Some call it lean; others call it barre or simply drank. Whichever you prefer, promethazine with codeine cough syrup is the ever so popular recreational drug used by many people. Houston's hip-hop culture has made lean something everyone has wanted to talk about or even try for decades. If you type in cityofsyrup.com in your Web browser you will be linked to the City of Houston's official site. Not sure exactly how that happened but it's a fun fact and proof is in the pudding guys. [Ed. note: No lie.]
The city and hip-hop in general is engulfed in syrup. On the late, great singer Big Moe's debut album cover (which is also titled City of Syrup) , he is seen pouring purple syrup over the city's skyline. Houston artists are the originators and the reason some folks worldwide sing and sip in unity. The late DJ Screw, members of the Screwed Up Click, the folks on Swishahouse and other local artists have provided further soundtracks to syrup-sippin'.
Drank has also been the alleged cause of the deaths of legends like DJ Screw, Big Moe and Pimp C. it also has been the alleged cause of New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne's recent hospitaliztion. In some songs, the artists will admit to being addicted and hooked on the drug, while others are subtle cries for help with letting go of lean.
Mixed feelings and opinions will always come out when it comes to syrup, especially in the media, but one thing for certain is that certain Houston rappers love it and made some pretty awesome, melodic music to spread the gospel about it. The following is a collection (in no specific order) of 20 of Houston's finest odes to that oil, so hold your white muddy cups in the air (totally kidding) and sing along.
20. Big Moe, "Barre Baby"
In 2000, "Barre Baby" was released by the late S.U.C. member Big Moe. The song was from his critically acclaimed and amazingly awesome album City of Syrup. This entire album is an homage expressing his love of lean.
Most Memorable Line: "I got the whole wide world sippin drank with me"
19. Z-Ro, "Drank So Good" The Mo City Don Z-Ro admits to being a "drankhead" on this one but guess what, he doesn't give a damn.
Most Memorable Line: "I'm in love with a 20 oz Big Red with a three up in that bitch/some ya'll say I'm a drank head/ I'll drank a straight four, five, six/ And I guess I really am/ But I don't give damn"
18. Fat Pat, "Let's Call Up On Drank" Yet another late S.U.C. member, Fat Pat joins Mike D to let us all know who he wants to call on. This 1996 freestyle became a classic with a line that was used in a Lil Flip song years later.
Most Memorable Lines: "I love drank/ So what they talkin' 'bout/ I'm from the South/ I got them diamonds in my mouth"
"It ain't too late/ It's just 7 in the mornin'"
17. Swisha House, "Drank Up In My Cup"
This 1998 freestyle is a Houston classic. It can be heard in almost every party in Houston and everyone would sing along. The seven-minute freestyle session features the instrumental to Missy Elliot's "All In My Grill," another amazingly incredible song. The Swishahouse artists on this track include: Big Tiger, Lil Ron, Lester Roy, Blindcyde and Tubby. Each artist makes the freestyle seem effortless.
16. Big Moe, "Codeine Fiend" Big Moe gives us his version of Sting/Diddy's "I'll Be Missing You" on this freestyle ode to lean.
Most Memorable Line: "Sippin' on dat drank dat lean/ Big Moe's a codeine fiend"
15. Big Moe, "Never Leave Drank Alone" This song sounds so beautiful and bittersweet, as Big Moe once again expresses his undying love of the codeine. It's also a very chilling song because this is where the now-deceased rapper sings about not ever giving up the habit until he leaves Earth.
Most Memorable Lines: "I'm gon drank 'til I D-I-E/ And ya know that my casket gon' have a jug inside me"
"If you wanna sip like Moe, yo/ Put a pint in a 2-liter"15. Big Moe feat. Mike D and Michael Wilson "Leanin"
Big Moe's albumCity of Syrup
may have had one or two songs that weren't about sipping lean. This song is a Houston rendition of Jodeci's "Feenin." Instead of singing to a woman about how good her "loving" is, Big Moe decideded to sing passionately to codiene. Once again the confession of being addicted comes into play.
Most Memorable Line: "I gotta po' it up/ It makes me lean/ I can't go a day without my codeine"14. Z-Ro feat. Lil O, "Can't Leave Drank Alone"
This is a more recent version of Big Moe's "Leanin." Z-Ro sings his heart out about catching drank cases and being out on bond but still sipping. Lil O mentions being so high that he hears the spirit of late Houston rapper Big H.A.W.K. Both admit to being hooked, but neither one of them gives a damn.
Most Memorable Line: "Y'all would think that with three felony cases/ I would leave drank alone/ I'm still out on bond/ And I'm-a keep dranking till all the drank is gone"
13. Lil Flip feat. Will Lean, "Lean Wit Me"
On Lil Flip's albumThe Takeover
, he decided to remake the classic song, "Lean On Me." Because it's not always fun unless you have someone to lean with you, right?
12. Big Moe, "Tryna Leave Drank Alone" "Tryna Leave Drank Alone," which has the same melody as "Never Leave Drank Alone," might be one of the saddest songs about drank. Here, after DJ Screw had passed, Big Moe admits that he wants to quit sipping syrup.
The addiction to lean is a very serious epidemic in the hip-hop community. The fact that an artist like Big Moe, who was prominently known for sipping, confessed that he needed to slow down and think about his health amounts to a bone-chilling cry for help.
Most Memorable Line: "Now I know that I'm gettin olda/ And it seems the world is so much colda/ And success puts stress on my shouldas/ So now I'm pourin' less in my soda"
11. Fat Pat feat. Lil Keke, DJ Screw and Lil "Shortage on Drank" The title says it all. Pat and Keke freestyle without being under the influence of syrup, mentioning almost every two lines that they don't have any drank.
The 11:25-long freestyle can be found on a DJ Screw tape. It's quite impressive for the duo to be a little pissed that the drank man can't be found. The freestyle is done over an instrumental to Da Brat's hit song "Gonna Give it to Ya."
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Most Memorable Line: "Smokin' that weed/we ain't got no drank/but the real playas we still got bank"