The Weeknd's 10 Greatest Lyrical Drug References

The Weeknd performs in 2015
Rachel Murray/WireImage

The Weeknd performs on Feb. 7, 2015 in Los Angeles.

By now, most of the Weeknd’s fans under the age of 85 have figured out that the reason he can't feel his face is because cocaine numbs facial muscles when insufflated. But Abel Tesfaye wasn’t always so cheeky with his drug references; especially in his earlier work, his nods to narcotic use were quite transparent, and at times nihilistic. We’ve rounded up some of his more memorable references in an attempt to understand what could hurt so bad to need all those drugs. Our ten favorites are below:

10. “Often," Beauty Behind the Madness
“My god white, he in my pocket/ He get me redder than the devil 'til I go nauseous”

On one of his sophomore LP’s finer moments, Tesfaye likens his Bolivian Marching Powder to a deity, describing the drug’s side effects (nausea, redness) with some cute heaven/hell imagery. 

9. “Rolling Stone," Thursday
“Cause getting faded too long
Got me on this rolling stone
So I take another hit
Kill another serotonin
With a hand full of beans
And a chest full of weed
Got me singing bout a bitch
While I'm blowing out my steam’

Here on early mixtape Thursday, Tesfaye puts a new spin on the tried-and-true metaphor of the rolling stone, likening it to his perpetual high (“rolling” is also slang for taking MDMA). Wallowing in a threesome with Molly and Mary Jane, he admits that it will all likely lead to lower serotonin levels, which has been linked to depression.

The Weeknd to Kick Off New 'SNL' Season as Musical Guest

8. “The Zone," Thursday
“And I'mma lean, till I fall, ooh yeah
And I don’t give a damn
I felt the ground before
I left it all behind, baby”

“Lean”ing on codeine promethazine syrup, on this Drake-featuring Thursday track, Tesfaye says he’s going to consume the drug until he physically falls down. When he talks about having “felt the ground before,” it’s clear that he’s really talking about hitting bottom in general.

7. “Wicked Games," House of Balloons
“Take a shot of this
But I'm warning you
I'm on that shit that you can't smell, baby
So, put down your perfume”

Debut mixtape House of Balloons is arguably the Weeknd's most drug-addled -- here on “Wicked Games,” as Tesfaye invites his new partner into his hedonistic pursuits, he assures her that there’s no need for perfume: The drugs they’re doing don’t smell, and with the condition his nose is in, he won’t be able to smell it anyway.

The Weeknd Unveils Second New 'Starboy' Single, the Frantic 'False Alarm': Listen

6. “Loft Music," House of Balloons
“What you doing in the bathroom?
I hear noises in the bathroom
Baby, it's okay
We can do it in the living room
Twisting turns in 'em, the only girls that we f-ck with
Seem to have 20 different pills in 'em”

On this House of Balloons track, a young lady Tesfaye has invited to his loft for some casual sex and drug use appears to be doing drugs in the bathroom; always a gentleman, he assures her that all the women he sleeps with do drugs and it’s fine if she does them in the living room.

5. “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls," House of Balloons
“Two puffs for the lady who be down for that
Whatever, together
Bring your own stash of the greatest, trade it
Roll a dub, burn a dub, cough a dub, taste it
Then watch us chase it
With a handful of pills, no chasers
Jaw clenching on some super-sized papers”

Based on their appearance in his lyrics, Abel Tesfaye’s favorite drugs are alcohol, codeine syrup, marijuana, cocaine, and MDMA. He appears to enjoy mixing them at various consistencies, and on this early House of Balloons cut, he details some of his methods.

4. “Kiss Land," Kiss Land
“God damn I'm high
My doctor told me to stop
And he gave me something to pop
And I mix it up with some Adderalls and I wait to get to the top
And I mix it up with some alcohol and I pour it up in a shot
I don't care about you, why you worried 'bout me?
All I want is that smoke, give me all of that smoke
Last week was my rough week, I'm still drippin' down from my nose
And I don't know how to drive, I make my driver get high”

While sad stoned sex is all well and good, The Weeknd’s music often veers into darker territory: Here on the title track for debut LP Kiss Land, Tesfaye is yet again mixing his drugs, even forcing his driver to partake as well.

3. “Gone," Thursday
“I'm only 21 so I do it when I wanna
Gone from the codeine, 'methazine, lean
Got me feelin' kinda weak
And it's kinda hard to breathe
But you're turning 23, so I'll f-ck you if you need”

Barely old enough to drink alcohol, Tesfaye is nevertheless interested in drinking enough codeine syrup to seriously affect his breathing. Sleep apnea caused by codeine syrup overdose killed Pimp C. Being a chivalrous knight, Tesfaye offers to power though in order to gift his lady friend with some birthday sex.

2. “The Afterparty," Thursday
“I got a brand new girl
Call her Rudolph
She'll probably O.D. before I show her to momma”

He calls her Rudolph because of her red nose. Her nose is red because she inhales cocaine. He assumes she will eventually overdose, but is mostly concerned with her not being around to meet his mother. Priorities.

1. “The Hills," Beauty Behind the Madness
“I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I'm fucked up, that's the real me”

This might be the tamest reference of all, but if it doesn’t encapsulate the Weeknd’s brand in a single couplet, we’re not sure what ever could.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.