Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pharmaceuticals in Rap Music Part 1: Lean in the Bay Area

The subject of drugs, in this case any substance with intoxicating effects, is a constant and incessant element in the lyrics and much of culture that encompasses and/or involves rap music and its creation. The dope game is really important in rap; it's a huge part of the surroundings of the places where rappers of the past, present, and future grew up and became what they are now, be it successful at a regional or national level (or both, or whatever, fucking who cares bro).  For the most part, I listen to "ignorant" (I hate using this word to describe my preference in music but it helps to shut people the fuck up) rap, gangsta know, the stuff that kids (I use the term"kids"used VERY loosely) in (mostly) urban settings supposedly like. I like it because its the rap music that's hella whimsical and fun to listen to, and which isn't anchored to the positive moral values favored in American society (I guess this would be white society, but I'm not really sure). Ignorant rap has much more creative liberty and is, in my opinion, the most creative and interesting music out there right now (wanna use the terms "gender-bending" and "boundary-pushing" but that just sounds silly...).
I'm talking about the music people really listen to in black neighborhoods, many of which are poor. Selling drugs is a viable option to make quick money and get out of the 'hood, and sometimes may be one of the few possible viable economic endeavors in many of these neighborhoods. It's hard for me to write about this shit, so I hope you, dear reader, get what I'm trying to say. And actually, this is starting to sound super gay and pretentious, so let me pause and "pour up my DRANK!", as they say...
Whoa there, I may have poured a lil' too much lean in my classic styrofoam cup (although it should be double stacked; I'm lookin like a total fukboi right now). Hope I don't nod off and become unable to finish this long-ass rambling post.
Maybe it's just me but, since about the year 2009, I feel like I've been seeing the rise of the subject of pharmaceuticals, pills and prescription drugs in rap music increase slowly but steadily. And this is not only selling the stuff but also consuming it too. First I wanna talk about lean, though. Lean is one the most widely abused pharmaceuticals in the United States and, without a doubt, very much abused by people who listen to and/or make hip-hop music. The phenomenon of prescription Promethazine w/Codeine cough syrup abuse in the black community is already well documented, and this is a decent documentary even though its from Vice:

 Shit,  even I've drank lean a few times (this drug is NOT for me), and I even put fucking jolly ranchers in my cup along with the syrup and the sprite the first time i did it! It sounded like so much fun! It tasted really good. I don't know HOW people drink this shit everyday because the next day I had the worst kind of brain-numbing hangover, felt like my eyes were being forced shut (like some sort of sleep dungeon in my brain!! :p).
The habit of drinking cough syrup, having originated it Houston,  sub-sequentially starting spreading throughout the south, and eventually to black communities all over the U.S. pretty much around the same time (or maybe a lil bit before) the aforementioned Vice Magazine documentary was released, which was around 2007. I feel like it was around 2009 to 2010 when it really started to get big in the Bay Area and, with my ears perked to rap trends and/on the internet, I started to hear about this "dirty sprite" in a lot of the Bay Area's music.
I recall reading a post on successful dope-man (strictly lean and packs of that loud)  Young Doonie's tumblr (couldn't find said post) where he said something like "back in 2009 the East was FLOODED with 'bo..." (the East meaning East-Oakland and "'bo" being the Bay Area slang term for this prescription syrup). Time has passed and lean has gained popularity, and now this gotdamn syrup is SUPER EXPENSIVE.
Supposedly, the minimum quantity of lean in the Bay Area available for purchase on them skreets is 1.5 ounces for 60 bucks, or $350-$650 for a pint, known as a "brick".  Prices probably vary quite a lot depending who you're dealing with, and remember, you guys: No seal, No deal!!!!!
Anyways, the stuff is still super popular out here in the Bay (here's a bonus pic from my instagram) and those kind of prices reflect the current demand, and the super high profit margins, for this strange warm-cozy-sleep/relaxation inducing concoction that only costs $20 to $40 bucks with a valid prescription at your local pharmacy. With such high prices and everybody wanting this stuff, there's quite a lot of fuckery going on, such as people making fake lean out of crushed up xanax diluted into  homemade syrups dyed with purple food coloring, or the the "stretching" of legit prescribed lean by using Karo syrup, as illustrated in this 2011 music video by one of my Bay favorites, Cousin Fik:

Interestingly enough though, the practice of selling lean and other drugs, and the (glorified consumption of said substances) has been moved to the popular smartphone app Instagram. And, since you asked, why yes, Fat Trel DOES put gummy worms in his drank:

In my many hours of browsing Instagram, I found a TON Instagram drug dealer accounts, where the dealer will actually Fedex the shit to your house. More on instagram hustlin later though, as I have to get ready for work. I've got photos, you guys! It's gonna be really great!



    Peace to that Bay drug dealer's tumblr with all the fake jordans and true religion monstrosities.

  2. Heck Yeah Bruh keep it coming

  3. Ugh...get off your pretentious and gay high horse already, Nyquil. This is just another example of how Cobra$wag has completely lost touch with the common man.

  4. THANK YOU FOR THIS INFORMATIVE AND INTERESTING POST. It's weird how huge bo has become in the Bay in the last few years. Really looking forward to reading part 2!

  5. Really hyped on this. I hope you continue to find it in yourself to make longer write ups like this. here's my fucking english class constructive criticism: Keep your audience in mind. Clarifying certain things that the majority of your readers already familiar with can make it sound like you are talking down to them. Overall, great post!

    Also, If I'm getting bricks from you you better let me pop the seal, or else I'm going to pop the steel.

    1. Really appreciate the constructive criticism dawg, no joke. I fuckin KNEW I was over-clarifying a bunch of shit, but I was trying to get squares to ride with team Cobraswag, you feel meh?!?!
      Glad your hyped on it. Just wish folks would leave a name, or a website or a twitter account or, fuckit, even a gotdamn etsy account, anything really, when you leave a comment. So I can peep your shit too. Its really cool to see whom actually reads this silly blog. Shit, I probably know you and you're Alex or Willy or somebody I know or am friends with

  6. Thanks for This particular Educational AND INTERESTING POST. It really is strange precisely how large bo is becoming inside the Bay over the last couple of years. Truly getting excited about studying component Only two!
    FF14 Gil
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  7. we want part two!