Intoxicated rhythms

Pub date August 19, 2009
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

An almost mythological speculation inundates many so-assumed drug-inspired recordings, especially those of the psychedelic ’60s. Despite my late nights of fuzzy research, I thus advise the reader to measure these drugged-out recordings with the highest dose of skepticism. (Michael Krimper)

Ash Ra Tempel and Timothy Leary — Seven Up (Kosmiche Kuriere, 1973)
While recording, members drink a 7-Up can laced with LSD.
Dr. Dre — The Chronic (Priority, 1992)
The much-imitated and never duplicated source of blunted funk rap.
David Bowie — Station to Station (RCA, 1976)
On a cocaine trip to new-wave space.
Sly and the Family Stone — There’s A Riot Goin’ On (Epic, 1971)
Famously recorded in Sly’s Bel Air drug mansion.
Leak Bro’s — Waterworlds (Eastern Conference, 2004)
Get wet with these rhymers on a PCP holiday.
Quasimoto — The Unseen (Stones Throw, 2000)
Madlib gets wicked with psilocybin mushrooms and a voice modulator.
DJ Screw — 3 N’ The Mornin’ Pt. 1 (Bigtyme, 1995)
The originator of purple drank (codeine, promethazine, alcohol).
The Cure — Pornography (A&M, 1982)
A dark journey into LSD, cocaine, and alcohol.
Pink Floyd — The Piper at The Gates of Dawn (EMI Columbia, 1967)
This Syd Barrett acid trip will keep you away from drugs forever. Bonus: songs about love interests that are really about drugs.

Rick James — "Mary Jane" (Motown, 1985)
Marijuana’s classic cut just to get your feet wet.
The Beatles — "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Capitol, 1967)
Heavily debated, but really, is this not about LSD?
Laid Back — "White Horse" (Sire, 1967)
Don’t ride heroin, but get up on that white pony!
E-40 — "White Gurl" (My Ghetto Report Card, Reprise, 2006)
Another Yay Area cocaine anthem.
Paper Route Gangstaz — "Keyshia Cole" (Fear and Loathing in Hunts Vegas, Mad Decent, 2008)
Tribute to the Oakland-based singer — and potent brand of herb.
Don Cherry — "Brown Rice" (Don Cherry, Horizon, 1975)
Oh, seductive golden brown of heroin!
Cab Calloway — "Minnie The Moocher" (Brunswick, 1931)
Save your wallet and stay away from Minnie, that drug fiend inside you!
Steely Dan — "Doctor Wu" (Katy Lied, ABC, 1975)
A tad colonial, but still an insightful meditation on the opiate trade.