Sometime in the last few years — he wouldn’t say why, and wouldn’t say when — Sandman Da Black Ghost, a rapper from West Palm Beach, says he spent some time in a “drug treatment facility.” There, he says, he was stunned what he saw. Many of the people around him were trying to kick heroin and cocaine habits, sure, but many people he met seemed to be struggling with a drug he thought was a myth —
“It’s one drug that is very powerful,” he says. People told stories of “feeling high paranoia, to walking down the streets naked, to harassing the cops, to killing people in broad daylight, or trying to kill themselves.”
Sandman, 30, declined to give his real name, or really give any details about his personal life at all. But he says that when he left the facility,
So, as an outlet, Sandman spent six weeks recording his own hip-hop mixtape, which he released for free on the web in November. It’s called Fort Flakka-dale, and is, ostensibly, the world’s first and only hip-hop record based largely about
Though Sandman was loath to discuss personal details, a bio on his SoundCloud page says he was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1985, but left “shortly” after for South Florida, splitting his time between West Palm and Fort Lauderdale. The bio says he began making music with family members in Orlando in 2008, and, before this year, had released only two albums, both in 2010.
Sandman has posted his newest mixtape on a host of different websites. On the site NerveDJsMixtapes.com, he described the album like this:
“IT'S ABOUT A DESIGNER DRUG, CALLED ‘FLAKKA or GRAVEL’ HITTING THE STREETS OF SOUTH FLORIDA, ESPECIALLY THE AREA OF BROWARD COUNTY, IN WHICH THE CITY OF ‘FORT LAUDERDALE’ HAS OVERTLY PLAGUE WITH THIS INSANITY, ALSO CAUSING ENOUGH STIR IN THE CITY FOR THIS MIXTAPE TO BE BORN.” [sic]
Sandman recorded the album with his friend and fellow rapper Top Knotch, who, throughout the album, remains far more committed to the group’s anti-flakka message than Sandman himself. Both, however, seem happy to tell listeners to smoke weed, rather than flakka.
“Stop fucking with the flakka, burn a spliff,” Top Knotch raps on the album’s first track, “Flakktro.” He continues: “It’ll turn you to a downright crazy bitch/Sucker for the flakka, crazy shit/Screaming at the cops, like ‘Taze me bitch!’”
The song then samples a few TV newsreels: “Hallucinations often accompany the high, which can cause erratic behavior,” one female newscaster says, as the pitch of her voice warbles up and down.
Later on, Rae Sremmurd’s “No Flex Zone” is transformed into the anti-flakka track “No Flock Zone.” Sandmand turns Rae Sremmurd’s chorus, in which “They know better!” is shouted over and over, into a warning fit for a D.A.R.E. class. Top Knotch then raps: “No flak’ zone I don’t want none/Why the fuck would you want some?”
Afterward, Jidenna’s “Classic Man” becomes “Flocka Man,” told largely from the perspective of a flakka dealer, who will make you “flakka dance.”
But perhaps the album’s biggest anti-flakka message comes in the form of “Ballin’,” in which Sandman and Top Knotch repeatedly chide listeners for feeling cool if they buy flakka.
“You think you ballin’ because you bought some flak’?” Sandman warbles.
Top Knotch then raps:
You swinging and fiending right back on the block
Ain’t popping no molly, ain’t smoking no rock
Seems nowadays all you fuck with is flak
Smoking that shit til your body gon’ drop
Take one more hit and your body gon’ rot
Think it’s a game? It’s a hobby or not?
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Sandman says much of the album was inspired by a group of “14-, 15-, 16-year-old kids” who live near him, who regularly smoke flakka in the streets at night.
“I wanted to strangle one of them, when I saw how young he was,” he said. “He was running around at five in the morning. I’m like, ‘You’re on drugs!’”
Sandman says another mixtape, Fort Flakkadale 2, is in the works, which will tell the positive side of overcoming drug abuse.
“When people mentally get out of that, they can say they witnessed something they don’t want to go back to,” Sandman said. “I’m proud of them. I tell them, ‘It’s not you acting like this, it’s everybody on this drug.’ Flakkadale 2 explains the rest of the story.”