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It's Okay To Drank Your Drug

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We want drugs.

Admit it, folks. They work. There may be a million practical reasons why we DON’T do them. It doesn’t mean they don’t work.

What if you could be really high, right now? Blissfully unaware of life and death, floating in space, feeling just like Jesus’ son. Would you do it?

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Hmmmmm… oh but no, of course not, that’s awful even to think about. The consequences are just too great.

But just for ONE SECOND, didn’t it sound kind of appealing?

You can bet that the geniuses behind products like Cocaine Energy Drinkand Blow Energy Powder (the latter comes packed in a vial, with a mirror and credit card so you can “cut” the product before dissolving it in water, real cute) are highly aware of this animal-brain tendency in humans, despite their Joe Francis-like “Aw shucks” justification for profiting from peoples’ worst impulses. “ (We used) an aggressive branding strategy aimed at the ultra-hip party crowd,” says Blow founder Logan Gola. Don’t like it? “Lighten up! Get a sense of humor, take the product for what it’s intended to be – tongue in cheek.”

Cocaine owner James Kirby is perhaps more plainspoken: “All I have to do is look at the orders that are coming in, and just laugh at the whole thing. As long as we sell drinks, I don’t really care.”

So it would seem to be the case with new Drank, an “anti-energy drink” or “extreme relaxation beverage” depending which piece of literature you’re looking at.

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Real "drank," as urbandictionary will happily inform you, is the concoction involving bright purple cough syrup - hydrocodone, codeine/ promethazine or regular Robitussin are all fine "but don' fuk wit no Nyquil" - mixed with 7-Up or juice, and a couple of Jolly Ranchers. Also known as sip or sizzurp, it became a heavy thing on the Southern hip-hop scene about ten years ago, and there have been countless songs about sippin', leanin' (sideways because you're all wasted), and gettin' screwed ever since. But its use and effects are only just starting to become national news. Lil' Wayne talked about trying to kick his syrup addiction in the May 2008 issue of Vibe Magazine, and its abuse has already claimed the lives of Houston hip-hop titans Pimp C, DJ Screw and Big Moe.

And now you can get its commercial doppelganger in a big purple can at 7-11s all over the South. It may be coming soon to LA.

Sounds like just another dope-drink, right?

Their PR attack is a little different though. Peter Bianchi of Innovative Beverage Group, a rock and roll musician whose excerpted resume includes the unlikely pairing of George Clinton and Foreigner's Lou Gramm, decided at some point to get into the energy drink market. Upon hearing about the devastation being brought on by syrup abuse from a few of his hip-hop session clients, he had an epiphany: he could put out a soft drink that resembled sizzurp, but with natural, legal ingredients. Lest you think this a cynical attempt to sell sugar water using an addictive drug as a marketing hook, Bianchi's PR staff would like you to know his intentions are pure:

"Flying the recognized banner of Drank over an extreme relaxation beverage would advocate a safe alternative to something that had previously been destructive.."

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Well when you put it that way... what a great fucking guy! George Clinton and Lou Gramm should do a duet about how proud they are of their former employee.

And what incredible PR writers he has hired. Check this out: "With Drank, not only can hip-hop artists confidently 'sip sum' while keeping their edgy R&B persona, but everyone from the harried main street worker to the stressed Wall Street executive can unwind, calm down, and relax even in the midst of the most stressful days."

Edgy R&B persona!!! OK, fair enough, we'll withhold judgment on the morality if the writing's that good. What we want to know: does it get you fucked up? Even least the herbal equivalent of fucked up?

Anyone who's ever gone to the health food store in search of a natural sleep aid - or something to help them chill while cleaning out - is probably familiar with valerian root, melatonin and rose hips, the natural sedatives that make up Drank's active ingredients. They do indeed have a calming effect, though not a particularly intoxicating one. Mostly they make you want to lie down. Perhaps combined with a sugar rush, they might instead make you want to "lean"?

Well let's find out. I'm downloading DJ Screw's 3 N' The Mornin' from emusic and getting the first purple can out of the fridge.

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Let's get commercially screwed.

9:24: Yecch... it DOES taste like purple cough syrup in 7-Up. After a few sips the cough syrup taste starts to subside, and it tastes a bit like grape soda with a funky aftertaste. After a few more it actually tastes pretty good. Better than Red Bull, no doubt. I don't drink a lot of sugary soda, which this is - 54 grams of carbs.

9:29: This DJ Screw stuff is weird, it's the beginnings of that super slowed-down hip-hop where everything's moving in slow motion. Yeah I can see this being cough syrup music. The turntable belts are losing tension as it goes. I'm not sure if I feel anything but this music is sounding pretty good to me right now. It's weirder than PiL.

9:43: Uhmmm... nothing. The track Smokin' And Leanin' was incredible but I'm starting to run out of patience with this stuff. Is it warm in here or am I getting hot flashes from this stuff?

9:46: Well the first can is out. One can equals two servings, which is apparently the maximum daily allowance of this stuff. If anything was gonna slow my roll, this should be it. Come on... hit me! I could use some more.

9:50: In the name of science I decide to continue although the hot flashes are kind of bad now and I've lost it on DJ Screw. I'm playing Time Zone's "World Destruction" 12-inch remix instead. It feels pretty good.

11:33: Right about the point I decided to call this experiment over and the drink totally ineffective, I had to go lie down for a minute. That minute turned into almost two hours. It's like I remember that herbal stuff - you don't get "high" but you have to lie down.
Well it's not completely shooting blanks, it does have some effect, but I can't say it's a way I'd want to feel if I was out at a club. I can only imagine a shot or two and I'd be asleep right now. That sounds SO GOOD right now,.,..I'm going to bed.

MORNING AFTERWORD: Well that wasn't a very interesting play by play. Sorry. They're not very interesting drugs. I sat there and watched VH1 Classic for about two hours, just because that's what was on. The first half hour was a Smiths concert, which was quite good, but then they started showing Duran Duran videos. I was too zonked out to lean forward a few feet to grab the remote, yet not zonked out enough for Duran Duran to sound good. And I was powerless to correct the situation.

I don't think I'm going to become a regular customer even if they do find distribution in LA. Life is too short to spend an hour watching Duran Duran against one's will.

However, if this sordid tale has left you wanting to go get your lean on legally, I'd suggest you just go to Trader Joe's, get a bottle of Cava Cava tincture, dump the whole thing in a two-liter 7-Up with a few purple Jolly Ranchers thrown in, and make sure not to operate any heavy machinery till the next day.

Or tell your doctor you have a tickly throat.