Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Sippin’ Sizzurp in Dhaka

June 18th, 2009 · 8 Comments

The preferred tipple of DJ Screw and Big Moe is making serious inroads in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, the paramilitary force responsible for enforcing the nation’s drug laws is suspected of carrying out the extrajudicial murders of university students—killings that the government euphemistically refers to as “encounters.”

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8 Comments so far ↓

  • Jordan

    Mixing stimulants and depressants: an excellent way to really fuck yourself up. But then that hasn’t seemed to stop the proliferation of the vodkabull.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: I used to an enthusiastic fan of vodkabull until an unfortunate incident in L.A. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say that I haven’t touched the stuff since. It wasn’t the alcohol that got me–it was the taurine.

  • Jordan

    @Brendan

    What was it about the taurine that didn’t agree with you? From what I’ve read, it seems like a fairly beneficial compound or at worst, pretty harmless.

    In the annals of odd uses for drugs, my favorite came from my alma mater’s finals week Stim Table, which decided to hand out micro-doses of LSD as a study aid. I’ve heard anecdotal reports that it can work that way, but I’d certainly be dubious. Especially because people in the grips of finals are often wont to overdo their stimulants (I remember one friend who was using Adderall to stay awake and after all the tests were done found herself unable to go to sleep).

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Jordan: Suffice to say the problem was intestinal. May have been the caffeine, but never had a similar effect via coffee.

    The LSD approach sounds dubious at best. Though I guess it always depends on the ingester’s specific brain chemistry–we all react so differently to different substances.

  • Robert Kelly

    It’s nice that you mention DJ Screw and Big Moe. I see mobile merchants from Screwed Up Records & Tapes occasionally here in Austin. Think two guys in a tricked out, full-size black SUV that’s filled with CDs. The late DJ Screw is, of course, still very popular and you’ll hear his music if you spend enough time exploring the city’s nightlife.

    But that might not do him justice. His style of chopped and screwed hip hop might be one of the best cultural exports from the state since the local take on outlaw country. It is, at least, some of the most original and creative local music I’ve heard probably ever in my life.

    His success also represents something significant, I think, in that Texas culture has historically been associated with the ranch, the country and the cowboy. But DJ Screw is a product of urban Texas, the sprawling megacity, symbolized by the futuristic skyscrapers of downtown Houston combined with psychedelic drugs. It’s closer in spirit to a William Gibson novel — the fusion of high tech and low life — than the rattlesnake and horse-mounted Ranger. (I should add that those stereotypes were mostly myths, but useful ones.) At the moment, I’d watch Dallas closely.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @Robert Kelly: Thanks a million for the great comment.

    I actually first came across DJ Screw’s work in the most geeky fashion possible: By reading an article about him in Texas Monthly, just a few months after his death. The chopped/screwed style was still a regional phenomenon at that time, so it was all new to me living up here in NYC. Like you, I was drawn to the raw creativity of the music–it didn’t always work, but when it did, it was transcendent. (I have esp. fond memories of hearing the screwed version of Yungstar’s “Knockin’ Pictures Off the Wall” for the first time while waiting out a thunderstorm beneath a construction scaffolding.)

    BTW, I always forget that DJ Premier is a Houston native (though he relocated to NYC for Gang Starr in the mid-’80s). I wonder what he thinks of the whole Screwed Up Click scene.

  • a

    Suketu Mehta’s book “Maximum City,” about Bombay, mentions that they call extrajudicial killings (of mobsters) “encounters” there too. It’s because the killings are thinly disguised as traffic stops or whatever–the police “encounter” someone and a shooting ensues.

  • Brendan I. Koerner

    @a: “Maximum City” has been high atop my to-read list for ages. Thanks for your comment, which has spurred me to move it even higher. Right behind “Papillon.”

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