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The Best Rap/Recovery Songs About Addiction

by Landmark Recovery

May 3, 2018
Headphones an individual can use to listen to recovery songs

Addiction is an isolating disease that draws us further and further away from those closest to us. Sometimes it can feel as though you are all alone, facing your demons alone. Fortunately, there are artists out there who have struggled with addiction as well. Artists like the ones included on this list can help you find solace, encouragement, and compassion while in the midst of great difficulty.


Recovery Songs To Listen To

Headphones an individual can use to listen to recovery songs


Macklemore – Kevin


Macklemore penned this tribute to his friend Kevin, who passed away from an overdose of prescription pain pills in 2010. The song appeared on his album “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made”, and contains numerous references to Oxycontin and the greed of the pharmaceutical industry.

Macklemore has been open about his battles with drugs and addiction. Since a young age he struggled with alcoholism and later abuse of Oxycontin pills. His family eventually convinced him to go to rehab at the age of 25 and since then he has been an outspoken advocate for sobriety and helping addicts recover. Read some of the lyrics below:

I seen pain, I felt the losses

Attended funerals and seen coffins

21 years old, an angel was lost here

Wings clipped by the grip of 80 milligram sniffs of oxycontin

He was gonna quit tomorrow, we’re all gonna quit tomorrow

Just get us through the weekend, and then Monday follows

Then it’s Wednesday, then it’s ‘f*** it, I’m already feeling hollow’

Might as well go crack a seal and might as well go chug a bottle

First dealer was his mom’s medicine cabinet

Got anxiety, better go and give him a Xanax

Focus, give him Adderall, sleep, give him Ambien

‘Til he’s walking ’round the city looking like a mannequin

Doctor, please, give me a dose of the American Dream

Put down the pen and look in my eyes

We’re in the waiting room and something ain’t right

All this is on you, we’re over-prescribed


Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Drank)


Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar is another rapper who has experienced his share of problems caused by addiction. He’s written numerous songs about the pitfalls of drug use and alcoholism, but perhaps his most impactful is the single from his certified classic album “Good Kid Maad City”.

The song chronicles Kendrick’s own struggles with alcohol. It takes place at a house party and contains a back and forth conversation between Kendrick’s conscious and himself. Kendrick debates the consequences of continuing to drink more alcohol and the societal pressures that are pushing him to do it.

Now I done grew up ’round some people livin’ their life in bottles

Granddaddy had the golden flask

Backstroke everyday in Chicago

Some people like the way it feels

Some people wanna kill their sorrows

Some people wanna fit in with the popular, that was my problem

I wave a few bottles, then I watch ’em all flock

All the girls wanna play Baywatch

I got a swimming pool full of liquor and they dive in it

Pool full of liquor, I’ma dive in it

If I take another one down

I’ma drown in some poison, abusin’ my limit

I think that I’m feelin’ the vibe, I see the love in her eyes

I see the feelin’, the freedom is granted

As soon as the damage of vodka arrived

All I have in life is my new appetite for failure

And I got hunger pain that grow insane

Tell me, do that sound familiar?

If it do, then you’re like me

Makin’ excuse that your relief

Is in the bottom of the bottle and the greenest indo leaf


Eminem – Not Afraid


Eminem’s battles with addiction have featured prominently throughout nearly every album since the original Slim Shady LP. In fact, he even released a series of albums based around the themes of addiction: (Relapse, Recovery, and Revival). His struggles with painkillers such as Valium and Vicodin wound up even putting him in the hospital.

“Not Afraid” is a single from his Recovery album, and is a triumphant anthem about overcoming struggles to stand proud. Eminem has used much of his music as an outlet for the inner demons and personal challenges he has faced.

I’m not afraid to take a stand

Everybody, come take my hand

We’ll walk this road together, through the storm

Whatever weather, cold or warm

Thought I had it mapped out, but I guess I didn’t

This f***in’ black cloud still follows me around

But it’s time to exorcise these demons

These muh’f***ers are doin’ jumpin’ jacks now

And I just can’t keep livin’ this way

So startin’ today, I’m breakin’ out of this cadence

I’m standin’ up, I’ma face my demons

I’m mannin’ up, I’ma hold my ground

It was my decision to get clean, I did it for me

Admittedly I probably did it subliminally for you

So I could come back a brand-new me

You helped see me through


J. Cole – Once an Addict

Jermaine Cole is a 33 year old rapper from Fayetteville, North Carolina. His latest release, KOD, is a long meditation on addiction, whether it be chemical dependency, a tantalizing lifestyle, or sexual addiction.

In “Once an Addict”, J.Cole details his feelings towards his own mother’s relationship with alcoholism. The song explores the burdensome feelings of love and hate that someone who loves an addict must suffer as they watch the downward spiral. He relates his mother’s struggles back to his own problems with weed and alcohol addiction.

Step-daddy just had a daughter with another woman

Mama ain’t recover yet

Callin’ me at 12 at night

She drunk as f*** and I’m upset

I gotta leave this house ’cause part of me dies when I see her like this

Too young to deal with pain

I’d rather run the streets than see her kill herself

So ‘Ville became my escape from a feelin’ I hate

And then I’d have to end up seein’ my hero on ground zero

Tears flow while Al Green blow

Love and happiness

I wish that I could say the right words to cheer her up

I wish her son’s love was enough

This ain’t the woman I know, why I just sit and observe?

Why don’t I say how I feel?

When I do, she’s defensive for real

Well maybe things get better with time, I heard it heals

Little did I know how deep her sadness would go

Lookin’ back, I wish I woulda did more instead of runnin’


Mac Miller – Malibu



Mac Miller’s 2014 mixtape Faces is a long, drawn out exploration on themes of addiction, exploring the highs and lows of drug abuse along with the emotional toll it takes on a person after extended use. Mac has been vocal about his abuse of codeine, known as lean, and the addictive stimulant cocaine.

There are numerous songs about addiction on the mixtape such as Angel Dust, Therapy, and Funeral, but one standout is Malibu. The song is primarily about the deadly pull of hard drugs, and the self loathing that accompanies abuse.

Its Air Jordan on my flip-flops

And kill me now if I did it all for hip-hop

I might die before I detox

This ain’t high-school, no little student I can cheat off

I’m recording like I’ll die tomorrow

At the rate I’m getting high, it’ll be hard for me to find tomorrow

But I just pray that I’ll survive tomorrow

As she cries in sorrow, she just needs some time to borrow

She’ll be smiling by tomorrow

Everything will be so fine tomorrow

Put the white away, we can do some lines tomorrow

85 grand get you a heavy ass wrist

They ain’t killin’ they just yellin’, that’s it

A deadly combination with that ecstasy sniff

On the phone probably yellin’ at Rich

Say, double the money, please, double the money

Triple the problems, double the money

They was all laughing, wasn’t that funny

I started f***ing with drugs and now I’m a junkie


Whenever you are ready to take the first steps to overcome addiction, we will be here for you. These songs and other songs about addiction along with recovery quotes are a great way to facilitate the process of early recovery. Read and listen to these words often. When paired with the support of drug and alcohol recovery centers, your chance for a long-term recovery is high, and your future is bright! You will start and continue to do amazing things, and you, as well as others will notice your amazing progress in recovery.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.