Although he wasn’t able to clean his room, go to class or pay his child support, Afroman did manage to write a ubiquitous radio smash “because he got high.”
Believe it or not, the inspiration for “Because I Got High,” which appears on both the “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” soundtrack album and on the bleary-eyed rapper’s third album, The Good Times, came to Afroman in a puff of smoke.
“It hit me all at once,” the rapper formerly known as Joseph Foreman said. “I woke up real ambitious — and then my buddy, who I ain’t seen in a long time, came by. But this wasn’t a convenient time for him to come by because he’s a real time-consuming friend — I love him, but he’s just too time-consuming. I told him, ’Man, you gotta go.’ He was like, ’Well, let’s just blow one right quick.’ ’OK!’
“So we got to smoking, laughing and talking. Had a great time but didn’t do nothin’. And then it hit me. ’I was gonna clean my room until I got high.’ And then I was thinking about other stuff that happened because I got high on different occasions.”
The procrastination proponent appeared originally on Afroman’s independently produced LP, Because I Got High, last year’s follow-up to his 1999 indie debut, Sell Your Dope. The song caught fire in the underground on the heels of a college tour, a feat Afroman credits file-swapping software Napster with facilitating. Elated with the buzz surrounding the inevitable stoner standard, Universal Records signed Afroman and introduced the track to director Kevin Smith, who thought the tune a perfect fit for “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.”
In the past month, “Because I Got High” has been the most requested song at stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Washington, D.C. While listeners can’t curb their jones for the song, Afroman was at first unsure the rest of the country would find his homage to hemp as humorous as his homeboys did.
“I feel real wonderful,” Afroman said of his sudden success. “Some of my immediate friends were like, ’Yo, this is funny for us in the garage, drinking beer, but this ain’t gonna fly.’ So it’s overwhelming. I love the success.”
When The Good Times hits stores Tuesday, some fans enamored with the playful hip-hop romp might be taken back by the rest of the album, which leans more toward 2 Live Crew’s raunchy rhymes than previous summer breezes like the Baja Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” or Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of …).” Other tracks on The Good Times include “Let’s All Get Drunk,” “Tall Cans” and “She Won’t Let Me …,” a song with second-single possibilities were it not for the omitted word being “f—.”
The Good Times comes off at first listen like an obnoxious cousin unable to differentiate between locker-room gags and those suitable for Grandma’s ears. A reconsideration, however, reveals that the assorted gags concerning booze, sex and drugs are just different guests at the same party.
“I’m all about having a good time,” explained Afroman. “If I have to embarrass myself and tell you my problems to have a good time, than I’m willing to do it. The Good Times gives you a good idea of what Afroman is about. Some of it’s true, some of it you can tell I’m just having a good time. Afroman is an honest, straightforward, cool, everyday-type person.
“I’m the dude who keeps you company at work. I’m the dude in the back, cursing and telling dirty jokes. I’m your boy, though, right? You can’t go through a day without your homie. You gonna miss me at work, you know what I’m sayin’?”
Afroman will share the stage with artists “headed” in a similar space — including Cypress Hill, Deftones, Method Man and Redman — on the Smoke Out tour, which kicks off September 29 in Holmdel, New Jersey (see “Busta, Deftones, Method Man To Smoke Out With Cypress Hill” ).