Rap music has had a long history of product endorsement, and although these tributes to the controversial malt energy drink Four Loko (“Loke” for short) may recall the St. Ides commercials of the early ’90s, these songs follow more in the tradition of the Pack’s “Vans.” The next generation’s Lil B and Young L don’t appear to be lurking on any of these tracks, but they’re still a great way to celebrate the delicious (arguably), mind-numbing (definitely), and legal (at least for now) alcoholic beverage that is Four Loko.
10. F.Y.I., “Four Loko”
F.Y.I. consists of four teenagers from St. Paul who write songs that make them sound like they’re from L.A. Like a lot of jerk music, the lyrics are fun, but not technically impressive, and backed by sparse, elemental production. These rappers’ motivations are relatable–a bad week has the first speaker “trying to get to the point where I can’t make it home,” a desire familiar to anyone who’s ever gotten drunk–and their fun-spirited enough to compensate for their beats.
9. Chocolate City (feat. K. Nobles), “Four Loko”
“Four Loko” begins with two promising verses. The first spells out the entire word “inebriated,” and the second not only narrates a game of Kings played with Loko but also breaks down all the ingredients and introduces the phrase “Livin da vida Loko.” From there, the lines become as generic as the beat. The remaining verses are about being drunk, sure, but not about being Loked.
8. C-Stacks (Yung Lokogod), Varo Da Staro, Freakey Mal, C. Murda and Northshore, “Four Loko Freestyle Cypher 5th Ward (Pts. 1-8)”
Is this C-Murder? From No Limit? Making Loke rap? Seeing as he’s currently serving a life sentence, probably not. Either way, this freestyle session is for Loke rap enthusiasts only. Its eight, video-recorded parts are as visually stimulating as when your iPhone 4.0 starts filming in your backpack; aurally, they’re usually lacking any beat and featuring new rappers who keeping jumping in. Sadly, the 5th Ward Loko Cyphers are not the drink’s answer to DJ Screw’s legendary syrup-fueled freestyle sessions, but doesn’t mean we’ll be surprised if they end up appearing on Altered Zones someday.
7. Killah Kid Kriz, “Loko is My Liquor (Official Four Loko Theme)”
From Kriz’s YouTube description: “OFFICIAL 4 LOKO THEME SONG. DROPPED THIS BACK IN FEBRUARY. BUT SINCE I SEE ALL THESE OTHA PEOPLE TRYIN 2 ACT LIKE THEY THE FIRST ONES TO MAKE A FOUR LOKO SONG. I HAD 2 LET EM KNOW KILLAH BEEN 4LOKO SIPPIN. I MEAN HELL I STARTED THE 4LOKO MOVEMENT. EVEN GOT A DEEP ASS SQUAD CALLED #TEAM4LOKOSIPPINSHAWTY”
6. Yung Trap, “4 Loko”
The production on “4 Loko” both the song to sixth spot in this countdown and prevents it from ever being the Four Loko anthem it aspires to be. The “My Hood” interpolation over minimalist drums is certainly creative, but because the track is overall unable to gather much energy, it could never fit the mood of party centered around a tallboy malt beverage jacked with caffiene, taurine and guarana. But Yung Trap win points for honesty (“Two cans got me knocked-out”) in a micro-genre in which every rapper seems to have super-human Loko-drinking ability.
5. L. Boogie, Skoo Boi, LMKR Killa Kam, “Four Loko”
Like F.Y.I.’s “Four Loko,” this “Four Loko” is straight jerk music. The beat is minimal, the rapping is lighthearted and the phrase “Crack the Four Loko” is repeated for the hook. Kam dominates the track with couplets like “Watermelon, fruit punch, lemonade, raspberry/ My little bro took a sip, now his whole chest hairy,” and also includes his AIM screen name in the YouTube video. Thus he was able to confirm that his favorite flavor is Cranberry (I prefer Cranberry-Lemonade) and clown me for never drinking more than two in one night.
4. Gwop Starz, “Four Loko”
By far the most consistent song thus far, Gwop Starz’s “Four Loko” contains verse after verse of unique Loke raps. The chorus starts with a familiar rap trope–“Sippin on some purple”–but then distinguishes this purple as the uva flavor of Loko. In fact, these rappers are explicit about their preference for Four Loko over other bodega staples (Camo, Joos, Hurricane, beer in general) and include the prescient lines, “Watchu sippin on I got that Four Loko/ My mind’s so throwed and I’m watching for the Po-po.”
3. “First Annual ‘Four Loko Rap Battle'”
Is “First Annual ‘Four Loko Rap Battle’ technically a rap song about Four Loko? Well, no, but it deserves inclusion for its bizarre creativity and adoration of Four Loko. It’s hard to imagine what’s going on here without watching the video, but essentially a man with gold sunglasses and a Kimbo Slice beard hosts and records a rap battle between the different Four Loko flavors, then does the voice of each of those flavors as well as that of the referee, who is represented as a can of Bud Light Lime. Things get nasty when Fruit Punch accuses Blue Raspberry of not actually containing 12% ABV.
2. Ricosuave, “So Loko (4 Loko Anthem)”
When it comes to rapping about Four Loko, no one is on Ricosuave’s level right now. Every verse is spit with an intensity and attention to detail that proves his supreme dedication to the drink. Although Four Loko has come under attack in the last few months, its existence can be justified simply for inspiring the couplet: “I know Jesus turned water into wine / But he woulda turned it to Four Loko at a party of mine.”
1. Gwop Gang, “Four Loko”
The Gwop Gang’s “Four Loko” has come the closest to actually serving as an unofficial Four Loko anthem (its million-plus YouTube hits put it far above any competitors), and that distinction is well-deserved. The group’s swag rap provides the closest representation of the Four Loko experience yet achieved in song. Anyone drinking or preparing to drink a can or two will enjoy the call-and-response hook, and experienced Loko drinkers will take pleasure in picking up on subtleties like the play on the “We I.D.” badge printed on the back of the can. “We turned Loko into the new Rosé,” one of the rappers says in a behind the scenes video. That might not be totally true, but they did provide an unmatched accompaniment for the rise of the drink that finally helped us overcome the loss of Sparks+. What’s next for the Gwop Gang? If this video is any indication, a song in honor of Ralph Lauren might be in the works.
Honorable Mentions: Lovek, “Four Loko”; Fese, “The Official Four Loko Song”; Giddy Gouda, “Four Loko”; Baby-T, “I’m Four Loko Sippin”; V.I.P., “Four Loko”; Young Dooby, Mag-Niff and El Nino, “Four Loko.”