I am sure you have heard of energy drinks. In fact, you’ve probably had one in the past few years. According to RateItAll.com, here are the top 20 energy drinks (in order from #1 to #20):
Red Bull, XS, 5 Hour Energy, Monster Energy Drink, Rockstar: Original, SoBe Adrenaline Rush, BAWLS Guarana Energy, Red Stallion, AMP – Mountain Dew – Green Flavor, Reload, Hype Energy, Source Burn, Full Throttle, Pimpjuice, Red Devil, Liquid X Euphoric Energy Drink, Boo Koo Energy Drink, BOMBA, Battery, NOS
Yeah, I’ve had a few of those at some point during the past several years. And from my experience they pretty much do what they say. They give you energy. And why do we need energy? It’s because we’re a nation of people who are exhausted, busy and always wanting to do more (or less). It’s weird. People who are high strung drink energy drinks when they are not at their A Game of anxiety. On the other hand, people who are exhausted drink energy drinks to get an energy boost, as they are exhausted from doing so much already that day. Everyone’s so busy and exhausted, yet we crave more. It’s a wild circle of logic, and no one can escape the need for energy. And make no mistake, the energy drink market is thriving:
If energy drinks aren’t yet on your menu or even your radar, consider this eye-popping news: The market for energy-boosting beverages has ballooned by more than 400% over the past five years. Sales have grown from $1.2 billion in 2002 to an estimated $6.6 billion in 2007, according to market-research firm Packaged Facts, which projects that the market will reach $9.3 billion by 2011. (R&I)
But there is good news on the horizon, and on the shelves of your local 7-Eleven. It’s called Drank, and it claims to be an anti-energy drink. The slogan is “Slow your roll.” Drank is everything you would ever expect from a drink that called itself an anti-energy drink and an extreme relaxation beverage.
I grew up in Austin and Houston. In Houston, rap music is huge. I remember the first day that 97.9 The Box went on the air. Ah, memories. I still listen to rap music here and there. As recently as a few days ago, I was familiar with purple drank because several prominent hip hop musicians and famous rappers have referenced the drink in several hit rap songs. In those songs, purple drank is also referred to as sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, barre and purple jelly. What I did not know was that a brand of anti-energy drinks had actually been created.
Think about it: Most Americans are pumped to the max on sugar. Everyone’s got ADD at some level. We want it our way, right away. We crave drama. And all of that leads to us being tired and exhausted. The logical evolution of beverages would be the creation of sugary drinks that give you more energy to deal with your day. That is why the energy drink market has surged over the past decade. But with Purple Drank, we have a drink that actually relaxes you. It slows you down. It’s meant to decreases your nervousness and anxiety levels, so you can just chill out a little.
From what I know, Houston has been celebrating a slowed down lifestyle for a long time. You can hear this in the chopped and screwed music that’s been playing in Houston for the past 20 years. You can see this if you go out on a Sunday night and see people cruising down Richmond Ave at slow speeds. People down there love the slowed down lifestyle. And why not? It’s probably not any worse than being high strung, anxious and exhausted all of the time.
The history of purple drank is also quite interesting. While the Drank Beverage brand is relatively new, purple drank has been around for some time. According to the Wikipedia:
Houston, Texas producer DJ Screw first popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the “chopped and screwed” style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of “syrup” was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground Houston rap scene and later spread to other southern states.
In June 2000, Three 6 Mafia’s single “Sippin’ on Some Syrup,” featuring UGK brought the term “purple drank” to a nationwide audience. Three 6 Mafia’s single “Rainbow Colors” featuring Lil’ Flip pertains to the consumption of purple drank; the addition of a Jolly Rancher candy to a cup of purple drank creates a spectrum of colors, hence the name. “Rainbow colors” can also refer to a mix of different narcotic cough syrups containing codeine, hydrocodone, and various other anti-histamines, expectorants, and such. So-called “yellow syrup” is a blend of XR hydrocodone and atropine or chlorpheniramine and “pink syrup” is Cheratussin AC brand codeine and guaifenesin. Cheratussin AC (and other similar brands), which is legal for over-the-counter purchase in some states (e.g., Washington), is sometimes seen as an alternative to purple and yellow syrup.
In 2004, the University of Texas found that 8.3% of secondary school students in Texas had taken codeine syrup to get high. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports “busts” involving syrup across the southern United States, particularly in Texas and Florida. Its use has spread to other parts of the United States and the world, including Mexico, Canada, the Philippines, United Kingdom, Vietnam, India, Israel, Russia, and Japan. (Wikipedia)
That is the story of Purple Drank. I hope you found all of that very enlightening. If you don’t know about purple drank, you are really missing out on a huge cultural phenomenon that originated in the southern United States. And just a word to the wise: do not abuse prescription-strength cough syrup. Codeine, which is found in prescription-strength cough syrup, was likely a big factor in the deaths of DJ Screw, Big Moe and Pimp C. Just thought you should know that.