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"It is bigger than anything else we have on the air."
—--Mike Peer, WXRK New York
AFROMAN GETS HIGH ON THE CHARTS
Pot Anthem Hits Rock, Crossover Radio, Movie Theaters & Media
It's the hottest novelty record since Sgt. Barry Sadler was in the Green Berets or Bob Dylan was drawling, "Everybody must get stoned."

Afroman's "Because I Got High," an ambling, blues chant that starts off, "I was gonna clean my room before I got high," and ends up with the confession, "I messed up my entire life because I got high," is this year's summer anthem for rockers and hip-hoppers.

"We're growing this one organically. Let's be blunt, we're throwing it out there and watching it burn," explained Universal Records Sr. VP A&R Avery Lipman as he stared blankly at his lava lamp. "We're just holding on for dear life, trying to catch up. Projects like this are what makes the record business exciting and fun."

The track is from the 27-year-old's major-label bow, The Good Times, which hits the streets Aug. 28 on top of #1 phones at both PoMo and Crossover stations, including KROQ in L.A. and WKTU in New York.

"It is bigger than anything else we have on the air," said WXRK N.Y. MD Mike Peer. "I would have played it even more… but I got high."

KMEL S.F.'s Michael Martin said: "In one day, phones were ringing off the hook, so we just had to… um… what were we talking about?"

With no commercial single, bloodshot eyes are trained on the upcoming release date, and retailers are cotton-mouthed with anticipation. The song is currently available only on the Universal soundtrack for Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, which was released Aug. 7. The hilarious video, featuring an increasingly bleary Afroman selling "Budsicles" from an ice cream truck, is an homage to such forebears as old blues plaints, Cheech & Chong and Half-Baked, with Jay & Silent Bob director Kevin Smith as Silent Bob and Jason Mewes as Jay Phat Buds. The song plays over the end title of the movie, which comes out Aug. 24.

"It's going to be a freight train," says Trans World's Vinnie Birbiglia after taking a humongous bong hit. "This one came out of left field. We first felt it out of Florida, with monumental requests. It's just too bad there's no single."

Wherehouse's Bob Bell was so excited, he stopped wolfing down Twinkies long enough to chortle: "Pre-release demand on Afroman is going through the roof! I attribute this to the song's strong anti-drug message. Either that or people just like songs about weed! Hey, can I hear 'Whipping Post' again?"

Radio stations are playing the song under the guise that it's a cautionary tale. Afroman, whose real name is Joseph Forman, even told a reporter the tune doesn't "justify pot, nor do I do it anymore… Hey, I've got albums to record. Pot is like a pretty girl who never goes home—it gets in the way."

During a raucous visit to hitsdailydouble.com HQ, Afroman was treated like a reigning superstar, and seemed awestruck at the response. Or maybe it was just the contact high. Anyway, the guy still lives in Hattiesburg, MS, with his father, a former military officer who works for McDonnell Douglas and is only now taking pride in his son's accomplishments.

The East Palmdale native started out playing sidewalks, parties and rap competitions before putting out his first indie album, Sell Your Dope, in Nov. '99. He moved to Mississippi shortly afterward, where he continued to gig and work on his live act. Afroman recorded The Good Times in three weeks with local producer Tim Ramenofsky, and then Universal offered him a deal.

"It's about taking life's heavy blows with a smile," he said about his summer anthem, just before a HITS reporter spilled bongwater on his lap.

The marketing setup includes an article in Time Magazine, an appearance on Howard Stern with Kevin Smith this Wednesday (8/22) and—big surprise—the High Times "Doobie Awards" at Wetlands in New York on Sept. 12.

Added Lipman: "This may be a novelty, but Afroman is a very, very clever guy. He has the potential to be a cult figure. The album is more than just one song. Now will you stop bogarting that quote?"

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