Lil Wayne’s “Me and My Drank” lyrics state: “And this is how we do it, do it in the South/One more ounce will make me feel so great/Wait, now I can’t feel my face.”
The “one more ounce” face-numbing beverage he’s referring to is that popular drink in hip-hop, “sizzurp.” Also known as “purple drank,” it is a deadly recreational drug that originated in the South. Houston to be exact.
The main ingredients in this drink are prescription cough syrup, codeine and promethazine. These three ingredients also are mixed with sodas such as Sprite and Mountain Dew.
Earl Davis Jr., the late Houston native known as DJ Screw, producer for Swishahouse records, made the drug popular within the hip-hop community. This brought inspiration to the slowed down music style called “Chopped n Screwed.” Invented by Screw, this is a style of music where a DJ takes a song and slows the beat down.
During the 1990s “sizzurp” was heavily used in the underground hip-hop community in Houston. By the year 2000, this drug was brought to the mainstream. Rap group Three 6 Mafia recorded mainstream hit “Sippin on Some Sizzurp,” a song that promoted use of the drug and how it slows the body.
The drink is deadly and has caused some notable deaths in the hip-hop community, mainly rappers from Texas.
DJ Screw was the first notable death in the hip-hop community from the use of sizzurp. It is reported that Screw had a heart attack due to an overdose of codeine. He was 29. Well-known rap icon Pimp-C, also known as Chad Butler, died of a suspected codeine overdose in 2007. He was 33.
According to Mahalo.com, the most popular type of codeine syrup is promethazine codeine, a prescription cough syrup. When someone takes a high dosage it leads to sedation. The addition of antihistamines, which can speed the heart rate, is intended to deter abuse at high doses.
Use of this product extended beyond the hip-hop community and reached students in the Southern regions as well. According to a 2004 University of Texas study, 8.3 percent of its students have used cough syrup to get a high.