Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Most people know Afroman for his huge hit "Because I Got High" that appeared on the Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back soundtrack. The song was a hit back in the summer of 2001 because of its catchy, sing-along styled chorus and simplistic view of procrastination. It also propelled L.A. native Afroman into the spotlight of the American stage. On Saturday, Feb. 19, he returns to that spotlight at the Tap Room in Duluth . When I spoke to the Grammy-nominated rapper about visiting, he sounded ready, saying, It's different up there, snowy, northern drunks. We can go drunk skiing maybe?

Afroman, a.k.a. Joseph Foreman, has a new philosophy and is taking it to the people.

If they don't put my record on the shelf, no one can find it. The trouble is that they [music stores] want $5000 to put it where you can see it. Then the radio wants you to perform for free. Money knows demand and MTV needs Pepsi. ? I wanna sell my record without the ass kissing and politics.? ? In the song ?On The Mic? Afro raps, ?sold a lotta records so of course I expect, the big money Jay-Z Puff Daddy Check.? Then later on ?Trip? he mixes classic Too Short with a dash of Ludacris, talking about how corporate radio sucks and is ?brainwashing all the little boys and girls.?

Which is why his new album, ?4R0:20,? is being sold heavily on his web-site ( ) and at live shows. The songs are made for the bar crowds that Afroman plays for today. In the song ?The More You Drink? he raps, ?The more you drink the better I sound, go to the bar and get another round.? ? Other songs have a dance appeal like ?Beer Bottle Up? where he says, ?Put your beer in the air, and IF YOU?RE SHORT, STAND ON A CHAIR?!

With all the different kinds of rap music I asked Afroman about rappers today. He said there are ?MCs, thugs, players, fools, all kinds of rappers today. Music is opinionated, people like it for different reasons. I mean Ice Cube, Eazy-E, they had that anger and gangster mentality. I was more into KRS1 [an anti-gang rapper], and later MCs and their skills, how they would flow.? So does he think rap music like that is dying? ? Afro responded that, ?hip-hop is bigger than ever today.?

I asked Afroman what is was like to be nominated for a Grammy, and he said, ?Crazy; I was so happy to be nominated. I knew when I was younger though, I had skills playing the guitar and singing; I can rap better than any of these cats today. I have a natural thing where I can sing while I rap.? He talked of being on the road and said surprisingly that, ?I get way more sleep than when I?m at home where I have to do more things like cleaning, cooking, etc.?

Because most people don?t know what Afroman looks like, a man called Dol Re began touring the country and posing as Afroman. He would have the sound guy play Afroman?s record before the show, then take the stage and play his own Dol Re music. He then ended the show by covering ?Because I Got High.? ?? Afroman does a rap on his web site about the situation called ?Dol Gay.?

This Saturday the real Afro is coming to the Tap Room. With the mass of people that collected last Friday for Trampled by Turtles, chances are there will be a very large crowd. Crew Jones opens and is a great Northland hip-hop group finding their own spotlight. Big talent like this doesn?t come often to the East side of Duluth , so time to ?put your beer in the air, and if you?re too short, just stand on a chair.? Just don?t miss the show because you got high.