music in the park san jose


music in the park san jose

Born in Palmdale, CA, Afroman grew up in a strict religious household, where listening to anything outside of gospel music was practically prohibited.

“The only time I ever heard rap growing up was when someone would walk by with a ghetto blaster on his shoulder, and I got to hear whatever they were playing,” Afroman says. “The first rap song I heard was Whodini, and I can remember hearing that funny keyboard on ‘Five Minutes of Funk.’ I remember I’d run to the porch just so I could catch that dude walking by with his boombox.”

This Tuesday, Afroman returns to downtown San Jose for a headlining show at Liquid Lounge. It’s a return for the rapper. Recently, he filmed a music video down the road at the Tank Shop on Alum Rock.

Rappers have unique stories for why they start rapping. Many look to it as a means to make it out of the dangerous environments they’ve been brought up in, and although Afroman did struggle, his reason for why he started rapping was quite different.

“I started rapping in elementary school when this girl started picking on my clothes, because she had really nice clothes, and the only way to get her back was to make up a song about her. So yeah I got into rap in the sixth grade back in 1986.”

Though he was a popular rapper locally amongst his peers, he still went through hard periods and was even homeless. Afroman didn’t give up on his dream to make it in the rap game.

“It was hard for me financially, but I think it was liberating to me because I was homeless because I was chasing my rap dream,” Afroman says. “I was living in my car because I was going for it, you see what I’m saying.”

These days, Afroman has his own studio, but his come up in the 1980s and ’90s took serious effort, and a lot of time. 

“I was enthusiastic about getting a mixer with two tape decks. I would play my instrumental on one tape, then I would rap on the mic and I would record that on the next tape deck, and after that I’d have my own tape,” Afroman says. “It wasn’t the best quality but my friends were happy about it, you know I was talking about something that was relevant to our lives.”

Pushing the narrative of having good vibes and living a good life with no worries were the inspirations that brought his two major hit singles “Because I Got High,” and “Crazy Rap (Colt 45 & 2 Zig Zags)” into fruition.

“‘Colt 45 2 Zig Zags’ is like my ‘hey wipe your tears and make life fun, happy and soft, you know.’ Like do what you gotta do to enjoy life, don’t wait for the good time, create it, you know,’ Afroman says. “‘Because I Got High’ was created after I started smoking weed a lot and getting high a lot. I just started to notice how I was procrastinating and forgetting to do stuff. I was a natural procrastinator myself and getting high made me more of a procrastinator.”

Creatively, Afroman begins with the words, letting his narrative run loose before pinning it down to a beat.

“When I know what I want to talk about I write it down, because my message is bigger than the music at that point,” he says. “After I get my words down I try to put music to what I wrote. It’s kind of like a naked body that you try to put clothes on. You just try on different things to see what goes.”

Afroman is no stranger to San Jose. He was just here earlier this year, when he performed/filmed a music video for his song “I Made It” at San Jose’s very own Tank Shop.

“There’s something about being in the Bay that feels good. When I go there I always have a good crowd, and good vibes from San Jose,” Afroman says. “I’ve had some good shows in San Jose. Coming to the Tank, I got to experience the intensity of that San Jose support up close.”

Having achieved so much in his life, Afroman is still on the grind for what’s next. After his show at Liquid, there’s more music on the horizon—even the possibility of a clothing brand. 

“I got a new album called The Lawsuit. I’m getting special fabric made, and the fabric has the police officers on it. I’m gonna take a picture in that suit for the cover of the album,” Afroman says. “Aside from music I’m designing clothes, producing other artists, real estate, I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things.”


Tue, 9pm, $25

Liquid Lounge, San Jose


  1. I like what you wrote about this artist. He sounds so interesting, I’d like to hear more about him.

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