- DEC 5, 2023
- 2 Songs
For an MC who first shot to fame by joking about his weed-induced inability to get anything done, Afroman has proven to be one of the most industrious rap artists of the 21st century. Born Joseph Foreman in 1974, Afroman tried to make it in his native L.A. before settling in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the late ‘90s. It was there, in a thick haze of pot smoke, that he recorded the track “Because I Got High,” a lovably lackadaisical ode to his perpetually stoned ineptitude, giggles and all. Ostensibly a song about the pitfalls of smoking marijuana that doesn’t exactly discourage its use, “Because I Got High” became an early case study in how left-field underground tracks could find a wide audience through then-nascent file-sharing networks. (Frequent airplay on The Howard Stern Show also didn’t hurt.) The proto-viral success of “Because I Got High” landed Afroman a deal with Universal; the label rereleased the track with some of his other early recordings on the 2001 compilation The Good Times, which yielded another perfectly on-brand hit in the Cheech & Chong-referencing folk-hop jam “Crazy Rap (Colt 45 & 2 Zig Zags).” But if Afroman had all the makings of a flash-in-the-pan novelty—a narrative supported by his subsequent split with Universal—he’s since parlayed his unlikely commercial success into a veritable DIY empire, self-releasing multiple albums and mixtapes per year. Throughout it all, Afroman’s music has retained its essential lo-tech/high-concept charm. On the 2014 single “One Hit Wonder,” he cheekily appropriates Del Shannon’s early-’60s classic “Runaway” to address his own fleeting moment in the spotlight: “As I hit the bong, I wonder/What went wrong with my/mainstream hip-hop fans.” But he’s not feeling sorry for himself; he’s pitying them for missing out on all the stoner-rap gold he’s mined since.
- Los Angeles, CA, United States