We were all set up for an interview with Afroman last Friday, but the call never came in. The trouble of rescheduling was well worth it for the message on our machine Monday morning, sung to the tune of his widely popular breakout hit "Because I Got High." (If you haven't heard it, put this down and log onto The Truffula Seed blog: truffulaseed.ccblogs.com).
After that song made it onto the soundtrack of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, things got big for Afroman. The video got airplay on MTV stations around the world, and he went from playing fraternities for $1,000 to hanging with his heroes like E-40 and Too Short. "That song was the Tyson punch I always wanted to have," says Afroman, a.k.a. Joseph Foreman.
Although "Because I Got High" is his only commercial hit, Afroman has seven albums under his belt. Discs like Afroholic and Sell Your Dope feature songs like "I Drive Better Drunk" and "She Won't Let me F#*k," all peppered with witty social commentary and praises of inebriation. Afroman even released a Christmas album of parodies such as "Deck My Balls," "O Chronic Tree," and "Let Her Blow."
Afroman's off-kilter lyrics make him a tough sell for record companies, and after dealing with the frustrations of censorship and loss of creative power, he began his own Hungry Hustler record label. "Wal-Mart is just another person to me," says Afroman. "He's got a lot of stores, but he's got to get in line right behind Johnny."
Eventually we got Afroman on the phone, from the seat of a barber chair getting his 'fro groomed. "I got a carpet running down my back I need to get lined up," he joked. Enjoy the highlights of our conversation...
"I'm hoping God gives me a C+ or something. I'm not killing nobody, and I'm positive, but I got some dirty jokes. That's the way I make my living. I'm going to be the best malt-liquor-drinking, weed-smoking, woman-chasing Christian I can possibly be."
On horseback riding:
"When I was like a three-year-old baby, this lady told me 'Whatever you do, don't get scared, cause you'll spook the horse,' and I screamed. I said 'Aaaaaa' and the horse did the Lone Ranger 'Oooohaha' and that's the end of my cowboy run, you know what I'm saying?"
"I'm a rolling stone, man. I'm from Palmdale, Calif., like Snoop is from Long Beach. He probably hasn't been there for eight years, but for the record that's where he's from. My dad left L.A. and moved to Mississippi, so when stuff started getting rough for me in L.A. I'd come down there and visit him. It's been LA and Mississippi all my life, like tennis. You know what I mean?"
On the roots of his rhymes:
"I started my first rhyme in sixth grade. The kids in L.A. were real fashion conscious, even though we was in the ghetto and was all poor. There was this girl. She was perfect and her name was Carrie. She always had new stuff. I was a Mississippi boy. I'd hop the fence, and my pants had a hole in the middle, and my shoes was always fucked up. She'd talk about me every day and I didn't have no comebacks. She was perfect, a light-skinned black person, but when you looked close she had a slight little hair growing kind of dark around her upper lip. Slick Rick had the song 'Lotti Dotti' out, so I had my little homeboy beatbox for me and did 'Hairy Carrie.' Everybody laughed at her. All those clothes and fashion didn't mean nothing when I exaggerated about her mustache. She was paralyzed."
"All that roll it up every split second of the day junk, I ain't doing it like that no more. I smoke when I get ready, and I ain't been ready for a long time. But sometimes right before I want to shoot somebody or fight or something I go ahead and blow me a good blunt, you know? If it stops me from going to the penitentiary, roll it up, light it up."