Ed Rosenthal: Grow Like a Pro
Ed Rosenthal: Grow Like a Pro

Afroman Exclusive: '9/11 Interrupted My Career'

Rapper Afroman is trying to make a living during Covid. He's playing occasional gigs and has a new line of Afroman Hemp products. A longtime legalization advocate known best for his 2001 hit song "Because I Got High," Afroman (nee Joseph Forman) talks to CelebStoner about life in 2020, his hemp products, the 2015 incident when he hit a woman who was on stage and what he thinks about being called a "one-hit-wonder."

Have you been doing shows?

Yeah, they have outdoor events. I just finished up a festival in Oklahoma. Magically, I’ve been staying busy.

Is it safe?

[Belly laugh] Life is dangerous itself so I’ll take a couple of dollars while we at it.

Do you have any new music?

I have a new song coming out called “WHOLEthing.” It’s with a kid called HEwas. I want to make some good, positive, happy music and then make a good, positive, happy album. I’m gonna go find me a good melody on the frontier of my mentality today, I’m gonna say something funny and good and uplifting. I think about “Because I Got High” – that song lifted me up. I got some less popular songs where I was angry. Every time I sing those songs I get angry again. So, I don’t want to throw no lumber in a negative fire no more. I just wanna move forward. I thank God for where he brought me and what he helped me with.

“Because I Got High” received a Grammy nomination in 2001.

 That’s a happy song.

Afroman: "I’m proud to be a one-hit wonder in the eyes of those who consider me that."

It came out six weeks before 9/11. It was the theme song for Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which was in theaters. What are thoughts about the timing?

We’re trying to have a good time in a dangerous world and sometimes the world interrupts the party. 9/11 interrupted my career, but it didn’t kill it. It was rough, dude. I was playing somewhere in upstate New York when 9/11 happened. The night before 9/11, I played The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. I was hot, I was on top. I was supposed to be the talk of the town. I watched the buildings go down. I had to come to grips with what was going on. The day that happened we had a flight to New York. They grounded all the planes. It was something.

You were scheduled to headline the High Times Doobie Awards at Wetlands on September 12.

Oh wow, I knew it was something. I’m just happy you know I’m not lying. People think I’m telling more high war stories.

“Because I Got High” peaked at No. 13 in the U.S. and was No. 1 in England and throughout Europe.

Man, it was the “Marijuana Macarena.”

Prerolls and loose flower are available from Afroman Hemp (photo by CelebStoner)

Tell us about Afroman Hemp.

Just being out there I got introduced to hemp some time back. It helped out with a lot of different pains and aches and everything. I’m in this game. I made some for myself and I want to put it out there for my fans and the public. 

Is this a personal project or are you working with an investor or a company?

It’s personal. Singing about weed, watching marijuana become legal right before my very eyes and having the possible opportunity to be a vendor, a merchant of it – hah, I love the whole thing. I think it’s fitting. Ronald McDonald makes hamburgers and Afroman makes weed.

Can people get a buzz from hemp or is it strictly for other purposes?

It’s for other purposes. I feel you get a different type of high. It’s apples and oranges. When I smoke the hemp, I get a more body-muscle type high as opposed to a head change.

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Does it work for you?

If I’m in pain or I’m going through something, yeah. I don’t want to take a bunch of pills and this and that. Yes, the hemp can be a wonderful substitute.

Where are you getting the hemp from?

Right now, it’s being grown in Tennessee.

What are the strains?

I like to get really creative with the names like Fro G Kush and Palmdale Purple.

Are you going to offer tinctures and topicals s well?

Yeah, man. You know, music is my first love and I want to do these multiple businesses and everything. I don’t want too much to take away from music, but I’m gonna do the best I can at it. I’m competing with everybody else in the game.  

Is the goal to get Afroman Hemp into stores?

I used to wanna get my albums in stores. You look larger than life. It’s a beautiful sight. I guess at the end of the day I’m just trying to sell. But if the stores don’t take it I just want to get it to my consumers. If 20 million people want it and they get it, then hey amen, praise God. I want to get it in the stores, but this is more of an Internet time.

Afroman: "Hemp can be a wonderful substitute."

Can you talk about the incident in 2015 when you hit a female fan who walked on stage with a drink?

I had a busy schedule. I had a bunch of things jumping off in my life I underestimated. I didn’t realize that I was stressed out and mentally ill. Drinking a little malt liquor and smoking a blunt put me in a better frame of mind to deal with people. It was an earlier show. I didn’t get the chance to take a bath or eat. I had a whole bunch of stuff go on. I just wasn’t in the mood for the hecklers or the people who get on stage and do whatever. In my contract it says to keep one bouncer in front by the stage so when someone gets on stage I need someone to deal with them, to talk to them and get them off the stage while I continue to sing. Every now and then these clubs just wouldn’t do it. I realized I had to supply my own guard to really make sure that happens. I told the chick that I just didn’t really feel like it that day. I was just having a bad day. I had some cops take some money from me and a whole bunch of some other bad stuff. I just didn’t feel like fooling around with ’em. I told ’em to leave. I was doing alright. I was coming out of my gloom, starting to play. I’m not the kind of guy who can play the guitar and sing and mess around, I’m not that good on the guitar, so I really needed to focus. And I felt just enough to mess me up. I snapped. Boom. I had too much on me and I didn’t react right. So, I went and got me some mental help. I’ve been medicating on my marijuana. I realized that I can’t let things get to that point. I’ve got to manage my anger. I have to control my environment. I’ve got to make sure everything is organized. That was something bad that happened. A bunch of stuff came at me at once and I didn’t react good. I checked in and got the mental health I needed. I’m making way better moves. I’ve got my medicine with me. These things won’t happen no more.

Was there a legal action?

Yeah. I took care of her out of court.

Do you consider yourself a One-Hit Wonder?

No, I don’t. I think I’ve got like 28 hits. But I’m willing to take that from the human who labels me that. How many hits do you need? I’m proud of any and everything that I have done. “Because I Got High” was a worldwide hit and I’ll milk it, I’m proud of it. Yeah, I’m proud of the one hit that that the world knows. That song opens up doors for me 20 years later. It’s paying the bills. So, I’m proud to be a one-hit wonder in the eyes of those who consider me that.

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.