Back Like Cooked Crack: Crack Cocaine And Hip Hop
I want to thank Lou for holding down the blog for the last week. Work got me running around like an asshole, and I'm trying to get ready for the studio on saturday, so I havent had any time to post lately. Hopefully there will be a Low End Theory 12" scratch record coming out by the end of May, so check back for updates. And hit up the forums for rare and obscure mp3's. You have to join to get to the mp3 section. Anyway, tonight imma talk a little about crack/cocaine in hip hop. The roots of cocaine/crack and some cocaine/crack tidbits, break down like this:
Cocaine was first extracted from coca in the 19th cent. and was at first hailed as a miracle drug. By the 1880s in the United States it was freely prescribed by physicians for exhaustion, depression, and morphine addiction and was available in many patent medicines. After users and physicians began to realize its dangers and various regulations were enacted, its use decreased, and by the 1920s the epidemic had abated.
Another epidemic began in the United States in the 1970s and peaked in the mid-1980s; again the drug was at first considered harmless. With the latter epidemic and its accompanying crack epidemic (beginning in 1985 and peaking in 1988) violence in crack-infested neighborhoods increased dramatically. Young people with few other opportunities were lured by the power and money of being crack dealers; most carried guns and many were murdered in drug-gang wars that ensued. By the late 1990s the cocaine and crack epidemic had subsided as heroin regained popularity among illicit drug users.
Crack appeared in late 1984 and 1985 primarily in impoverished African-American and Latino inner-city neighborhoods in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Crack is smokeable cocaine. It gained its named from the "crackling" sound it makes when heated. It is easily produced in a pot on a kitchen stove by "cooking down" a mixture of powder cocaine, water, and baking soda. Crack is typically sold in tiny vials or envelopes that cost between $5 and $20. Crack was not a new drug; its active ingredient is entirely cocaine. Nor was it a new way of using cocaine; smoking cocaine freebase had been practiced since the 1970s.
Crack was a marketing innovation. It was a way of packaging a relatively expensive and upscale commodity (powder cocaine) in small, inexpensive units. So packaged, this form of smokeable cocaine (crack) was then sold, usually on the street by young African-Americans and Latinos, to a whole new class of customers: residents of impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. The marketing innovation was successful for at least two reasons. First, there was a huge workforce of unemployed young people ready to take jobs in the new, neighborhood-based business of crack preparation and sales. Working in the crack business offered these people better jobs, working conditions, and pay than any "straight" job they could get (and better than other entry-level criminal jobs like burglary or stealing car radios). Second, the marketing innovation succeeded because turning powder cocaine into smokeable "crack" changed the way cocaine was consumed and thereby dramatically strengthened the character of cocaine intoxication. Smoking crack offered a very brief but very intense intoxication. This inexpensive and dramatic "high" was much better suited to the finances and interest in immediate escape of the inner-city poor than the more subtle and expensive effects of powder cocaine.
Cocaine in any form is a stimulant, much like amphetamine or even caffeine. When powder cocaine is sniffed in small doses (as it usually is), it makes the user moderately alert and energized. Thus, the typical psychoactive effects of sniffing powder cocaine are subtle. Users report having to learn to recognize it. In the 1930s, songwriter Cole Porter wrote that he'd "get no kick" from cocaine about powder cocaine.
Cocaine is either snorted (sniffed), swallowed, injected, or smoked. Habitual snorting can result in serious damage to the nasal mucous membranes; shared needles put the user at increased risk of HIV infection. The street drug comes in the form of a white powder, cocaine hydrochloride. The hydrochloride salt and the cutting agents are removed to create the pure base product "freebase." Freebase is smoked and reaches the brain in seconds. "Crack" cocaine, also called "rock," is a form of freebase that comes in small lumps and makes a crackling sound when heated. It is relatively inexpensive, but must be repeated often.
Crack cocaine magnifies the effects of cocaine and is considered to be more highly and more quickly addictive than snorted cocaine. It causes a very abrupt increase in heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to heart attack and stroke even in young people with no history of vascular disease, sometimes the first time the drug is used. It also crosses the placental barrier; babies born to crack-addicted mothers go through withdrawal and are at a higher risk of stroke, cerebral palsy, and other birth defects.
Big C, blow, "C", chick, coke, corine, dust, flake, girl, happy, dust, nieve, nose candy, nose stuff, snow, toot, uptown, white, white girl, roca, rock, crack, Roxane, and white pipe.
Now a little low end theory history on the invention of crack. Crack was started by a Los Angles legend named, "Freeway Rick" Ross. He was an illiterate ex-tennis champ, and got his first bag of yayo on Christmas Day in 1979. He started out selling white to wealthy Black clients. As he took on more users and expanded his coverage, he got his product cheaper. He started to make his competition work for him because he was offering them great prices on powder. They traded in what they were selling and then got up with Rick. He was even training L.A. Crips to do sales for him. Back then Freebase was the "upper class" way to use cocaine. It was only really done by the wealthy and upper class users. Ricks customers knew about freebase, but they were afraid of Richard Pryors lil experiment gone wrong. So Rick then learned how to make a simpler method of cooking cocaine, cutting it with baking soda and heating it to make "Ready Rock". With Ready Rock, the rocks were a lot more potent then powder and a lot more economically viable. By the end of 1982 Rick stopped selling powder, and just hustled rocks. Rock offered a much larger market, and was doubling the profits of powder cocaine. Which took on the masses. Anyone could afford a nick rock of crack compared to a gram of coke that would run upwards $50 to $100. And the addiction to crack made it the greatest product for a dealer to sling, cause one hit was all it took most of the time to have a customer on lock. After this, the shit hit the fan. Whole communities were devastated and destroyed. Families and friends turned into zombies. Fiends were robbing anyone and everything they could for pocket change to cop rocks with. It was a real fucked up period. This also left room for mad entrepenaur that could make $100,000 a week on the corner, compared to a 9 to 5 paying $150 a week. Kids saw dealers rolling around in expensive cars with expensive clothes with wads of cash. These dealers became there idols, and showed them that if u want some real money, sell crack. Cause the legit job cant touch the profits that hustlers were making. Fuck being a fireman or an astronaut when u could be a millionaire slanging rocks. This also brought on mad violence such as turf wars, police intervention, rivalries, and claimed thousands of lives. In the 90's these dealers transferred there illicit business into the rap game. Easy E was one of the first cats that turned his hustle biz into a record label. Cats saw that you could make more money slanging music, but still keep the mentality and ethics of the crack game. Tons of artists, from Biggie to Jay-Z to Snoop Dog to Masta P, all were hustlers at one time serving fiends on the corner. Some still are, such as Irv Gotti, most recently. A lot of rappers glorify crack and promote the selling of crack because of how lucrative it is. There is also the songs that discuss the down sides and the evils of the biz. But they are some what out numbered by the tracks that are in favor of the pure white and praise the virtues of selling rocks, such as status, assets, and just being a gangster. Crack has somewhat died down in the last couple of years, just due to fiends dying and people shifting more into heroin. But the impact crack made on society and even music, will be felt for decades. And with that, im going to show all the different angles of cocaine/crack within hip hop music.
1. Peruvian Cocaine - Immortal Technique
This tracks is a narrative about where the cocaine originates and the channels it comes from. Immortal Technique and pals each take turns with roles from the cat picking the leaf, to the political influences, to the cat slanging in the projects, and then even the law enforcement end of it. Its basically shows who is involved and how yayo travels.
2. Ghetto D - Masta P
This is how u make crack and hit the block. This song pretty much tells u how to cook up some crack and get your ass some work. Pretty much biting Eric B and Rakim's classic, Make Em Clap To This, Master P and pals spit the crack rock recipe. This song shows how to make the rocks and how to get your own crack business blooming.
3. Ten Crack Commandents - Biggie Smalls
Ah the classic crack track. This track deals with the crack dealers etiquette. A how to guide on successful crack dealings. Biggie lays down the rule book for slanging rocks on this joint. On a side note, its funny how Chuck D went after Primo for using his voice on this song without authorization for its negative content. What a dick.
4. Hardcore Hip Hop - Rawcoticks (Primo Remix)
This is a soldiers point of view on slanging rocks. A rugged primo track with the cats from Rawcotiks spitting about the everyday hustle. The cat on the second verse really gets into it and details his daily crack slanging biz.
5. Raw And Uncut - Beanie Sigel ft. Jay-Z
This song parallels crack and rap. Beanie goes over his street life, and how he got down on the block. The chorus pretty much sums it all up.
6. White Lines - Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five
This is the old school anti drug track. They rock over Liquid Liquid's Cavern break beat and talks about cocaine and how you got to stay away. The good ol' hip hop PSA.
7. P Is Still Free - KRS One
Damn another Primo track. Primo is the don dadda of this crack rap shit. This song is about skeezy crack hoes. This is basically a follow up to the old BDP classic, The P is Free. This song talks about the sleezy crack chasing hoes, that will do whatever for some rocks.
8. Jane Stop This Crazy Thing - M.C. Shan
Ah this classic talks more about a skeezy crackhoe named Jane. Jane is a base head that is all fucked up and Shan breaks down how wack she got from the glass dick.
Apache Video (Thanks to Elmac for the link)
Pete Rock Making Of Soul Survivor Video (thanks to Prah for the link)
Yo MTV Raps Last Episode ft. Rakim, Krs One, E-Dub, Mc Serch and Chubb Rock
Copywrite got his ass beat by Camu Tau. Its funny as hell cause Copy had brass knucks and wound up breaking his own finger.
Crazy big MF DOOM and Ghostface collab article. And i mean big.
Terror Squad beats crowds asses after getting booed.
Kanye speaks on Dr. Dre in Rolling Stone (thanks to Chronobeats for the link)
GET THE FUK OUTTA HEA! (snatched off Catchdubs)
and thats that. PPPEACE.