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Afroman's Controversial New Song 'Because I Got High' All the Rage

Aired August 23, 2001 - 11:52   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURIN SYDNEY, CNN ANCHOR: Good day, everybody. I am Laurin Sydney with a sneak peak of Elton John's latest.

Here it is.

Yes, that is Robert Downey, Jr., lip-synching to Elton John's voice. The actor stars in John's video, "I Want Love," the first single from the pop star's new album, "Songs from the West Coast." Downey was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to take part in a year of drug rehabilitation, stemming from an arrest last Thanksgiving. John stated on his Web site that he is a big fan of Downey and thought the song would be perfect for him to interpret.

OK, while you can catch Elton John's video anytime on MTV or VH1, the same can't be said for Afroman's latest. His song, "Because I Got High," may be hitting a high note with music lovers across the country, but it's also causing a little controversy.

Michael Okwu sat down with Afroman and has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're single "Because I Got High" is the most requested song on the radio in the country. How did that happen?

AFROMAN, MUSICIAN: Oh, I don't know. I don't know. I just recorded it and you know started selling it if the city and it was dominated effected from the city to the state.

OKWU: Did your label go to the station and really push it, or was it is a grassroots' thing.

AFROMAN: It was grassroots, and. It started with people you know, just selling it to a whole bunch of people, and then the music started to sell itself and they started playing it and, next thing you know, like, some other little kid helped me out and put it out on Napster, and they gave meet publicity that I couldn't pay for. I couldn't say that the Super Bowl was sponsored by Afroman. But you could go to Napster and find out if they like me or what it was about. And next thing you know, I guess Universal Records had Napster, too.

OKWU: Was it your attention to praise marijuana use? You just want to...

AFROMAN: My intention was to tell a story about my experience, you know what I am saying? A realistic story. I didn't, you know, say, hey, you know, I did this and that, and you know, I didn't lie, I just told total truth, you know, just like people do on sex education. They don't tell you to go out there you know, hump everybody that you see. They just let you know, the stuff that can happen.

Anything that consumes too much of a human being's time can be a problem. For me, you know, at one point, it was marijuana. But you know, for you, it could be a pretty woman you know?

You were going to clean your room when Jill came over.

Until this week, MTV pretty much looked they had no attention of playing the song, and now they said that they are going to play it over in overnight rotations and only after approached your record label and saying that they want lyrical and vision changes to the song. What were the changes, and how do you feel about all of that?

AFROMAN: Well you have to keep your mind, you know, like, a year ago, I was standing at gas stations trying to sell my CD, and just the fact that they talk about it is progress, you know what I am saying. And they make, you know, their decisions, and you just have to respect them. I am happy to say that they have added to the video, and you know, my company's, you know, meeting their requirements and everything, working with them, because they got things that they have to look out for.

OKWU: This song of yours is pretty much the anthem for the film "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back."

AFROMAN: Yes, I was blessed to come back from the gang before my album dropped, just to be on a movie soundtrack. It was a blessing, and I was really happy about that.

OKWU: You are a happy man today.

AFROMAN: Yes, yes, I am.

OKWU: Congratulations.

AFROMAN: Thank you. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYDNEY: On that happy note, we're out of here.

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