“DRUGS IS A PROMOTIONAL SINGLE FOR THOSE WHO CAN RELATE.” – Anderson .Paak (credit to Genius.com)
To be honest you should never want to relate to this song, but unfortunately it has been far too relatable for too many of us. Most of us in this day and age have been in the “no fucks given” stage of our lives and looking for love in the wrong ways. As cliche of a modern day song could possibly be, Anderson is honest and captures wild lifestyle choices we make during the tough times of our life. Times such as those we experience in college, whether you’re in sunny southern California or on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere of Pennsylvania (like myself). Shit gets weird and confusing, and the worst part is that you don’t have any idea how to handle it. Things such as what we think is love.
To quickly comment on the production before we get into the juicy part of the breakdown, I personally love the original production by Collum Conner rather than the remixed jazzy/funk version by NxWorries. This alternative version of the song was titled “Droogs” and appears on the collab album “Link Up & Suede” by NxWorries, the group consisting of Anderson .Paak and producer Knxwledge. The trappy beat fits well with the sober thoughts of the verses all the way to the build up of the “fuck it” trippy chorus. Fitting the emotional tones of the song quite evenly.
Now for a cliche song of the modern day hook-up, this song is incredible to me and intelligent aside from the content. We know Anderson .Paak is an incredible artist, with density to his music that is so hard to come by in modern day hip-hop. This song does more than just sound appeasing, Anderson plays with emotions through the frustration and bitterness that “she only seems to like him for his drugs.” You can feel the frustration caused by the lack of communication between the two, but Anderson understands that its partially his fault as well, which adds to the twisting confusion and frustration that builds up through the verses.
We catch parts that feel like he truly wants to believe she does really love him, but shortly after these moments Anderson comes back to reality, telling to himself this is made up, “if we weren’t on drugs or intoxicated we would never even be in this situation.” This then can loop back to the way Anderson really feels about love and relationships, to whereas he can’t really make an intimate connection with someone at this point in his life because he truly believes that she only seems to love him either for his drugs or when she’s on one. For an artist to compact all of this raw emotional confusion into a very relatable promotional song is extremely intelligent. I don’t want to say “genius,” but definitely the song design and overall performance is just absolutely impressive for an artist’s first promotional single.
This song may not be the reason why Anderson .Paak has gotten the recognition he deserves but in my personally opinion it certainly adds to his stardom and reasons why he’s one of the artists to be considered the future of hip-hop.