If you pay attention to rap lyrics from Southern artists, there are countless references to drinking cough syrup. "I got that syrup in my cup, I got that lean, I got that drank in my cup." But the recreational drug has a dark side. Texas rap legends Pimp C and DJ Screw both died from "sippin' syrup."
After realizing that the use of illicit cough syrup was a rampant part of the hip-hop culture, one pharmacist decided to do something about it.
Born and raised in a very small town in Louisiana, Marco Moran was inspired to become a pharmacist by his high school physical sports trainer, who was also the pharmacist in town. After graduating from Louisiana State University and Northeast Louisiana University's pharmacy program, Moran began to do research into the prevalence of cough syrup abuse in urban communities. Moran discovered cough syrup abuse was a widespread epidemic affecting not only urban youth but many other races and age ranges.
"While working part-time at night at a drugstore, I noticed massive amounts of young people coming from nightclubs or going to nightclubs with prescriptions for codeine, Robitussin with codeine, Tussionex and so forth in the middle of the summer when people weren't really catching colds," says Moran. Moran wanted to do something that got people off of the negative and harmful drugs and replaced them with all-natural ingredients. That led him to create Moran's Lean Slow Motion Potion.
"Lean is a safe combination of pharmaceutical grade herbs and syrup-based flavors that promotes a desired level of swagga to get you feelin' right any time, day or night!" he says.
Moran said that when he first launched his product, people thought they had the "real" syrup. He says Lean is "the premium, most potent relaxation drink that causes sippas of all ages to chill out, especially during times of high stress."
Moran wants to decrease the number of people, especially kids, who will overdose from the misuse of cough syrup. He feels that people want to emulate rappers and their lifestyles, so he is on a crusade to get rappers to promote Lean as a positive alternative. The Lean flavors Purp, Yella and Easta Pink are common words rappers use in their lyrics when referring to their potentially fatal syrup concoctions.
"We want to desensitize the youth on what the real Purp, Yella and Easta Pink is. When people hear the references in the lyrics, we want them to associate it with the Lean they see in the stores."
Moran developed the flavor Yella for those sippas that like to Po It Up in pineapple-based Fanta sodas (like rappers in Tennessee). Purp was designed for the traditional hard core Texas-based Lean sippas that like it raw mixed with Sprite and various candies. Moran says, "Dat Purp is hood-recognized and street-certified."
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The third urban-based flavor is Easta Pink, which was of course inspired by Lil Weezie, as his favorite of Lean mixtures. This flavor was made to attract the ladies, but it's among the favorite of all the fellas. Moran says with Easta Pink, "We got the game on lock with this one."
Although Moran's product is in the category of relaxation beverages, his marketing campaign is geared toward the urban community, which it incorporates using rappers that are influential in the hip-hop community. Lean is endorsed by platinum-selling hip hop artists from Lil Wayne to Kanye West as well as local Houston artists like Paul Wall and Lil Keke.
When asked about the success of his brand, Moran says that "A lot of people fail to give hip-hop the credit it deserves in shaping our culture. It doesn't matter what race you are or profession you're in, rap music has such a crossover appeal; everyone wants to be a part of it, and that's why Lean is growing prosperously."
Lean Slow Motion Potion is currently in 27 states, Canada and Mexico. If you're looking to "get your lean on," check your local convenience store or visit www.slowmotionpotion.com to "po it up and slow it up."