Yesterday, the unthinkable almost happened—Four Loko, the sticky sweet, heavily alcoholic, formerly-caffeinated beverage that college students sucked on like the precious nectar of life, was nearly declared illegal. It made me think back to the first time I drank a Four Loko, the summer before my Senior year of college. My friend and I had a rule that we had to see any band that swung through our college town whose name had the word “fuck” in it, and that’s how I ended up leaning off the Loko watching Starfucker, who are apparently now known as STRFKR, play indie-dance music to a room full of fratty looking kids.
In its original form, Four Loko’s legend preceded it. Blackouts. Excess vomit. One and you were done. Two and you were dead. Despite (or perhaps because) of this, Four Loko was the best and inspired a legion of followers, fans, and hard-drinking enthusiasts who waxed poetic about its myriad virtues. You didn’t just “drink” Four Loko, you were on it. Your body hovered as your mind reached an entirely new plane of thinking. Not a healthy plane of thinking, mind you, but definitely a heretofore unexplored one. And the hangovers. JESUS CHRIST, THE HANGOVERS. If you’ve ever felt flattened by alcohol withdrawal, multiply that by the searing headache that seems to fill your brain as you empty your bladder of radioactive piss, and then throw in a complete inability to hold down solids, and that’s what we’re dealing with here.
More than that, Four Loko had a weird influence on hip-hop, becoming the go-to signifier for not going buck and leaving all of your fucks behind, never to be retrieved. Because I was bored at work, here are the best rap songs that will be forever indebted to Four Loko.GUNPLAY - "FOUR LOKO"
Is it possible to conceive of a more perfect alignment of brands than Gunplay and Four Loko? No, because Gunplay is the Tasmanian Devil of hip-hop and a beautiful mixture of caffeine and alcohol has been running through his veins since time immemorial.SMOKE DZA FEAT. A$AP ROCKY - "FOUR LOKO"
Despite Smoke DZA's status as the world's sleepiest dude, he and A$AP Rocky managed to turn the concept of Four Loko into a nervy fight anthem. Also shouts out to the fact DZA shouts out North Carolina's favorite alcoholic white-dude rapper Joe Scudda, who, as someone who hails from North Carolina, I have to stan for.GWOP GANG - "FOUR LOKO"
Gwop Gang! This song ruled because they wore outfits that coordinated with their Four Loko cans. Also, they rapped about Twitter before it was cool. Highly #VISIONARY.DJ KHALED - "I'M ON ONE"
Theimage of DJ Khaled standing wistfully on a balcony, Four Loko in hand, watching the party die around him while he is too caffeinated to live, is one that will last forever. What happened to that Four Loko can? Did a pigeon end up shitting in it? Did he drop it down on a passer-by? Only DJ Khaled knows, and he ain't snitchin.DAS RACIST - "HAHAHAHA JK"
R.I.P. Das Racist. Heems fears nothing, including rapping about being so wild his boys call him Four Loko. While we're on the subject, you should listen to "Benny Lava," his newest offering with Riz MC as Swetshop Boys.
BIRDMAN FEAT. YOUNG JEEZY AND BUN B - "MY JEWEL"
Bun B is a legend for many reasons, and being up on Four Loko before any of the haters is one of them.
Drew Millard last drank an Original Formula Four Loko in, like, 2012. He's on Twitter - @drewmillard