Interview: Afroman

From grams to Grammy nominations, the Palmdale born and Mississippi raised rapper/guitarist known as Afroman has had what most would call an interesting if not unfortunate career. While perhaps best known for his 2001 single “Because I Got High”, which even made its way into Kevin Smith’s 2001 flick, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, the performer born Joseph Edgar Foreman does have a few more tricks up his sleeve, and not just musically. Fortunately, he kicked back this week with Consequence of Sound to discuss everything from electric cars to geography.

Consequence of Sound (CoS): On your most recent album, Waiting to Inhale, released back in February of this year, there are a lot of parodies in the alluded to titles of the songs (e.g., “Spit It Out” = “Walk It Out” by DJ UNK). Why did you choose to take sort of a “candy rapper” approach to this recording, mocking the whole hip-hop industry?

Afroman (FRO): [Laughs] I was just having a little fun, you know. I like to go to parties and make everybody laugh, so it was just one of those things, where I can’t get on the radio, so I take something that is on the radio and have fun with it.

CoS: Do you like having an “underground” association with your music, which allows you to navigate through the industry, afloat a respectable cult following, rather than being part of this presently inflated state of hip-hop and its dumb-downed audience base?

You know, I can handle it all, but I guess when it’s all said and done, the cult is the one that will stick to you when you’re on the radio or not, so I see that as the safety net and I thank God for all of them.

CoS: Do you enjoy doing more studio stuff, or would you rather be out interacting with the crowd at a live performance?

FRO: Definitely, interacting with the crowd, as much as possible. Sometimes I have to think about the lyrics and focus on actually singing, instead of slapping hands.
The studio is just a preparation for the live.

CoS: In past interviews, you’ve discussed your history of playing guitar and how it’s had a huge influence on your music. Is there any showcasing of this little known talent of yours on the new album, compared to that of past?

FRO: Yeah, I have a few more solos on this album. I’ve been playing a whole lot more, lately, and I’ve been seeing that people like it when I play the guitar at shows, so you know…

CoS: I definitely see how the guitar can bring a whole new element to a hip-hop concert, especially since it’s a live instrument and hip-hop shows are often carried by turntables and an Apple laptop, solely.

FRO: Yeah, we have the DJ set-up and I got the guitar, too. [Laughs] Gas is high, so I can’t employ a whole band.

CoS: On your website, you have the single for the new album playing throughout the site. After hearing it, though, I saw that there were a lot of lyrical similarities between that and your old song “Colt 45”. Are you really a secret geography fan and you’re just trying to hide it with some sexual innuendo?

FRO: [Laughs…still laughing] Man, I guess I’m just trying to be the world’s greatest, you know, continental player, lyrically. [Laughs] So yeah, man, I guess so.

CoS: So when you were younger, did you have like atlases hidden under the mattress in your room, with like pin-up spreads of the Yucatan and Israel on your walls?

FRO: [Laughs continue] Oh, man. That’s good stuff.

CoS: [Laughs] Okay, let me try to think of something to follow that up with.

FRO: [Laughing]

CoS: We probably have to talk about “Because I Got High”, even though I’m sure it’s become a cliché and almost burnout topic of discussion with you, but do you enjoy playing it? I know Radiohead will never play “Creep” at a live performance, but is it something that you have to perform because the kids are waiting for it?

FRO: Yeah, I have to play that song, but I consider myself smart about it. One thing about me, when I was a little kid, is that I would think about if I were ever considered a one hit wonder, I had to take advantage and I had a plan about overcoming the one-hit wonder stereotype.

CoS: What was your plan for…

FRO: I love “Because I Got High”, man, that’s my song. I wrote it and it’s my hit. I guess when I’m ready to sing new stuff and people cut me off and want me to keep singing stuff off of the old albums, at first, it used to irritate me, but now I understand. I just have to maneuver that song in a way, where I can do it all. But, that song opens doors for me and it gets me a lot of places and I respect it. I’ll sing it all the time. No worries. No problem.

CoS: Is there anything, in particular, that you’d like to talk about, in terms of the new album and upcoming tour?

FRO: Yeah, I have a new, upcoming album being released on my label Hungry Hustler Records. I might have to change the title of it, though. I don’t know, yet. This guy’s hassling me about the title, but right now, it’s called “Frobama: Pot Head of State.” I’m not endorsing Obama or anything, mainly because I’m too f***ed up to. I just thought it was a funny title.

CoS: What’s your view on the whole election run, going on, right now?

FRO: Man, you know what, I really don’t know. I’m just a drunk musician.

CoS: Nah man, you’re more than that. You can’t sell yourself short. You have to be confident.

FRO: I mean…I have a bunch of ideas. I’m mad about the electric car being destroyed and I feel that we could set-up electric battery stations, where the gas is. But, other than that, I don’t want to stay in Iraq. I figure the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan could be standing around the borders of America. I don’t know, though. I have to just look at all the issues and see who of the candidates is really trying to benefit me.

Check Out:

Afroman – “Because I Got High (Uncensored)”


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