Afroman (Photo courtesy Late Nite Productions)
Get to know the world’s highest rapper
It only makes sense that Afroman’s Four Twenty Tour is arriving in Mammoth Lakes the day after 4/20. If you expected the Grammy nominated rapper best known for his procrastinating/weed centered hit “Because I Got High” to actually perform on the date reserved for excessive bong hits, then you don’t know Afroman (born Joseph Edgar Foreman). Stereotypes aside, it turns out he’s a pretty busy guy and I was lucky enough to chat with “the world’s highest rapper” last week via telephone. The following is an in-depth conversation about music, politics, religion, the police and … oh yeah, weed.
Sheet: Its no secret that you like smoking weed. So If you could smoke a joint with anyone who would it be? And you can’t say Bob Marley.
Afroman: Okay … probably Jesus. Man, can you imagine?! I mean God gave us sex. He gave us food. He gave us music. So I’m thinking, I know he’s got some bomb up there, you know?!! Ha!
Sheet: Do you think Jesus smokes weed?
Afroman: Um, hmm. Sometimes I scratch my head just a little bit. Uhh, no I don’t think Jesus smokes weed. So I guess I’ll bring it back down to earth for a minute and choose someone else. Damn, that’s a real good question. I guess I would probably [smoke with] E-40. That would be legit, or maybe Don Magic Juan. He real cool. He a no nonsense pimp. I would be like, “Take some time and hit this blunt with me and give me some game.” Ha you know? Yeeeaaah!
Sheet: Do you really smoke weed?
Afroman: Ha, actually I was thinking about quitting. I’ve been getting fatter. I gotta watch it man. I ran outta weed yesterday so I decided to quit. I think what I’m gonna do is when I’m at a show and someone hands me a blunt I might just take it and don’t give it back to ‘em. Haha, no I’m playin’. But I got a $14,000 a year weed habit. So I’m thinking I need do something else. Maybe go joggin’ or something.
Sheet: Are there any rappers that you think may smoke more weed than you?
Afroman: I would say no … maybe Snoop Dogg or E-40. I really think that I can blow more blunts than anybody.
But I’m not trying to do that no more. You know, I’m almost 40. But man, when I was getting ready I could chain smoke blunts like you never seen. Since 2000 I’ve probably smoked like ten blunts during the day and 6 at night. No joke.
Sheet: Damn, has there ever been a time you wished you weren’t high?
Afroman: Well I’ve locked my keys in the car and that type of thing. But definitely talking to the police. There’s nothing worse. Because you know deep down you’re like man, “I wish I wasn’t high right now.” It’s stressful.
Sheet: So do you get harassed by the police often?
Afroman: Actually I got a good rapport with the police. There’s so much bad stuff out here man. I’m like a ballerina to the cops. I’m no threat. Like I don’t say, “f*ck the police” or anything like that at shows. Once [at a show] some people started chanting that and I was like, “Hey wait a minute. We love the police, I’m still on parole!” You know, that ain’t my thing.
I want the type of crowd that gets high, says hello to the cops and then goes home.
Sheet: Are you at all sick of your most popular song, “Because I Got High?”
Afroman: “Because I Got High” is my tackiest song. If you listen to “Palmdale” or any of my other songs then you’d see that “Because I Got High” is probably the wackest track I got. But people don’t like all that concentrated orange juice. You can make a complicated hit or you can make a simple one. There’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and there’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” Now I’m gonna gamble more people are walkin’ around whistling “Don’t Worry Be Happy.”
Sheet: Wait, which song is more complicated?
Afroman: Ahh, haha. No I just feel like all my other songs are like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and that one is like my “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” When I wrote it I was literally just playing around and having fun because I felt I wasn’t gonna make it anyway. Right now, I feel like people have poured concrete on me. I don’t wanna see Michael Jackson in a Fubu jacket, you know what I mean? I wanna keep him in that Billie Jean jacket year after year.
Sheet: So your saying you need to stay the same musically?
Afroman: No, no. I’m saying that people want me to stay the same. People only want to take so much music from one person. Like Bruce Springsteen for example. I’ve listened to “Born in The USA” so many times and that’s the only thing I wanna hear from that dude. He can’t sing me nothing else.
Sheet: You did get nominated for a Grammy in 2002 for “Because I Got High.” What was going through your head when you found out you were going to the Grammys?
Afroman: I was ecstatic. You know there was a side of me that thought the topic was a little inappropriate for the Grammys. But I was definitely like “woooo!” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t do nothing to celebrate really. I didn’t get drunk and jump on top of bars or nothing like that.
Sheet: So your last album “Frobama” came out back in 2008. Have you been working on any new music since?
Afroman: Yeah I’ve made 12 new albums. I think my fans are too diverse to impress with just one album. So what I’ve done is, I’ve made different albums according to topics. So if you like to smoke weed, I got an album just for you called, “Marijuana Music.” It’s about smoking marijuana from beginning to end.
Sheet: I see… Wait, you’ve made 12 albums since 2008?!
Afroman: Yeah I got 12 albums that I haven’t released yet. I got love songs that all the weed fans don’t wanna hear. I got low ridin’ songs that all the low riders wanna hear but none of the weed smokers or lovers wanna get on. I got pimp songs for all the pimps. I got gospel songs… you know what I’m saying? Different albums for different fans.
Sheet: So what should we expect for this Mammoth Lakes show? Pimp music? Gospel Music?
Afroman: Well, my set list is a mixture of my classics but some new stuff too that I want Mammoth Lakes to hear while I got the chance. I keep it fun, simple and complicated all at the same time. I’ll have my background music on my iPod and I’m bringing my double neck guitar. I’m just gonna rap and have fun with the crowd you know?
Sheet: Last question, have you ever wanted to change your haircut but couldn’t for obvious reasons?
Afroman: Haha, you know I have thought about getting a perm. But I could never pimp that hard because I am Afroman. I’ve had people say to me things like “you got any advice for any young musicians” and I say, “yeah, never name yourself after a hairstyle.”