Four Loko Delivered Just What Its Marketing Department Promised

by Willy Staley

Back in July, in assessing the sudden prominence of awful beverage Four Loko in rap, we decided that “rap songs about consumer goods will never be the same again.” But there were bigger things on the horizon for Four Loko. In New York, the Latin Kings forced their rape victim to chug 10 cans of Four Loko before torturing him. Out west, a bunch of Central Washington University students “over-dosed” on the drink. New Jersey’s Ramapo College has banned it from their campus. To put it mildly, and to stress the least important part of these stories, Four Loko has had a rough month for PR.

Fortunately, though, there’s still plenty of rap songs that are exclusively dedicated to the product. Unfortunately, in one case, from August — Fese’s “Four Loko” — just 40 seconds of song and video combine to remind you of all this negative press.

It’s almost too perfect. The video opens up with a bunch of young people passed out with Four Loko cans on their heads, which, according to CNN, is more or less how Roslyn, WA police found the CWU students, who were described as being almost dead.

And when the hook drops, well. “I go Loko on their ass” is not a great choice. Let’s just say that the hook takes on new meaning, in light of recent events in the Bronx that involve sodomy.

If Four Loko is paying for these rap songs, which it’s easy to believe, given that Fese et al are dropping the names of various flavors, they might want to introduce some new guidelines.

Or — better still — maybe it’s an experiment in viral subvertising, and Four Loko is making these horrible things happen. That would mean that Fese’s video is a calling card of sorts, like how Jay-Z tipped off monetary policy wingnuts to his secret agenda through occult imagery in his music videos.

Or maybe not. There’s really no way to prove it either way.

Willy Staley writes about federal urban policy for Next American City, and about Bay Area rap music (kind of) on Nation of Thizzlam.