It’s 4:20 somewhere. Or at least that’s the way AFROMAN sees the world through his green tinted shades. If you took a musical bong hit concocted out of equal parts Biz Markie, Cypress Hill, Beck, Beastie Boys, and James Brown, the ensuing head rush might be comparable to AFROMAN’s unique sound. His Universal debut, The Good Times, is the funniest feel good album of the year, as songs like “Because I Got High,” “Let’s All Get Drunk,” and “Tall Cans,” raise the roof even higher. It’s all about having the best time possible and living life to the fullest.

Born Joseph Foreman, he officially became AFROMAN after being taunted during his aspiring artist days. “I was gonna name myself all sorts of different imaginations — Heavenly Henry and all this shit,” he explains. “And I was thinkin’ that no matter the name I thought up, it never sounded right. I just wanted to be a realistic fool. I thought, I’m not Denzel Washington, I’m gonna let reality name me. And then this XL chick called me AFROMAN back when I was broke. So I said ‘Okay, that’s my name. I’m AFROMAN.’”

Foreman laid his first tune to tape back in the days of Junior High, when he wrote an amusing ditty about the diminutive size of his teacher’s breasts after he had been expelled. He started out playing drums at church, but later graduated to the guitar, because of one simple factor. “Everyone and their mom played the drums and I wanted more attention,” he laughingly admits. “I noticed how less people played guitar – the more complicated the instrument, the less competition you had. So, I started to play the guitar to try and get more respect, because I was a little punk and wanted the spotlight.” Growing up in East Palmdale, Los Angeles, he began by playing sidewalks, parties, rap contests, and anywhere else that would allow him time on the mic. In November, 1999, he self-released his first proper album Sell Your Dope, a collection that lyrically reflected his childhood influences. “I grew up on Too $hort and 2 Live Crew and I was trying to top them, so you can guess what I was rappin’ about,” laughs the now older-and-wiser singer/songwriter.

After becoming disillusioned with the negativity of Los Angeles, he moved on to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he continued to gig and decided to expand his live show beyond himself and a backing tape. Now backed up by a drummer and a bassist/keyboardist, he handles the vocals and plays the double-necked guitar, which he is still hesitant to say that he has mastered. “There’s a lot of guys who have better technique than me,” he admits. “But as long as I stay in my own lane and my own zone, I’m really good. I’m like a shark, when you throw me in the water, I’m in my own element, I can do my thang. But if you throw a shark up on the sidewalk, me and you can both kick his ass.” Despite any misgivings about his ability on the six string, he knows he’s hit a sweet spot with his live performances. “After the shows, they want the shirt, the hat, the bumpersticker – they’re in the street screamin’ my name. So I think they’re likin’ it,” he jokingly offers. When asked to describe the show, he is somewhat at a loss for words; “It has the longevity of a jam band, the bass of a old school Too $hort joint, the flow of a crazy ass fool…Everybody really gets what they want. I’m tryin’ to sing, I’m tryin’ to rap, I’m tryin’ to crack jokes, I’m dancin’ my ass off, I don’t know how to describe it…It’s wild.”

In spring of 2000 AFROMAN laid down his next project, Because I Got High, in just three weeks. Working with local producer Tim Ramenofsky, AFROMAN handled all the singing and playing, as well as co-producing the effort. The funky title track quickly became a party anthem on the fraternity party circuit in the South, “It’s about taking life’s heavy blows with a smile,” explains AFROMAN. “It’s like, ‘The plane’s wreckin’, let’s have a drink before we crash.’” As for the origins of the tune? “I used to smoke when I was depressed, I didn’t have no money and I couldn’t really speed life up, so I had to just enjoy it in the present tense,” he says grinning. “And that’s when I met marijuana and she was nice to me.” Universal Records picked up on the buzz and was able to do what other labels that had approached AFROMAN had not been able to do – sign a deal. “People would try and make me into the Hot Boys or Vanilla Ice or whoever else was hot at the time and wouldn’t take me for who I was,” explains a frustrated AFROMAN. “That’s when I realized I needed to blaze my own trail. And Universal didn’t want to screw with me, they liked it like it was, and that was cool with me.”

If you’re looking for the perfect soundtrack for life’s biggest party, look no further, AFROMAN is what you need. So have a smoke and enjoy, The Good Times are here to stay.






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