Danny Brown Dip Video

MDMA aka ecstasy aka Molly has a long, storied musical history and wizened drug rappers Danny Brown and Juicy J have been spearheading a new Molly movement since the dawn of the decade. But ever since spring 2012 — around the time Madonna named her album MDNA and Kanye rapped “Somethin’ ’bout Mary, she gone off that Molly/ Now the whole party is melting like Dalí” — the party drug has been almost as much of a mainstay in the headlines as Kanye himself (and certainly more so than Madonna; sorry, Madonna). For a while there it seemed like every rapper was contractually obligated to incorporate the slang into a verse, a pervasive trend that found its apotheosis in this ecstatic Zen koan courtesy of James x James:

Woo! But the phenomenon was hardly limited to rap or even that borderless frontier known as pop music. Rap stayed trippy this year, but as with many hip-hop movements, Molly made its way into pop culture at large. It came so far into the mainstream, in fact, that it’s now under consideration to be legally prescribed to treat disorders both physical and psychological down the line. Here in the present, though, MDMA was an agent of chaos more often than rehabilitation. In 2013 it sometimes felt like the whole music industry had gone off that Molly, often accompanied by the attendant Dalí-like meltdowns. Here’s a look back at Molly’s big, sweaty year, mane.

2/13: Rick Ross Describes A Molly Date Rape On Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.”

Under the guise of his Rick Ross character, former corrections officer William Leonard Roberts II has rapped about buying, selling, and using illegal narcotics, building an organized crime empire, murdering his rivals with the AK-47 he keeps in his car, deporting his exes, speeding, irresponsible spending, whining about his legal obligations, lying to his ladyfriend about impending jail time, being both a no-good blood-sucker and a fat motherfucker, not forgiving even when God would, and, oh yeah, “get(ting) these hoes on the Molly.” None of that seemed to ruffle too many feathers; actually, hip-hop’s waning authenticity police seemed more upset that Rick Ross hadn’t committed most of the crimes he rapped about. But the erstwhile Mr. Roberts finally crossed the line in the court of public opinion by rapping about using MDMA as a date-rape drug. His verse on Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.” included the lyric, “Put molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” Ross denied the lyrics were about date rape at first, but after public outcry intensified and Reebok (whom Ross shouted out in the same breath as the Molly-in-champagne line) dropped him as a spokesman, he finally issued an apology:

Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world. So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets. As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart. And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence. To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it’s wrong and I do not encourage it. To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it.

Great song otherwise.

3/6: Travis Porter Delivers The Year’s Most Egregious Molly Lyric Not By Rick Ross

“Asked her what’s her favorite trick, she said a ollie / Asked her what’s her favorite drug, she told me Molly.” Unlike the Rick Ross controversy, this Molly lyric didn’t nab any headlines because it was merely a crime against good taste, not against human dignity. In fact, Tom defended it in his Mixtape Of The Week post on Travis Porter’s Mr. Porter:

And yet this line, in all its miles-away predictable awfulness, is also weirdly likable. Because when you make music like Travis Porter, that every-dumb-line-at-once sloppy silliness isn’t a liability; it’s an asset. The gentlemen of Travis Porter don’t sound like ice-veined in-control Players’ Ball pimps; they sound like enthusiastic goofball teenagers doing their best to make each other laugh milk through their nasal passages at the lunch table.

3/29: Tyga Releases “Molly”

In what might be ecstasy rap’s musical nadir, the always trend-conscious West Coast YMCMB associate Tyga released a song simply called “Molly” with assistance from fellow trend-hopper Wiz Khalifa of course. The hook was just a computerized female voice repeating the word “Molly.” If people hadn’t died from the actual drug this year, this song might have killed them anyway.

5/13: Kendrick Lamar Throws A Funeral For Molly In The “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” Video

By May, hip-hop’s ecstasy epidemic had escalated to the point that Kendrick Lamar thought it necessary to stage an elaborate funeral for Molly in his “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe” video, although the punchline that all this ceremonial fanfare was for MDMA wasn’t revealed until the final frame.

5/20: A-Trak Calls For Reasonable Conversation About Drug Rap

In a Huffington Post op-ed titled “License To Pill,” hitmaking DJ/producer and Fools Gold label head A-Trak called for a thoughtful exchange about rap’s “psychedelic phase.” Acknowledging that many of his artists are a big part of hip-hop’s Molly movement, A-Trak wondered if it was irresponsible to silently endorse and even participate in this music (see: “Piss Test”) without a corresponding conversation about the dark side of drug use. “My stance is: we can rap about it, but let’s also talk about it.”

5/23: Migos Prophesies The Miley/Molly Connection With “Hannah Montana”

One of the tracks that helped the Atlanta trio Migos break out on the internet this spring was “Hannah Montana,” which I recently described as “an ecstasy song that subbed in white female celebrities’ names (including Katy Perry, Hilary Duff, and, of course, Miley Cyrus) for Molly.” The humorous gimmick rested on the premise that, at the time, the names Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus still elicited thoughts of “Party In The U.S.A.”-style squeaky clean fun. Little did they know equating Miley with Molly would turn out to be prophetic sooner rather than later.

6/3: Miley Cyrus Premieres “We Can’t Stop”

At the outset of summer, The Artist Formerly Known As Hannah Montana released a comeback single of sorts, inasmuch as a 20-year-old millionaire former child star needs a comeback. “We Can’t Stop” and all the attendant Bangerz madness was more of a rebranding, really: Instead of singing with starry-eyed naiveté about G-rated partying with Jay-Z on the radio, she was now carrying on about teenage rebellion while gracelessly shaking her ass and garishly sticking out her tongue in the song’s delusory video. All this scantily clad excess unfolded atop a lush midtempo rap/pop crossover production that hip-hop’s reigning sonic architect Mike WiLL Made It had originally pitched to the eminently racy Rihanna. Although Cyrus’ appropriation of twerking and perceived use of her black backup dancers as exotic accessories attracted charges of minstrelsy, most shocking to her pre-existing fan base was the lyric about “dancing with Molly,” which she initially insisted was actually “dancing with Miley.” Those claims didn’t stand up to scrutiny given the song’s wild-child imagery and the bridge’s Slick Rick-referencing rhyme scheme, and indeed during Cyrus’ infamous VMAs performance MTV bleeped out “Molly,” affirming that, yes, she was singing “Molly.” La-da-di-da-di.

6/14: Kanye West Details A Molly Affair To Forget In “Blood On The Leaves”

When Yeezus leaked on “Bad Friday,” one of the initial standouts was “Blood On The Leaves,” which Tom instantly cited as one of the album’s most incredible musical moments and “probably the most deeply discomfiting song here.” The song concerns a romance gone bad with a woman who tried to “Gold Digger” Kanye into having a baby with him after they partied on X together: “Let’s take it back to the first party/ When you tried your first Molly/ And came out of your body/ And came out of your body/ Running naked down the lobby/ And you was screamin’ that you love me.” That Kanye transposed those ideas with a sample from Nina Simone’s lynching lament “Strange Fruit” was more than a little unsettling; his endless warbling in Auto-Tune throughout the song’s outro delved even deeper into paranoia, ambivalence and self-pity than the similar segment on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Runaway.” Question: Is “Blood On The Leaves” about “Mary” from “Mercy”? Only Jesus and Yeezus can answer that one.

7/4: Jay Z Raps Against Molly On Magna Carta… Holy Grail

Molly hadn’t gone away by the time Jay Z released his mobile-app-as-album on Independence Day, so in keeping with his carefully cultivated “business, man” elder statesman image, he demonstrate that he was above such child’s play. Thus “I don’t pop Molly, I rock Tom Ford” became the refrain on one of the album’s opulence celebration’s most respectable tracks. As Jay Z tells it, being a dignified grown-ass rapper is about wearing lavishly expensive high-end fashion, not dabbling in the same party drugs as the kids. Better luck next time, Juicy and Danny. (Jay will still happily get fucked up in Paris or fly down to Jamaica just to get some reefer, though.)

8/13: Gucci Mane Releases Molly Mixtape

Gucci’s 2013 mixtape barrage included a trio of drug-themed releases in the dog days of summer under the somewhat confusing banner of World War 3. Drug rap was nothing new for our fair Guwop, and as Tom noted, these tapes exhibited the former king of Atlanta hip-hop in a mid-career renaissance. But if A-Trak is looking to shine a spotlight on drug rap’s dark side, the Trap God’s very public meltdown less than a month after World War 3’s release is a good place to start.

8/23: Juicy J Releases Stay Trippy

The godfather of drug rap releases his victory lap, a full hour of carefully articulated, chemically altered carnality. He was smokin’, he was rollin’.

9/1: Electric Zoo Cancels Its Final Day After Two MDMA-Related Deaths

Here’s where Molly really got ugly: Two revelers at the New York EDM festival Electric Zoo died from complications related to MDMA over Labor Day weekend. Four others were rendered critically ill, and the city cited the “serious health risks” of allowing the event to continue. Organizers canceled the Randall’s Island fest’s final day and issued this statement:

The founders of Electric Zoo send our deepest condolences to the families of the two people who passed away this weekend. Because there is nothing more important to us than our patrons, we have decided in consultation with the New York City Parks Department that there will be no show today.

At that point, Molly was a full-fledged media frenzy, with news reports tipping off America’s parents to their kids’ hallucinatory exploits. It was becoming clear that the nu-rave scene wasn’t the utopia that the Electric Zoo trailer made it out to be and that there was such a thing as raging too hard.

9/13: Sky Ferreira Is Arrested For Possessing Ecstasy

As summer turned to fall, DIIV frontman Zachary Cole Smith and girlfriend/collaborator/pop auteur Sky Ferreira were arrested for drug possession in Saugerties, New York. Smith had $420 worth of heroin on his person, while Ferreira was carrying ecstasy. Ferreira apologized for the incident, but she later offered a personal defense to Rolling Stone: “Because the truth is, they probably all do ecstasy, but they’re all high and holy. Other people have given me shit about it, and I’m like, ’It’s on the radio!’ Like every song is a song about Molly. That’s life. I’m not saying that people should do ecstasy, but at least it’s a happy drug.” Expect that happiness to continue when Ferreira tours with noted Molly connoisseur Miley Cyrus next year.

9/19: Danny Brown Releases His “Dip” Video, A Full-Length Tribute To Losing Your Mind On Molly

Detroit tasmanian devil/drug fiend/elder statesman Danny Brown has been rapping about ecstasy since before it was cool; now that everybody else is doing it, Brown’s still doing it better. His monumental Old painted both sides of the Molly experience in stark clarity; “Dip,” from the LP’s hedonistic second half, depicts the drug’s euphoric upside. Brown was on a roll, and like Lieutenant Dan, he was rolling.

Comments (42)
  1. This article is really stupid because it basically glorifies / promotes the use of the drug even when it highlights the bad aspects of it (deaths, arrests, aging Jay Z.) There’s enough praise about the “cool” hip-hop songs involving molly references to neutralize that anyway. It’s a dumb message to recognize a hard drug as anything but a poor decision.

    • How do you manage to always have both the first and most downvoted comment on every thread? Did you spend years mastering the art of trolling music forums?

    • i dunno.. musicians have been and will be writing songs about drug use for some time now. stereogum’s article is just pointing out the trendiness of the drug in pop music this year, and outlining that the drug has both a light and dark side to it.

      what do you want the writer’s to do, put a D.A.R.E. ad at the end of the article?

      • They’ve already put Verizon ads at the beginning of them, so might as well offset it with one that serves the greater good of the world, no?

        • I don’t disagree, but the only contemporary anti-drug ad’s that stick in the mind are the super-dark meth ad’s. Let’s come up with 2014 version of Scruff McGruff. Love that guy.

    • MDMA is not a hard drug. In fact, it’s being used in credible studies right now to help people cope with post-traumatic stress disorder, among other things.

      • Oxycodone is used in hospitals. Microdoses of LSD may have viable uses in treating depression. But in the context of people taking those substances just to get high, I’d still consider them “hard drugs.”

        • I don’t know if I’d agree with that. Oxycontin has insane physical and mental addiction properties, and when taking in the context “just to get high” clearly has massive detrimental effects to the individual. But pure MDMA, when not cut with any crap like speed, etc, is relatively safe, even in the context of “just to get high”. I guess it’s just semantics and what your definition of “hard drugs” is.

          Personally, I just think labels like “hard drugs” can be misleading when talking about things like MDMA/LSD/Psilocybin, which when used with a level responsibility and maturity, can have many psychological benefits. They shouldn’t just be lumped into the same category as Heroin and Cocaine.

          • Have you ever done coke or heroin?

            MDMA has addictive qualities. Anytime you boost your serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels (like MDMA does) it has a negative and harmful effect on the body.

            MDMA, coke, heroin, crack, crystal, speed, whatever you want to call them, they are all hard drugs that are damaging to the brain, the body, and the mind.

            If you want to talk about the addictive properties of the drug, heroin is the drug that takes the longest for you to get addicted to. (For most people it takes months of steady use.) While alcohol does more damage to internal organs then all of those drugs combined.

            I’m all for expanding the mind and getting high, but use it responsibly people. The media should not be posting positive articles about drug use. It just gives the drug hype, which causes more people to “be curious” and use it.

          • When I walk into a room, and see someone sitting on a couch with folded drinking straws crammed in his teeth to prevent damaging grinding and his eyes darting wildly while staring into nothing, and then move into a pacing, obviously agitated phase where they can’t settle down for hours, I see a hard drug.

      • Not to nitpick TOO much, but LSD is considered a “soft drug.”

  2. I enjoyed reading this. It’s a shame EDM is only discussed in sites like Stereogum when mentioning deaths due to MDMA. Many producers and their music deserve better. On that level, I wish the drug wasn’t as culturally relevant. Still, this article does go to show the blending of genres into the monogenre, like you once wrote about. Artists of all colors and styles are hyping the same drug. It’s interesting to think about.

  3. That Travis Porter instance is only egregious because you can tell he put in ollie just to rhyme with molly. Whose favourite trick is an ollie anyway?

  4. MDMA and ecstacy aren’t the same though… MDMA is just an ingredient for ectasy. It also contains Speed, to give the user more energy.

    Something pure MDMA really doesn’t. It just makes you feel real good and happy af. just sayin. :)

    • You’re wrong. Ecstasy and Molly are both simply nicknames for MDMA. MDMA has been around for a long time and when the designer drug (synthetic, man-made) gained in popularity in the party scene, it was nicknamed Ecstasy. Like many designer drugs (and just like today’s “Molly”), it eventually would be cut with stuff to either make it cheaper for the seller, more effective if “stomped on” (like adding speed and other crap to increase the quantity and power while pure MDMA may be harder to obtain), etc. Any fool that doesn’t test their ecstasy, molly, whatever and assumes it’s pure because “they know their dealer” or “it’s molly, not ecstasy”, or it’s a powder or liquid and not a pill is stupid. Pills are made from pressed powder and either can easily be made into a liquid.

      It’s funny/sad how many young people are totally clueless about the fact that Molly is just a nickname for a drug, and Ecstasy is as well…for the same exact drug. Just because someone’s calling something they hand to you Molly, doesn’t mean it’s not a mix of shit. Both Ecstasy and Molly are SUPPOSED to be MDMA but drug makers/dealers aren’t always aiming for integrity.

      • I’ll accept this as the answer to my question below.

        The term “Molly” used to mean pure MDMA but it most definitely isn’t nowadays.

        • Molly had built-in marketing from the start, as it’s short for “Molecule”…and Molecule suggests a pure compound. I remember in the late ’90s Molecule was popping up at Phish shows and it was, for the most part, pure MDMA. Then the name became Molly and the idea of it being a cleaner option stuck.

      • These days ecstasy almost exclusively refers to a cocktail of MDMA and other substances like speed pressed into a colored pill while Molly refers to the loose white powder MDMA in a capsule or just loose in a bag. That isn’t to say that Molly is usually pure MDMA (it’s not) just that there is a distinction between the two names.

      • I trust my dealer implicitly. Probably the most upstanding, morally grounded person I know.

  5. Good read. I don’t promote it, but nonetheless, “Molly”/MDMA/Ecstasy is always an interesting subject.

    I do feel like this same article could have been written in ’99-2000 though, replacing these artists with the likes of Dre, Eminem and Missy. The rave scene was drawing headlines back then… but mostly on the news rather than internet outlets, which is why it feels so much prominent these days. Case in point, my parent’s fully know what “Molly” is now, while a decade ago the only thing they associated “rolling” and drug use with was rolling a joint.

  6. A note on that Tyga song; god damn are Tyga’s videos ever amazing. The way he flawlessly integrates tired sci-fi tropes and tired rap video tropes is kind of flawless.

  7. Will somebody tell me when Molly went from being pure crystallized Ecstasy/MDMA to what it seems to be now, which is a powder you rub on your gums? Seems like somewhere along the way the term became a nickname for something else entirely. Powdered drugs are the worst since they can be faked and manipulated so easily.

    REMEMBER KIDS!

    Only take you what you can handle and ALWAYS know your dealer!

  8. Not to mention Yeezus’ “Blood On the Leaves”, in which Molly is the catalyst to the whole story.

  9. MDMA was initially designed to treat mood disorders in the 70s. Angela Bowie credits it with saving her live in Backstage Passes. It’s popularity has nothing do with it being considered for medical use. And what’s with people acting like it’s some new drug? It’s been in the mainstream for almost 30 years. Kids these days!

  10. I love that quote about Travis Porter from Tom.

    “It’s okay that they suck because them sucking is part of the appeal!”

  11. 2013: the year rappers discovered Molly. Next year, they’ll discover Zima and trip-hop.

  12. <a http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INVKNhOpYhs

    The vas alines were so ahead of the curve. (I’m trying to learn html, hope this works.)

  13. Hey what about The Prince Paul as Chest Rockwell skit on “Twin Hype” on Run the Jewels?

  14. drugs r dangerous u could get addicted and lose your football scholarship to u of i or even worse you could disappoint ur mom or her new bf

  15. i find it really weird that it’s called molly in the states, here in the uk we call her mandy.

    • Molly is short for Molecule, which is what the powder or liquid form of (supposedly) pure MDMA was nicknamed in the mid ’90s, a midst a growing amount of Ecstasy pills that were cut with other stuff (even though Ecstasy was supposed to be pure MDMA as well when it first hit the public). The name “Molecule” was to suggest that it’s pure, and in some cases it was.

  16. “Asked her what’s her favorite trick, she said a ollie / Asked her what’s her favorite drug, she told me Molly.”

    So her favorite drug is Molly, huh? How is that line egregious or even mildly controversial?

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