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120 Minutes' Marco De La Vega (@S4NTA_MU3RTE) lists his top 10 substances that have influenced music in 2011:
1. Adderall: Not just because Bay-local comeup, Kreayshawn, spits bout slangin' em ("gnarly, radical, on the block I'm magical... see me at your college campus baggie full of Adderalls" or even because of Kendrick Lamar's thoughtfully spaced out track "A.D.H.D." but mostly because of its association with hyperactive, creative, and willfully scattered children. Odd Future blew up, Tyler the Creator dropped Goblin, A$AP Rocky put out one of the strongest releases of the year with LIVELOVEA$AP. All kinds of kids were spittin' up mixtapes right outta high school and then signing multimillion dollar contracts.
2. DMT: Dimethyltryptamine is some fucked up shit, and I mean that in the most complementary way possible. A small glimpse behind the fabric of reality. There were a few releases this year that resemble and reflect this completely alien and confusing greater truth. Oneohtrix Point Never's Replica, James Ferraro's Far Side Virtual, and Laurel Halo's flawless EP, Hour Logic (Hippos In Tanks).
3. Nitrous Oxide: whippets are back and that shit makes everything sound like you're living in a vacuum cleaner. As much as I despise the hyperwobbly, fist pumpin' sounds of brosteppers like Rusko, and (cringe) Skrillex, I can't deny that that shit is selling cars; dubstep car commercials. Also, to be fair, real dubstep and what is often called post-dubstep is some amazing music and some of its less commercially viable/more critically acclaimed artists have put out some beautiful work. Zomby dropped Dedication this year on 4AD and that shit is sick. James Blake's debut album is also impossibly good.
4. Pills: maybe it's just the kids I roll with, but I assume that most sensitive, well thought, independent rock is made by people on pills (think old Brian Jonestown Massacre or Jesus and Mary Chain). The second I heard that track "Vomit" off of friends and local heroes Girls new album Father, Son, Holy Ghost, I had to raid my own medicine cabinet, take a couple Vicodin, and listen to a stack of records including that, Tamaryn, King Dude, Chelsea Wolfe, and Zola Jesus.'Bout as close to heaven as a guy like me can get.
5. Coke: coke always has and always will rule the dancefloor. It goes further than that though; coke rap is alive and well. Trap rap (rap about drug dealing) in general is continuing to run shit. And when you got Lex Luger droppin' some of the illest beats around for songs that are 90 percent chorus, how can you go wrong? This is a very serious statement — the Ferrari Boyz (Gucci Mane and Waka Flocka Flame) mixtape that came out about a week before that overhyped, tired, abomination that is Watch the Throne, has some of the best tracks this year.
6. K: club drugs in general are back, and nothing says party like as strong debilitating dissociative. I mentioned this album earlier when I was talking about DMT, but it's good and weird enough that it needs to be mentioned twice. James Ferraro's Far Side Virtual.
7. Acid: my favorite substance. LSD is an extended barrage of overwhelming sensory input, particularly sight and sound, and should therefor be discussed in those terms. Sight: this year has been all about projections, lasers, and smoke — there are a lot of amazing producers playing live right now, and a dude with a laptop ain't a show, so it's important to add some flare. Sound: from mixtapes like White Ring's tranced out Chaind and Nike7up's crazy melted-pop gem 33:33 to Araabmuzik's breathtakingly unfuckwithable album Electronic Dream, this has been the strongest showing dosed out music has had since the mid '90s.
8. MDMA: like I was saying earlier, club drugs are huge right now. Best part about the ecstasy thing though is that we're not talking pressies here, just pure crystalized love. You can hear it in the work of groups like Sleep 8 Over and (of course) Pure X. But I think it's most evidenced by song's like The Weeknd's "High for This" and on Pictureplane's brilliantly positive album Thee Physical (Lovepump United).
9. Weed: not that weed ever goes away, but it's had a really strong year. Seems like everybody's smoking blunts and flipping pounds these days. Wiz Khalifa, A$AP, Lil B, Lil Wayne, Miley fucking Cyrus. and of course Zip and a Double Cup himself, Juicy J., which brings us to our big winner...
10. Promethazine: Lean, purple drank, double cup, sizzurp — codeine cough syrup has a lot of names, and it's been an important factor in rap, particularly Southern rap, for a very long time. But that influence is spreading. Bands like Salem have created whole new subgenres of music built off applying the late great DJ Screw's production sensibilities as liberally as possible. New York Rappers like A$AP Rocky are singing the praises of Screw and Pimp C while repping Harlem and putting New York back on the map. I think 2012 is gonna be all about double cup dinner parties and art walks. Do yourself a favor, call your doctor and fake a cough, pop in Clams Casino's Instrumental mixtape and/or LIVELOVEA$AP and chill for a bit.
"Vomit" blew minds: