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The role Houston lean culture played in Travis Scott music festival tragedy

The role Houston lean culture played in Travis Scott music festival tragedy
Travis Scott (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Travis Scott‘s Astroworld Music Festival was the talk of hip hop after eight people died and hundreds more were injured on Nov. 5.

The tragedy around the Houston rapper brings up the darker side of the city’s culture. For decades, Houston has been known for its grills, chop-and-screwed DJ mixes and lean drinking. Lean is a recreational drug beverage mixed with prescription cough syrup and a soft drink. Popular hip hop figures like rappers Pimp C and Fredo Santana died from complications stemming from lean, as well as A$AP Yams, co-owner of the A$AP Mob collective.


In addition to overselling tickets and having another large group of fans storm into the venue, Houston Police chief Troy Finner, claimed an event security guard was pricked with a needle of drugs that made the officer go unconscious. Narcan, used to treat narcotic overdoses, was used to revive the security guard. Lean is considered an opioid. Despite the police chief’s report, however, many fans that attended the show denied claims someone injected attendees with drugs to cause the deaths.

“It wasn’t drug-related, ppl were getting trampled,” DJ Billy Nasser posted on his Instagram story.


Lean is a drug Scott once publicly affiliated with before he denounced the use of drugs in his creative process in 2017. After DMX’s death in April, rapper Azealia Banks claimed Scott was on lean and drugs.

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