Still livin’ in the bottle:

“Now don’t you think it’s a crime? Time after time.
People in the bottle.”
–Gil Scott- Heron

“Who’s Pimping Who?” (

( – Mr. Willie did not grow up wanting to be the neighborhood drunk, walking up and down the street with a bottle of Boones Farm, singing old Isaac Hayes lyrics. I’m sure at one point he was “tha man,” getting his drink on every now and then and pouring out a little liquor on the sidewalk for “the Brothas who ain’t here” but as the years went by, he poured less on the concrete and more inside of himÉ”


While the title of Nelly’s new “energy” drink, Pimp Juice, rubbed me the wrong way and made me jump up and shout “We are not pimps and whores, we are the Fathers and Mothers of civilization being pimped by the system and treated like whores,” the problem that should be of concern for every community suffering from the effects of alcoholism is the statement in a news article that appeared on attributed to Nelly’s company Team Lunatics, that says that Pimp Juice (although it is non-alcoholic) “mixes perfectly with numerous vodkas.”

Alcoholism is a major problem in Black America and its consumption can be traced to many health and other social problems that plague our community. There is an old joke that says you know when you reach tha ’hood because there is a church and a liquor store on every corner.

The liquor industry has long targeted the Black community with its diabolical marketing schemes, from the Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull bustin’ through my TV after every video in the ’90s, to the infamous St. Ides commercials that had every wanna-be playa (and aspiring rap star) runnin’ to the corner store to see if the stuff really did make you a “Mack Daddy.”

I also remember a company that had the ingenious idea of putting fruit drinks into whiskey bottles. Sadly, many of our so-called leaders have refused to speak out against the liquor industry for fear that their yearly Malt Liquor Mamma Swimsuit Calendar might get lost in the mail or their annual 40-oz. 40-point Basketball Tournament may not get funded next year.

Another major concern is the “unofficial” marketing campaigns, whereby a hip hop artist increases the sales of a type or brand of drink by “endorsing” it in a rap song. Herein lies the problem with Pimp Juice. With Pimp Juice Energy Drink, Nelly crossed the line.

Unlike some who claim “the starving artist, doin’ what I gotta do” excuse, Nelly did not have to put out Pimp Juice and his company definitely did not have to add the vodka comment as an added sales pitch. He is already (as he has said time and time again) one of the top hip hop artists. He is a pop icon with millions of kids watching him daily on video programs. So, he has a great influence on young folks. How many kids are walking around with band-aids under their eyes for no apparent reason or sitting in 8th grade English classes saying, “Darn, Ms. Robinson, it sure is gettin’ hot in hurrr.”

So, I can see the average teen thinking that in order to be a “real pimp” and get the full effect of Pimp Juice, he has to mix it in with a little vodka. I do not think any vodka companies will be mad at a little free exposure to the hip hop generation. Look what happened when Busta Rhymes decided to “pass the Courvoisier.”

While it is good that Nelly wants to donate some of the profits to his non-profit organization, maybe he should also donate some money to a liver disease foundation or a shelter for battered women who got slapped up when they did not have their pimp’s money.

On top of Nelly’s wonder drink being used as an energy booster and party mix, I have one more use for it. When mixed with a little Lysol, it will give my toilet bowl a vitamin-enriched shine.

We must prevent the “T-Boogies” of today from becoming the “Mr. Willies” of yesterday: 50 years old, stumblin’ down the street, sportin’ a torn St. Lunatics sweatshirt and a pair of raggedy Air Force Ones, rappin’ about how “she only wants me for my pimp juice” before passing out in the street.

(Min. Paul Scott represents the Messianic Afrikan Nation in Durham, NC. He can be reached at P.O. Box 3474 Durham, NC  27702.)

Graphic: Coutesy of