turned himself in to police investigators on May 19, 2005, and was subsequently charged with murder. Mr. Gucci Mane claimed that the shots fired by him and his party were in self-defense. The DeKalb County district attorney’s office dropped the murder charge in January 2006 due to insufficient evidence.
On top of such a controversial story, Gucci Mane also has a history of drug related arrests. Various other arrests, including this most recent, were related to assault or weapons charges. Needless to say, Mr. Gucci Mane is notorious for a reason.
When speaking with members of his management team, Todd Moscowitz was quoted by New York Times that,
“every single time that he was about to break through is exactly when he went back to jail.”
In September 2013, he began serving a three-year jail sentence for possession of a firearm by a felon. Since May he has been released to finish his sentence on house arrest.
Recovering Drug Addict
However, it would seem even a guy like Gucci Mane can turn things around. While in jail, Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis got sober. Since then he acknowledges that his addiction has been a primary source of his unruly behavior. His latest album, Everybody Looking, is the first time he’s made music while sober. New York Times again went out of their way to interview him on this development and he stated,
“I felt like I couldn’t make music sober, I couldn’t enjoy my money sober. Why would I wanna go to a club and couldn’t smoke or drink? I felt like sex wouldn’t be good sober. I associated everything with being high. In hindsight I see it for what it was: I was a drug addict.”
This is actually an incredible transition. From “Trap Star” to “Recovery Artist” it seems Davis has really switched it up! Radric “Gucci Mane” Davis is currently overcoming addiction to a wide range of drugs. When talking about his drugs of choice he includes:
Gucci Mane speaks out about his addiction and recovery in his new music. The new single, “No Sleep,” includes him relating to his drugs of choice and his past as a drug dealer. Throughout a lot of these new songs he calls himself a “Recovering Drug Addict” which sounds like some 12 Step Fellowship talk to me.
Determined to Stay Sober
This isn’t the first time Gucci Mane has tried getting clean. This time he was forced to take the withdrawal process on while locked up. This probably has a lot to do with his determination to stay sober. He said in an interview,
“Death. It feel like death. Your body just craving lean bad. Stomach tore up, can’t think straight. Just mad at the world. Temper so short, so violent, so aggressive. So just rude and toxic.”
Gucci Mane says he stays sober with a commitment to:
“I made like a pact to myself: When I get out, no matter what happens, I must record these songs. It was so real when I wrote it,”
Not only is he committed to not letting his career and money making opportunities slip by anymore based on his addictions, he also seems adamant about sharing his experience as much as possible to keep on the right path. The truth is despite his history as a violent drug dealer with a laundry list of criminal offenses, he is a prime example of how recovery is possible for anyone. If a guy like Mr. Gucci can actually hit a bottom despite all the millions of dollars, flashy music videos and multiple arrests to turn himself around and spread a message and change his life than who has an excuse not to?
As surprising as a story like this can be, even a hardcore drug dealing rap artist can fall hard enough to realize there is a serious problem with their substance abuse and addiction. While their lives may be incredibly different, addiction does not discriminate. Luckily, the solution doesn’t either. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Hip Hop is much more than a genre of music, it is a culture that evolved from a street mentality subculture of various art forms in urban areas into a global diversity of people who have been able to identify and express to each other some of their most vulnerable and intricate feelings and experiences. Hip hop has been described as a simultaneously new and old phenomenon, and rap music is an element of hip hop that speaks to people with chanted rhymes on complex instrumentals.
When looking at a rap artist and their lyrics it is obvious that the music, and the culture are used as a method to express and raise awareness about issues in the community. We examine the works of rap artists to evaluate the message, and when we look close enough at some of the greatest and most celebrated hip hop artists, we can see some clear depictions of struggles with addiction and mental health.
Kendrick Lamar on Alcoholism
Kendrick Lamar is a rapper whose major-label debut album good kid m.A.A.d. city released in October of 2012 includes compelling stories that speak to mental health themes, including:
- Stress resilience
Tracks like ‘Swimming Pools’ address addiction and/or alcohol abuse in a way that is very powerful. From the very beginning the artists talks about growing up around people who have “lived their life in bottles”, even referencing his grandfather’s own drinking patterns. This relates to how exposure to alcohol use and abuse in one’s family and early life are genetic and environmental factors that can impact a person’s drinking habits.
In the song, Kendrick paints a picture of the reasons people drink or abuse alcohol, and some common themes such as:
- Fitting in
- Killing their sorrow
- The way it feels
- Peer pressure
Lamar’s latest album To Pimp A Butterfly, released in March 2015 gets even more detailed with issues like depression, stress and resilience. Specifically there are 2 interesting titles- ‘u’ and ‘i’.
In the song ‘u’, Lamar gives off the essence of a character in a drinking fit. Through this track there is the direct reference to depression, and Lamar’s character describes hopeless and suicidal thoughts.
Then the song ‘i’ comes from another angle, and speaks of overcoming stress and persevering through circumstances, as well as a resolution to love himself regardless of life’s trials.
Was Tupac Shakur Bipolar?
With mental health in mind we are now able to look at writers who were not “diagnosed” with bipolar disorder and by analyzing their work and threading similarities from previous artists, we imply the possibility that some pieces of Hip Hop’s artistic expression grow from a manic depressive brain, and the late Tupac Amur Shakur has an amazingly artistic and incredibly inspiring legacy, that some believe to have grown from a manic depressive mind.
Prior to his music career, Shakur was a published poet, and at 18 years old he published over a 100 poems in The Rose that Grew from the Concrete. Now Tupac Shakur’s “bipolar artistic expressiveness” does not mean Shakur is clinically bipolar. That being said, a look at his material opens the door to the “possibility” of him having been undiagnosed bipolar.
One poem was:
A YOUNG HEART WITH AN OLD SOUL
How can there be peace
A young heart with an old soul
How can I be in the depths of solitude
When there are two inside of me
This duo within me causes the perfect opportunity
To learn and live twice as fast
As those who accepts simplicity….
Shakur acknowledges a duality inside that can sit in solitude but can also take action and rise above the others that live in simplicity. He distinguishes himself from others, and acknowledges his dual personalities in a way that shows he means to explore them.
Shakur was infamously an artist who tested the limitations of social conformism and race relations in culture. He had angry lyrics, a sharp tongue, and sensitive poems. And he exposed his sadness as being ingrained in isolation and honest loneliness. Look at titles like:
- Me Against the World
- So Many Tears
- Only God Can Judge Me
Pac always delivers ideas reminiscent of depression and oppression with such heart, and you can’t help but feel the internal struggle in his voice. Shakur offended his audience, but he welcomed that rejection, and represented himself as a man who regretted nothing about his feelings. The bipolar theme of ego and confidence are present throughout his albums, mangled in with his feelings of distrust, loneliness and contempt for the injustice of the world he sees himself living in. I say this not to question his mental health, but just to point out that even someone as passionate and expressive as Tupac can be struggling with a disorder.
Eminem and Dual Diagnosis
Eminem, real name Marshall Mathers is a household name that lives in infamy in the Hip Hop community, and is probably the perfect example of dual diagnosis, which is when one has two co-occurring disorders. In his case it was an addiction to Vicodin (and other substances) in combination with what he himself often referred to as Bipolar Disorder, and possibly clinically-diagnosable depression.
Eminem was well-known for aggressive lyrics that dealt with mental health and drug addiction, and made references to his own intimate relationship with both. In his book The Way I Am he described his emotional reaction to the murder of Proof, a long time band-mate and best friend back in 2006, and talks about the pain it caused him and the strain it put on his career and how it impacted his drug abuse.
Like Marshall Mathers, millions of people are diagnosed with a mental illness and a substance abuse or dependence disorder, and do not get the correct dual diagnosis treatment they need. From all his prescription drug use, Marshall’s organs started shutting down and he nearly died, but he has now been clean for several years and has talked openly about his recovery.
When we take just these few examples into consideration we can see that rap music and hip hop culture are a living breathing expression of struggle, resolution, self-discovery and obsession. Rap has its own addictions and multiple personalities, from hardcore and underground to religious and progressive. These artists have found a way not just to express themselves, but to inspire others for generations to be aware of their own emotional state, risk behaviors and addictions, and some believe hip hop can actually help save lives. Hip hop has the power to teach us about ourselves, and at the same time it has the power to heal us if we can seek the truth in the words we hear.
(Drops the mic)
Music is just one way we share our feelings and find ourselves, and it is true drug use and addiction are closely involved with hip hop. But it is also true that we can chose to give a different power to the pieces of our lives, and it all begins with a step away from addiction toward recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
In his most recent interview, given just a couple of days ago when he appeared on Headkrack’s Hip Hop Spot, Kid Cudi spoke candidly about the pressures of fame as well as his struggle with addiction. It’s been a journey with ups and downs but, it seems as though Cudi has finally made peace with his fame, fortune, and sobriety.
After coming to terms with his addiction to alcohol and drugs, Kid Cudi decided he needed to change. The rapper decided to quit everything cold turkey. In the interview, he revealed that he is over five months sober. Cudi said he was motivated to do so for the sake of his child as well as from frustration he felt with constantly being associated with the drug and stoner culture. It’s been a struggle for the hip hop star but, Cudi seems to have emerged clean, sober, and healthy.
“You just have to make the choice and decide the person you wanna be and stick with it. You get to a certain age where the people around you are not gonna be on that rollercoaster all day long ready for you to go up, ready for you to go down, and stick with you through all the madness. People want you to be one person and stick with it and I chose to be clean and be sober and get my life together. For myself, for my health, for my daughter, for my family.”
This wasn’t the first time that the Grammy-nominated rapper opened up about his battles with drugs. In earlier interviews, Cudi admitted to heavy cocaine use at the start of his hip-hop career, saying that he felt drugs relieved him of the stress of dealing with the media:
“I started doing cocaine to get through interviews, ’cause people wanted to know a lot about my personal life and I wasn’t prepared for a 60 Minutes interview every time. Doing bumps I was able to get through the day, but then I would smoke weed to calm me down–it was the only way I could get through the day without people noticing I was doing it… never thought it was a problem, but I was definitely high-fiving death a couple of times.”
This was back in 2010. Cudi admitted that he was still using marijuana.
“No more blow. People do drugs to camouflage emotions and run away from their problems. Now I’m going to deal with certain things as they come, prioritize sh*t–man up, so to speak.”
Cudi on Hip Hop Culture
In this most recent interview, Cudi had some things to say to his fellow hip hop artists, stating that if they want the genre to survive and prosper in the genre, they need to step up their game and evolve.
“I feel like if you’re gonna be an artist, there’s a time where you have to embrace the responsibility and understand that the power of music is so special and to be able to do it to a magnitude to reach millions of people. It’s like why not use that for good? Why not tell kids something that they can connect with and use in their lives?” he said.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Multiplatinum lyricist Macklemore, best known for his hit “Thrift Shop,” broke his anonymity in a Rolling Stone interview earlier this year. In fact, Macklemore also revealed that he struggles to maintain his sobriety while out on the road touring with his music partner, Ryan Lewis.
Macklemore’s real name is Ben Haggerty and he was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. He earned a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College in 2005. Though he was not born to a musical family, both of his parents were supportive of his musical ventures. Haggerty was six years old when hip hop first came in to his life by way of Digital Underground.
Macklemore was fourteen when he started writing lyrics. Macklemore says he listened to “a lot of East Coast underground hip hop” with Freestyle Fellowship, Aceyalone, Living Legends, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, and Talib Kweli being big influences on him. Interested in reaching a younger generation through his music, he was a part of a program focusing on education and cultural identity called “Gateways for Incarcerated Youth” where he facilitated music workshops.
Macklemore and Addiction
In 2008, Macklemore went to rehab for drug addiction and alcoholism. Early August 2010 marked two years of sobriety for the rapper but then in December of 2011, Macklemore relapsed after returning home from a tour. He came down with a cold and was prescribed codeine cough syrup, which he eventually began abusing. He wrote the song “Starting Over,” which is featured on his album The Heist, about his relapse. He explained in a documentary that he spent most of his twenties “trying to fight [his] way out of that [way of life]” saying “I want to be someone who is respected and not just in terms of my music. I want to be respected in terms of the way that I treat people.
“Music is my creative outlet in terms of expressing what is important to me; what has importance, what has a value. And I wanna be respected for that.”
Macklemore on AA
“It’s been a struggle the past year. It’s very important to go into the rooms of AA, smell the s**ty coffee and be reminded that without sobriety, I would have no career.”
As part of the interview with Rolling Magazine, Macklemore allowed one of the magazine’s reporters to accompany him to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, explaining, “Those [fellow recovering alcoholics] are my peers. I see myself in them. I walked in and a dude was talking and immediately I was like, ‘I know exactly what the f**k you’re talking about.’ I’m reminded of why I can’t get f**ked up. And the only way to feel that is to actually work the program.”
With that said, Macklemore has been clean and sober since 2008. “I started working with a sponsor and got a lot healthier. It’s been four and a half hour years since I’ve drank alcohol, four and a half years since I’ve smoked weed, four and a half years since I’ve done cocaine.”
Personally, knowing this side of Macklemore makes me like and respect him even more. I was already a fan of his music but, learning that he is “one of us” makes him somehow more endearing to me. And I admire him for being so candid and transparent about his past, as well as his present struggles. With so much talk about drugs and alcohol, especially in the music industry and especially in the culture of the hip-hop and rap genre, it’s a breath of fresh air to see successful, talented artists who have risen above certain life circumstances and continue to remain sober even when everyone else is glorifying alcohol, weed, and ecstasy.
And for those who don’t agree with Macklemore breaking his anonymity, I just don’t agree with you. I believe that it is up to the person whether they want to be open about their sobriety or not. As long as Macklemore, or anyone for that matter, isn’t revealing anyone else’s identity, it’s his prerogative whether he chooses to reveal his past struggles with alcohol and other drugs. I can see how people of celebrity status can use their standing as a way to have a positive influence on others, especially younger, more impressionable folk. I think keeping quiet only perpetuates the shame and guilt that many of us feel at one time or another and only serves to keep addicts in hiding and therefore continuing to die of the disease of addiction.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.