Afroman: Seeing Through the Smoke

shane.nyman and shane.nyman

In 2001, the grammy-nominated stoner anthem “Because I Got High” catapulted Joseph “Afroman” Foreman to the top of the hip-hop world. Now, six years removed from what most likely will be his mainstream peak, Afroman finds himself seated in a small, smoky Marquette hotel room with a few friends and Casa Calabria leftovers. Despite his descent from the spotlight, Afroman is happy and having as much fun as ever.

A few hours before his Monday night performance at UpFront & Company, the ultra-animated Afroman sipped a 40-ounce Colt 45 and talked hip-hop success, parties and life lessons with North Wind Features Editor Shane Nyman.

NW: From the little time you’ve been here, what do you think of Marquette?
Afroman: I got a whole ‘nother outlook, man. I’ve gotten over the location thing. I’m into people. I sing and I’ve been looking for my audience . and they’ve called me! They’re up here! And I’m happy about that. I want to meet ’em, I want to sing to ’em.

NW: Do you think we talk like Canadians?
Afroman: I’ve been around America, and I believe this is the English people should speak. Every now and then I hear something Northerny like . pop! Want a pop? Yeah, I wanna pop you in your head if you tell me what the hell you’re talking about! I want a soda!

NW: Where are you right now in your career?
Afroman: I’m in a comfortable place. I do it like I want to do it. I’m not flying, I’m in America, I’m playing whoever pays me. Whoever calls me. One call, that’s all. I’m driving, I’m singing, doin’ it at my pace. It’s a beautiful thing. And I’m kind of enjoying it, when I first started rapping I wanted to be on MTV, but now . give me 30 people that want to sip a beer and have a good time and I’m gonna lose my damn mind! I’m sellin’ parties! Who wants to party?

NW: Most of the artists in your profession always seem so angry. How do you stay so upbeat and positive?
Afroman: Besides the Colt 45 . you just gotta think. My dad said it could always be worse. One man was mad ’cause he didn’t have shoes and he walked down the street and a dude didn’t have feet. We could be in Baghdad running for our freakin’ lives. Sometimes I think about if Christ got up there and took the nails, I guess I can sit in traffic a little bit. If you don’t put no effort into being positive, you’ll never be happy. I’ll give you a billion dollars . okay, and then you’ll wanna blow up Cuba. You’ve gotta stop and just make yourself happy.

NW: In 2001, you exploded with “Because I Got High.” How did that change your life?
Afroman: Dude, it’s an indescribable experience; I’ll try to do the best I can. You are me. You’re drunk. You’re high. Everybody loves you. It’s just fast. It was a roller-coaster. It was a blast. I wanted to be big and give ’em that Tyson punch and leave ’em on the mat and I did that and it was beautiful. I met a lot of stars, went to the top, whoop-de-whoop.

NW: What does the future hold for Afroman?
Afroman: Afroman, in my opinion, is confined. I love me, this is my character, these are my songs, but he’s confined. “Because I Got High” and “Colt 45.” But I understand these kids. They see me, they’re thinking about being high and being drunk. I don’t mind that, I’m happy.