Why subscribe?

You’ll receive occasional dispatches about drugs, hip-hop, or both, and have access to my full archive. Here are examples.

The Hip-Hop 25: This list counts down the 25 best rap artists in history. These long entries feature rare photos and my never-published interviews with members of acts including Outkast, Run-DMC, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, N.W.A, and many more.

Tom Petty’s Death: “I spoke with one of Petty’s lawyers, who said that after a concert performance shortly before his death Petty ventured onto the street outside the venue, and asked a random person to sell him pills. It seems likely that one of these black market pills was cut with fentanyl, and that’s what killed him.”

Ask a Fentanyl Saleswoman: I spent over a year investigating a Chinese chemical company called Yuancheng, which sold fentanyl ingredients, and my expose made international news. Kicking it all off was this conversation I had with this saleswoman.

My Joe Rogan Experience: “Rogan’s hideout is top secret. His booker warned that I couldn’t take any photos or ‘geo-tag the location in social media posts.’ Sort of a cross between a man cave and an art gallery, the studio sits inside a windowless bunker, nondescript from the outside, about the size of a small airplane hangar.”

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From West Coast gangsta rap to Wuhan synthetic drug labs


Ben Westhoff is the author of Fentanyl, Inc., about new synthetic drugs, and Original Gangstas, about the birth of West Coast Hip-Hop. He writes the Substack newsletter Drugs + Hip-Hop.