Purple drank?




I have to admit, before this week, I’d never heard of the stuff. But when you’re surfing the Internet you can learn all sorts of things.


Here’s what I learned about “purple drank” from the Web site ivillage.com, in a story about dangerous teen fads. Yes, “purple drank” was one of them.


“Purple drank is a legal and lethal concoction of Sprite, Jolly Ranchers and codeine cough syrup. Rappers, hip-hop artists and pro athletes have made this fad cool and brought it into the mainstream. Lil' Wayne has been photographed with his ‘purple’ filled cup.”


That, dear readers, might explain why I knew nothing about “purple drank.” I do indeed listen to rap music, but I go out of my way to avoid listening to Lil' Wayne, who has, for my money, the most irritating, grating and annoying rap voice ever.


So, “purple drank” is the drink of choice for Weezy and other rappers of today. That might explain the lyrics in some of their tunes. I thought I’d never heard a more useless rap song than Jay-Z’s “I Got 99 Problems, But A B**h Ain’t One,” but that was before I heard the Lil' Wayne song  “Me and My Drank.”


“But me I’m up in the studio, me and my drank, me and my drank. I’m up in the studio, me and my drank, me and my drank.”


OK, so the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize,” “Warning” or “N***as Bleed” it ain’t. It’s not Tupac’s “Hail Mary” either. Heck, it’s not even Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools (Drank).”


Lamar is a new rapper, and his song does have that word “drank” in it (I suspect the name “purple drank” comes to us courtesy of those poor souls that can’t pronounce “drink” correctly, but I am encouraged they can pronounce “purple”) but his song doesn’t celebrate drinking, be it “purple drank” or anything else.


“Swimming Pools (Drank)” is a cogent social commentary about the perils and pitfalls of alcoholism, one that I thought today’s rappers were incapable of making.


Lamar’s song is better than Lil Wayne’s “Me and My Drank,” and I can actually stand the sound of Lamar’s voice. (I downloaded “Swimming Pools (Drank) off iTunes; I listened to “Me and My Drank” on You Tube, but stopped when I felt my brain cells dying.)


It’s a safe bet we won’t get a song about the pitfalls of alcoholism or the dangers of consuming “purple drank” from Lil' Wayne. We probably won’t hear about the risks of “purple drank” or alcoholism from JaMarcus Russell either.


Russell is one of the pro athletes referred to in the ivillage.com story that consumed “purple drank.” The top draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2007, Russell’s career went nowhere before he was arrested in 2010 for possessing codeine without a prescription.


Being under the influence of “purple drank” might be one of the reasons for Russell’s poor performance. And judging from the final score of last Sunday’s Baltimore Ravens-Oakland Raiders game, Russell might not be the only Raider that was under the influence of “purple drank.”


The entire Raiders team looked like it might have been under the influence of “purple drank.” Fifty-five points given up to the Ravens offense?


I say this as a diehard Ravens fan: the Ravens’ offense isn’t that good. You know it; I know it; and, when the Ravens roll into Pittsburgh this Sunday night, they’ll know it too.


Shannon Sharpe, a former tight end for the Ravens and the Denver Broncos, said after Russell’s arrest two years ago that the National Football League might be facing a problem with more players consuming “purple drank” than in previous years.


For the sake of the sport I love and have watched for the past 50 years, I hope Sharpe is wrong. But after learning about “purple drank” and its popularity among not only rappers, but also pro athletes, I’ll now be watching NFL contests with a more skeptical eye.


Did a defensive back blow an assignment and leave a receiver so wide open the poor guy could have died of loneliness?


Hmm. Defensive back might have had too much “purple drank” the night before.


Did that receiver just drop a pass the quarterback put right in his hand? Blame the “purple drank.”


Americans can’t even get a grip on our old ways of getting dangerous highs. Do we need rappers and today’s pro athletes giving us new and dangerous ways of getting high?



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