For someone like me, who consumes industrial quantities of codeine (and by that I mean more than several grams a day), it's something that really shocks me. Why the hell is codeine suddenly appearing in rap songs by groups from all over the world in every language you can think of? To find out, I asked BertiMC -- a rapper from Salamanca -- what he thought and his answer was simply, "It's the fashion." And he's right. A fatal fashion started by a guy named Dj Screw, who died of an overdose of codeine mixed with other drugs, which seems to have started a trend, a kind of cult, if you will, within this musical genre.
In reality, Dj Screw didn't OD on codeine, but rather on codeine + valium + PCP (plus all the other stuff they found in his blood), but it looks like the 'purple potion', a mix of codeine cough syrup (which isn't purple in Spain, by the way) and some other drink came into being on this gentleman's death and it has taken off from there: more like a cult reaction than a response to the effects of pharmacology.
Not long ago I received a message from an acquaintance asking me if I knew how to get ahold of codeine, which I thought strange since this person knows that I have access to morphine (which is the same thing, only 10 times stronger). But he was particularly interested in codeine because some "rapper" friends wanted to try it. Why? Because it's part of their gig .. simply that, but that doesn't wipe out the dangers associated with consuming the stuff.
Niños bomba en la esquinas, to' ciegos de codeína, aprendieron la lección: prometazina y colocón!!
"Cool kids on the corner, trippin' on codeine, they all learned the trick, promethazine's a trip!"
This stanza is part of the rap song "Neighbourhood Warriors" by Charflex, who by the way -- from everything I've heard about drugs in this milieu -- are the ones who seem most keyed into the codeine scene.
And this song delivers a message with a clear pharmacological background: "promethazine's a trip!"
It's not their only song with this message. In "Lucky Strike Boy" (a collaboration between their colleague Dudu and the producer of LFAM), there's a slightly different take on it that's pretty interesting:
El bote de 'Tose'* está de atrezzo! The "Tussin" bottle's up at bat!
Me siento feliz, pero no es eso... I'm feelin' good, but it ain't that...
Mira pequeñín: sólo es placebo. Look, punk, it's a placebo.
Beber codeína te da un mareo. Drinkin' codeine makes you feeble.
Sin prometazina es un refresco... Without promethazine it's a can of pop..
¿por qué se las tiran de estar to puestos? Why they all crazy to be trippin' on that crap?
¿Dolor de barriga por tomar medicamentos? Get a stomach ache for takin' kiddie meds?
Ahora todos los críos se creen 'kinkeo'... Now all the kids, they think they're somethin' dread.
*Toseína, un jarabe con codeína para la tos. *Robitussin, the codeine cough medicine.
Holy crap! What's with all the pharmaceutical knowledge? It's true that there are multi-ingredient cough syrups containing either codeine or DXM -- a dissociative drug that has nothing to do with codeine -- along with promethazine, a mild antipsychotic drug (with 10% potency compared to chlorpromazine) and first generation antihistamines (the ones that cause drowsiness). Apart from adding their effects to that caused by the opioid, these added ingredients improve codeine's metabolic pathway, generating a greater and longer lasting effect -- up to three times more than codeine alone.
The same thing happens with other, similar antihistamines, which, like glutethimide, are used to strengthen the "weak" effects of codeine in circles where the use of these types of drugs has become popular among certain groups.
As a person involved with the whole drug scene, I find it interesting that a song is giving me "instructions" for how to improve my codeine rush by using it in combination with other stuff and that on top of it all, the tips are strangely correct and accurate. My congrats to Charflex for providing this information; they're doing better work than the press in getting out accurate information on drugs.