Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Whatchya Sippin On??

Whether it be a 40 of Old English, a styrofoam cup of lean, a swig of hennessy or a sip of crunk juice - rappers have been rhyming about sipping liquid since the early stages of hip hop's creation. Artists such as Tha Alkaholiks and Drank-A-Lot of The Luniz emerged over time fully embracing the art of drinking up big, both in their names and in their music. Tha Liks debut album, '21 & Over' not only pictured the trio reaching to a fridge packed with 40's on the cover, but also played host to tracks such as 'Only When I'm Drunk' and 'Last Call'.

Fellow Likwit Crew member and mainstay of the Compton rap scene King Tee recorded the short yet funky DJ Pooh produced 'King Tee's Beer Stand' which featured Ice Cube and was recorded as a marketing jingle for the St. Ides Malt Liquor company for a mixtape but was soon withdrawn due to controversy, instead it found its way on King Tee's 1993 'Tha Triflin Album' release. St Ide's also pursued promotion of their product through various other rappers including the likes of Snoop, The Geto Boys, Nate Dogg, EPMD and the Wu Tang Clan who all featured on various commercials for the company.

Various 40 ounce bottles of brew have made their way on to countless hip hop album covers over the years, for example on Jay Tee's (CEO of 40oz Records) 'So Cold' album, Street Military's 'Next Episode' which also has a disc resembling a 40oz label, the aforementioned Alkaholiks covers, the insert of Sir Mix-A-Lot's 'Mack Daddy', Duce Duce's 'A Sip Of The Duce' and quite possibly the most well known example, Eazy E's classic 'It's On' EP, which pictures the late Compton legend pouring out some liquor while standing up against a brick wall to resemble the death of Dre's career. Subsequently, Eazy E's 1996 posthumous release 'Str8 Off Tha Streetz of Muthaphuckin Compton' featured the 40 Oz. themed 'Sippin On A 40' featuring BG Knoccout and Dre'sta.

Aside from the malt liquor variety of drinking tracks there is one of the Vallejo hip hop scene's most celebrated icons, E-40 from The Click, who named himself after his favourite poison. 40 Water also gives various mentions of his love drank in numerous tracks, not in the least 'Carlos Rossi', a dedication to that top of the line wine off of his 'Federal' album. Cypress Hill's 'Tequila Sunrise' off of their 'IV' release is another track that comes to mind when thinking about drink tracks, the track features Barron Ricks and the single's cover is a picture of a custom made Cypress Hill bottle of tequila. The Coup I'm not even going to bother trying to list all the Chicano rappers and their lines about Corona's, but needless to say there's alot of them.

The promo campaign for Esham's 2003 album 'Repentance' consisted of various iconic alcohol labels (Corona, Jack Daniels, Budweiser etc) customized with his album info on it, with the actual album cover following suit. In terms of Australian hip hop there have been a fair few drinking tracks, mostly yobbo raps about drinking VB's etc, but the one to stand out of the crowd for me is Trials' 'Bottleshop', a remix of 50 Cent's 'Candy Shop' that features on a couple of the BattleHoggs mixes. Back to the US and you have Kansas City's Tech N9ne is known for going on about his love for Caribou Lou, even dedicating a whole track to it on his latest album 'Everready: The Religion', really there are just far too many examples to mention but you get the point. You also have the style of tracks that are just a generally about drinking, and not a beverage in particular, for example C Bo's 'Liquor Sto' off of his 'Gas Chamber' album. Also worth mentioning is the age old tradition of pourin' out some liquor for those who've passed on, not merely just a rap thing but still another affiliation with alcohol and hip hop.

Aside from alcohol you have rappers like Lil Jon brining out their own energy drink, in his case 'Crunk Juice', Nelly has his 'Pimp Juice', Esham and co rapping about chugging down embalming fluid and then you have ICP, who have proudly promoted Faygo soda pop throughout their careers, a cost-efficient soft drink that originated in Detroit. Sprite has used hip hop as a tool to promote its product down the track, with the likes of Crazy Legs, Kid Capri & Afrika Bambaataa (see below for full list) promoting the Coca-Cola company drink. Moving the attention to the southern states of America and you have lean, made famous by people like DJ Screw, Three Six Mafia, UGK, Paul Wall, which is a concoction of cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine that is mixed with one of a number of other liquids to create a slowed down sensation for the consumer. The slow motion effects caused by the purple drank spawned the Screwed-&-Chopped phenomenon that was created by the late DJ Screw who would stop playing his normal DJ set at 3am and switch to the slowed down set which is where the name came from. Although the details of DJ Screws death are still a bit sketchy it's believed he O.D.'d on lean. His legacy keeps growing through his crew the S.U.C. (Screwed Up Click) and many other DJ's and producers who have made millions of dollars off of Screw idea and keep bringing out 'Screwed & Chopped' versions of most albums that are coming out of the south, even alot of the classics have been re-released Screwed-&-Chopped, my knowledge of sizzurp is minimal so I'll just leave it there.

So, to wrap this post up, you can see (and would of already been well aware) that drinks have got a fair share of representation in hip hop, especially when it comes to alcohol. I know that what I've mentioned is really only the tip of the iceberg, so feel free to let me know any of the many things I left out. Below are a few tracks about alcohol for your listening pleasure, enjoy.

E 40 - Carlos Rossi
Eazy E ft BG Knoccout & Dre'sta - Sippin On A 40
The Alkaholiks - Only When I'm Drunk
King Tee ft Ice Cube - King Tee's Beer Stand
Tech N9ne - Caribou Lou


RipTheJacker said...

Doesn't cypress hill drink orange juice mixed with beer?? Sounds pretty rough to me. I think they call it Bronze Monkeys.

BULLANT said...

mmm, sounds delicious.

travis said...

nice write up. Drinking and hip hop goes hand in hand. Of course you had the good ole' "8 Ball" by Eazy back in the day.

OJ with beer? Hmmmm, think I'll skip that one. Is that like Brass Monkeys?

BULLANT said...

That's what I was wondering.

DJ Quik's 'Tonight' from 'Quik Is The Name' is another classic.

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