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The Gangsta Grillz innovator joined Rick Rubin, Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, and Justin Richmond for an episode of the Broken Record podcast on Sept. 12 and spoke about his rollercoaster journey with opioids. He revealed that he first checked himself into rehab at the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic and was released a few months later, only to relapse toward the end of the year as the world gradually opened back up.
The 45-year-old DJ shared a gripping storing about nearly overdosing at his Atlanta home right around when he was set to shoot scenes for the Netflix film You People. Upon speaking with one of the movie’s actors, Jonah Hill, he resolved to get his act together and get clean. “I used to tell [my therapist] Amy all the time, ‘My biggest fear is ending up like Michael Jackson or Prince… if it can take the lives of Michael Jackson or Prince, who the f**k am I?'” he said. “That was always my fear.”
In 2022, DJ Drama was presented with an incredible opportunity to tour with Wiz Khalifa and Logic, but that also came with the fear of relapsing once again. He believed embarking on the Vinyl Verse Tour would lead to one of three things: touring and buying Percocets, risking buying Percocets from dealers that couldn’t be trusted, or not buying Percocets and battling withdrawals. This led to the Generation Now co-founder entering rehab once again.
Back in May, he joined Shanti Das-Healing for a fireside chat on Silence The Shame TV where he spoke about the financial burden of his addiction. “I know how easy it is for it to become a problem,” Drama said. “It’s scary. The scariest part and the most dangerous part is that it was a five-to-six thousand dollar a month habit I had… I was spending close to six figures a year on opioids. I was in a position where I could afford the type of habit of doing that. The average person can’t do that. The next step after opioids or not being able to afford consistent Percocets is heroin.”
Even in his darkest stage, Drama considered himself a “functional junkie” and was still able to work on music. The biggest example was his collaboration with Tyler, The Creator on the 2021 Grammy-winning album Call Me When You Get Lost.
Now DJ Drama revels in the fact he is stronger and more resilient. He anticipates the 22nd of every month as it means another month without relapsing. On Friday (Sept. 22), he will celebrate 14 months clean. This comes with a strong run of projects over the last year, namely work with Yo Gotti, G Perico, Jeezy, Kash Doll, Snoop Dogg, French Montana, and his own album, I’m Really Like That, which came out in March.
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