Any good hip-hop fan or pop culture obsessive probably has at least some sense of what sizzurp is. The cocktail of Sprite, codeine cough syrup and an optional Jolly Rancher is what allegedly put Lil Wayne in the hospital earlier this month and it’s been the topic of numerous hip-hop mixtapes and songs.
KCRW’s Good Food show wanted to know more than just that minimal amount of trivia, though, and consulted two Houston-based experts, author Lance Scott Walker and professor of public health Dr. Ronald Peters, for some more details about the drink’s origin, commercial spin-offs, and ties to the hip-hop community. What the show uncovered is pretty interesting. For instance, while “drank” or “lean” might seem like a modern cocktail, its origins actually go back to the ‘60s, when blues musicians in Houston were drinking a variation, and while its popularization is due in part to Houston hip-hop legend DJ Screw, its longevity in the scene is due in part to the substance’s serious, heroin-like addictive properties.
There’s a ton more information in this 7-minute segment from Good Food, though. Listen below with (or preferably without) a cold styrofoam cup of the purple stuff nearby.