July 24, 2009
A drink of Drank


Work's been a little hectic lately, so it's a recent Saturday night and I'm decompressing at home. The time's arrived to pop a can of Drank that's chilling in the refrigerator.

Drank's billed as an "anti-energy" drink, with calming powers to "slow your roll." Think of it as Red Bull in reverse. But does Drank really provide a carbonated dose of mellowness, or is it just snake oil in a purple can?

But first, some background - especially if you're not up on southern hip-hop culture.

Listen to songs by Three 6 Mafia, Paul Wall, Lil Wayne and you'll hear references to "drank," a potent mixture of soda, codeine cough syrup and Jolly Rancher candies. Also known as "purple drank," "sizzurp" and "lean," this concoction inspired a sub-genre of hip-hop called "chopped and screwed," where music slows down to woozy tempos and reflects life at half speed.

The underground version of this drink can be lethal. Houston's DJ Screw, a pioneer of the "chopped and screwed" movement, died at the age of 29 following an overdose of alcohol and codeine.

So the purple can now found nationally at 7-11 stores is a legal version of "drank," which sells for around $2. You won't find codeine in Drank, a product from Houston's Innovative Beverage Group. Drank's "slow your roll" properties are purportedly from such active ingredients as melatonin, valerian root and rose hips.

And yes, on this night I could use some slow in my roll. So I cued up a re-mix of Mike Jones' "Still Tippin'" and opened my can of Drank.

The taste wasn't bad at all, something like 7-Up mixed with a grape Flintstones vitamin. Compared to medicinal taste of many energy drinks, the crisp and lightly sweet flavor of Drank is cool by me.

So I drank my 16 oz. can of Drank, hoping to feel legally chopped and screwed, or at least a little sleepy. And then I drank some more.

90 minutes later I'm on the couch watching "Saturday Night Live" and feeling, well, pretty normal. I'm certainly not amped up, but the sandman doesn't seem to be knocking on my eyelids either. It's been a relaxing evening, though not really out of the ordinary.

I did slept pretty hard that night, which may or may not be due to Drank. I like the idea of Drank being hip-hop's answer to hot milk, but wish it would've wound me down much more.

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