If Lil' Wayne has a drug problem, I wish he'd just come out and tell America about it. You can waste your time making fun of TMZ for their reporting on the story, but face the facts: Dwayne Carter, Jr., was in Cedars-Sinai hospital for nearly a week after suffering at least one seizure and his history of drug use is well-documented. 

 Monday, he was released after a wealth a outrage was expressed

(Hans Deryk/REUTERS)

at the gossip site. But, let me ask you: Do you really believe 'Tha Carter' wasn't potentially close to death knowing what we do about his past? If his drug use is regularly putting him in the hospital, he's doing himself and the hip-hop community a disservice by lying about it. 

 I hope that the 30-year-old is clean. As one of the truly creative, even if wild-minded artists of his generation, it would be unfortunate to see him turn into the Rick James of his era. 

 In 2009, in his VH1 "Behind the Music" documentary, Wayne said, in reference to his proclivity toward the drug known as lean, "I don't care if it was heroin in my cup. It's in MY cup. (expletive) you."

In the February 2011 Rolling Stone cover story titled "Lil Wayne: Return of the Hip-Hop King," Josh Eeels wrote, "before he went to jail, Wayne chain-smoked blunts like they were Marlboro Lights. (He purportedly used to take his bus instead of flying, because he didn't like going that long without getting high.) That was on top of his promethazine-laced cough-syrup habit that left him in a thick perma-haze."

 That's not to mention countless other mentions of it in his actual music. Monday, on HOT 97's Angie Martinez show, Wayne's label mate and 'father' Birdman made a boilerplate appearance, claiming that exhaustion was the lone reason for the lengthy hospital stay. 

"We already know. It's like the second or third time," Birdman said. "They can't tell you nothing but get some rest and change what you've been doing."  He didn't sound like a guy coming from a routine hospital visit to see a friend. 

The larger issue here is that it seems that personal health is knocking down a lot of rap artists these days. 

Early last year, Rick Ross suffered his third seizure in six months. Tone Loc, who's still performing these days, collapsed on stage over the weekend in Iowa. Then reportedly refused to go a hospital afterwards.

I really hope that health scares aren't becoming some badge of honor in the name of hard work. Frequent alcohol and marijuana consumption are not to be overlooked, but let's take a look back at some recent incidents that claimed lives of beloved artists.

In 2007, Pimp C, born Chad Butler was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel room after an apparent overdose of promethazine and codeine. The popular rapper of UGK fame was 33.

 In March 2011, Nate Dogg, the legendary G-Funk crooner, passed away after complications that left him holding on to life after two major strokes in 2007 and 2008. Five months before his death, Warren G was pleading publicly with fans to help Nate with medical bills to the tune of a couple hundred grand. It was sad.

Later that year, Heavy D, the new-jack impresario that moved on to become a Hollywood fixture collapsed in front of his Beverly Hills home. It was 10 days after the BET Hip Hop Awards in which he made his first live performance in 15 years. He weighed 344 lbs. at the time of his death.

Everyone can come upon problems that are difficult to overcome — be they drug addiction, financial woes or personal weight issues. But what's clear is that health is just not a priority in the rap game. 

It used to be and still is, depending on your status, that getting shot was a common threat for rappers in the game. Maybe it's time for artists to stop worrying so much about who's trying to kill them, and put more emphasis on not killing themselves.

Yates is a columnist for The RootDC