Sizzurp Addiction & Hip-Hop

by Yesha Callahan


Sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, barre, purple jelly, Texas tea and Tsikuni are all “popular” names for the toxic mixture of  prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine mixed with  ingredients such as Sprite  or Mountain Dew and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy.  Although the drug has been around since the 60′s, it wasn’t until Three Six Mafia’s song, “Sippin On Some Syrup”, brought it mainstream attention.

This past weekend, it was widely reported that Lil Wayne suffered numerous seizures due to a sizzurp overdose. Although TMZ, had him near death, other sources claimed otherwise, even the rapper himself via Twitter.

Lil Wayne has a history of bragging about his use and addiction to potent concoction.  In his freestyle to “Throw Some D’s“, he claims “I’m not a rookie, I’m a pro..methazine fiend” as well as stating “You know what’s in my Styrofoam…what? S-Y-R-UP.” He also mentions the substance in the track “Barry Bonds” from Kanye West’s Graduation album, saying “My drink is still pinker than the Easter Rabbit,”a reference to the color of the beverage.

Wayne doesn’t have a problem admitting his addiction. In a 2008 interview with MTV,  he discussed his battles with sizzurp:

On Sunday night,during a concert in Newark, New Jersey, Wayne explained to the audience that sipping syrup — a combination made up chiefly of promethazine and codeine, which is supposed to be prescribed by doctors for severe colds and pneumonia — is a part of the culture in the South (although Philadelphia is also notorious for syrup). He also talked about how he gets flak for it.

Wayne has said he’s been hearing about how he needs to cut back on syrup more than ever in the wake of Pimp C’s death in December. The UGK member’s death was ruled accidental and due to a deadly combination of syrup and his sleep-apnea condition. Pimp was the most prominent name in the hip-hop community to have a syrup-related death, although Houston MC Big Moe and the legendary DJ Screw have also had their untimely passings tied to syrup consumption. Pimp’s partner Bun B recently went public and called the popularity of syrup — also known as “lean,” “Texas tea” and “drank” — in the South an “epidemic” and said anyone who uses it may want to take a long look at themselves.

“No, he hasn’t talked to me,” said Wayne, sitting in his tour bus in his native New Orleans, about Bun, a longstanding friend of the Cash Money Millionaires family. “But I’m going through that same sh– with my friends, with my mom. Everybody wants me to stop all this and all that. It ain’t that easy.”

Weezy said he can’t just quit cold turkey.

“Do your history, do your research,” he vented. “It ain’t that easy — feels like death in your stomach when you stop doing that sh–. You gotta learn how to stop, you gotta go through detox. You gotta do all kinds of stuff. Like I said, I’m a selfish-ass n—a. I feel like everything I do is successful and productive. It’s gonna be hard to tell me I’m slipping. It’s hard to sit and tell a n—a ‘Stop.’ ‘F—, how can we tell this n—a to stop when every f—ing thing he do is successful? This n—a is making progress. He just went and talked to kids and that sh– was amazing.’ Feel me? So what am I doing wrong?”.

With the deaths of rappers Pimp C and DJ Screw, you’d think that would be more than enough motivation. As with any addiction, just because people want you to stop, doesn’t mean you feel it’s time to.

But what makes sizzurp the “in” drug?  Not only for rappers, but also athletes, and teenagers? Could it be the euphoric side effects, lethargy, drowsiness and feelings of dissociation? But like other drugs, is it really worth risking your life?

If the rumors are true about Wayne’s overdose, and his near brush with death, maybe this will be the final wake up call he needs to convince him that sipping on sizzurp is a death wish waiting to happen.

  • Treece

    “I feel like everything I do is successful and productive. It’s gonna be hard to tell me I’m slipping. It’s hard to sit and tell a n—a ‘Stop.’ ‘F—, how can we tell this n—a to stop when every f—ing thing he do is successful?”

    I understand this point. Not saying I agree, but I get it. Mary J Blige did an interview once where she kinda got at this same point. I’ll paraphrase, but what she said in a nutshell was that it’s hard to see what you are doing (as far as coke use for her) as wrong when everything and everyone around you is a “Yes Man/Woman” and supporting your drug abuse and your career is not suffering. She said when you walk into a room and the coke is on the table, and nobody is telling you no, it’s a hard place for an addict to be. I am not a Lil Wayne fan by any means, but I wish death and the personal hell of drug addiction on no one. Something in his life has got to fall (that really matters to him) to make him stop. I just hope it has nothing to do with his kids or family.

  • No_chaser

    What a tragic mess. Just goes to show, impressionable sheeple will follow just about anything or anyone. If he was a spraypaint sniffer, his fans would follow suit. Parents, take hold of your children.

  • myblackfriendsays

    Lol. I was also going to say something about weed.

    I think Lil Wayne shows the problem the way we educate about drug use and abuse in this country. We teach kids that all kids are equally bad, and we also teach them that people that use drugs cannot be successful. Wayne shows through his music success that the 2nd one is not true. And anyone who has tried drugs knows that they are not all created equal.

    But for Lil Wayne he needs to realize that being hospitalized is a pretty big negative outcome, and get himself into a rehab with a highly skilled team. Withdrawl sucks for all drug addicts, and there are ways to deal with that.

  • Owlman5678

    he is grown A _ _ man! it’s his fault. if he want to due chemicals, that’s his choice.
    Wayne wake up lil’ Brother.

  • Fantastico

    His marriage failed years ago. He constantly puts down women with the skin tone of his daughter from said failed marriage.

    He gives zero fukushimas about family. He cares about monetary success. In that arena he stays winning.

    He will likely die before his money ends. I’m not wishing this on him, that’s just what I draw from what he chooses to show the public.

  • Treece

    That’s why I said that it’s going to have to take for him to loose some HE really cares about to stop. Maybe not his family…..maybe his money. Like I said, I’m no fan of this man’s music or him as a person. I disagree with his lyrics and what garbage he has put forth into this world just as much as any self-respecting woman. I was just giving a little perspective into how the drug addicted celebrity thought process goes (using Mary J as an example).

  • TajMarie

    Here we go again with this mess. Just in another article or blog, he had his pal “Birdman” refute claims that his seizures were due to him drinking “sizzurp”. And prior to that, we had TI coming out against TMZ who made claims that Lil Wayne was being read his last rites. All of these people who came out in “his” defense were scolding people that they shouldn’t put such reports out there because he has family and all of his children who depends on “him”. Well, according to this article, it doesn’t seem as if he cares too much about his health and life in particular — so why should I (even if I don’t wish death on another fellow human being) given all of the mess he has talked about in terms of Black Women. Besides, if his baby mommas are so concerned about his health scare, there is such as thing as health insurance. If that doesn’t seem enough, then it is about high time to learn to live within one means. Furthermore, if he doesn’t have sense enough to draw up a will to protect the interest of his children, then perhaps he is not the great father that the mother of his children make him out to be.

  • London

    Lil Wayne just sounds troubled and delusional. What does having a lot of money and being successful in rapping have to do with getting your personal life and physical health in order. Sounds like he scared of going through a painful detox.

    I just hate that this man has the ear of so many of our young people, and can openly talk about drug use to them and get away with.

  • Keshia

    I know this may sound harsh, but i really wouldn’t care if he ended up dead. The man is horrible from the disgusting lyrics about dark skinned women to emmit till, he’s pathetic. He may be in deep depression and uses this syrup to suppress that idk he’s just not someone I would not mourn over if he passed.

  • honeybeemee

    I hope for Lil’ Wayne’s own good (and for all his children’s sake), that he uses his head than for more than wearing dreads and hats! Drug abuse is one of the hardest things to overcome, ESPECIALLY when one has monetary success and wants for nothing…but one thing that doesn’t give a **** about who you are and what you have is….DEATH…
    There have been many a rich and popular artist that answered death’s call in the prime of their lives and careers. I was caught up in addiction for over 20 years…by the grace of God, I am now clean and sober for almost 12 years, but it took almost 30 years to get the 12! At being nearly 60 years old and having started out my younger life in the entertainment industry, I gave up having a career first for using drugs, then second on getting drugs OUT OF MY LIFE. I can say, that I am happy and grateful that I escaped with my life. I now have chosen to pursue other gifts I am blessed with, and live a much quieter life.
    God bless you, Lil’ Wayne. I pray you get wisdom and recovery, that your wealth and fame not be all in vain.

  • MoreThanAWoman

    @Serita Theresa What happened to using NO drugs or alcohol? Being an alcoholic and using drugs is NOT attractive. Weed IS a DRUG.

  • J. Nicole of UrbanExpressive

    It’s one thing to enjoy, say a well aged whisky or cognac or scotch, but this garbage? A few years ago I was given this stuff when I had a chest infection and it tastes like death! So imagine mixed with Sprite it tastes like fizzy, fruity death. He, and other people who use household item to get high are absolutely suffering from other issues in my opinion. You have access to a world of spirits yet drink liquid codeine? The issue clearly is not alcohol, it’s drugs. And maybe someone needs to tell him a detox is surely less pain then violent seizures. But this man (for lack of a better word) seems to have no regards for Black women, Black history or common sense, so I don’t see him getting better anytime soon, or attempting to.

  • TajMarie

    I meant “life insurance” not “health insurance”.

  • http://ki kiki

    I hope he doesn’t end up like. Amy wine house, Whitney Houston,Anna Nicole smith, Elvis,Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson,, biile holiday…if keeps on and plus he is having seizures off this stuff day he is gonna have a seizure he won’t recover from”he mat be depressed,, a lot of people with drug issues are hiding deeper issues

  • Val

    So, you really aren’t going to publish my comment? Wow. Okay then.

  • Clutch

    Val – we haven’t deleted or not published any of your comments. If you want to republish it – feel free. But, we did not deleted or not publish your comment.


  • Tina

    I never read his thoughts on drug use until now but I am surprised that a company like Mountain Dew, a Pepsico brand, would use him in ads targeted primarily to young men.

  • The Artist

    …..they don’t have anything else to do…

  • Kay

    I’ve heard about syrup, but I never felt the need to try it or any other drug for that matter. Maybe I’m just seeing it from the outside, but if I had his money, I’d want to be dead cold sober so that I could remember every moment of living my life. I guess when these young rappers come up, they don’t have anyone telling them how to really manage their lives; many of their family members including their mothers are just happy to finally have money so they don’t question their life choices. The problem with this is that as the money comes, so does the access to drugs. I’ve known a few trust fund babies who had serious drug addictions because it was so EASY to get what they wanted. And Lil Wayne is perpetuating the cycle by telling young people coming up to blow money on drugs instead of staying clean and investing.

  • Danté

    It’s all part of a culture. That’s why people are sippin lean. It was still kind of a local thing until it first got big around 03/04/05. Now with so many rappers talking about it, it has become a mainstay of today’s youth culture. It’s just like Molly. Suburban white kids were doing Molly for a long time before it blew up, and now look at where it is. It’s all just a fad.

  • Cocochanel31

    As a father of five he is irresponsible and trifling. What good is it to have all the money in the world and lose your soul? If he wants to waste his talent and LIFE on DRUGS then that is his choice. His excuses are just that, excuses. Admit you need help, GET the help, and be an example for your children. It’s not all about you, but like typical addicts they can’t see that.

  • The Comment

    Excellent point. I’d want to be sober to enjoy every moment. So true.

  • Lillian Mae

    I wasn’t aware that he put down dark skin women; what did he say?
    His daughter and ex-wife are beautiful shades dark brown!

  • ChaCha1

    Fads often ruin lives.

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