Afroman: A natural orator comes to Charleston

Photo by Ian Moore

Rolling through Boone’s Bar and Grill on Wednesday night in a pristine green pinstriped suit, Afroman is obviously a man of impeccable style. The man blends nicely into Charleston. His sleek shoes seem at home on Charleston’s stunning streets. I managed to meet up with him on the deck of Boone’s for a few minutes of face time to talk about his upcoming performance on Friday, February 22 at the Music Farm. Before we got the conversation going he lit up his last Newport and cracked a can of Colt 45.

Boone’s management was more than hospitable. Security watched the door to allow for privacy as Afroman spun his stories. We sat there, trapped by delight, and breathed in the pungent Charleston aroma.

Thinking back on his childhood, Afroman has always been a “hustla’.” He sold his first album to his eighth grade classmates. An album soon to be re-released. “I used to have everything the crack dealers had,” he exclaimed. “Only I was on the corner with Jolly Ranchers and rap cd’s.” His character kept the Boone’s Deck in stitches.

We were lucky enough to learn about his musical beginnings. Afroman grew up in a black southern church that was filled with music. “I’ve traveled around the world,” Afroman clasped his hands together lowered his voice, “but I have never heard more beautiful melodies than I heard at Trinity Gardens [Church] in Mobile Alabama.”

He engaged us genuinely, sincerely, and oh so naturally. Afroman is an entertainer in his bones. Even just on a bar stool, with no backdrop or accompanying band, he was putting on a show. He’s bound to take his audience by storm this Friday.

That is how you describe Afroman.

He is the rare type of narrator who pulls you so deeply into his stories, for a while you may forget what’s happening in your own life.  He doesn’t shy away from the hard hitting questions. He forthcoming.

We ran off schedule, but it seemed like only minutes. He apologized for his storytelling. Once he gets going, no one cares to interrupt. We ended the night by talking about his plans for the upcoming April 20 holiday. “I’m a weed rapper,” he pronounced. “If I’m going to put my kids through college I’m going to get it done on 4/20.”

He stopped to make sure that this was all getting written down. Through the tears of laughter things were beginning to go awry: “Put this in or don’t,” he said. “If they ask about it, tell ‘em it’s ‘Because I Got High’.”

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