Was UGK’s Cork-Popping Anthem ‘It’s Supposed To Bubble’ Really About Smoking PCP?

08.30.15 2 years ago 16 Comments

For the majority of 2013 and 2014, I researched and wrote a large story where I outlined the entire history between Hip-Hop and champagne. Without blowing a forest-fire’s worth of smoke up my own ass, the piece allowed me to speak with a wide variety of people in Hip-Hop and contextualize the genre’s penchant for the beverage. You can read the whole thing here.

During that time I was able to pick Killer Mike’s brain about what champagne meant to Southern Hip-Hop culture. Towards the end of our conversation he recommended I listen to UGK’s “It’s Supposed To Bubble” as reference for a Southern anthem that praised bubbly. I’m an admittedly late UGK fan, so listening to the 1994 cut was a gateway to Chad and Bun’s classic LP Super Tight, which turns 21 today. However, I found that I couldn’t shake the song’s lush production that drenches the listener like mist following a bottle’s popping.

Intrigued to hear more about Houston’s connection to champagne, I reached out to Bun. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have a full conversation, but Gotty contacted him for me via email about “It’s Supposed To Bubble,” which produced the following statement:

His response: Supposed to bubble was about smoking dust lol.

Mind Blown

At first it seemed like Bun was pulling my leg. I figured he fields lots of dumb questions throughout the year, and my asking him about a nearly 20-year-old song qualified as one that required a flippant, joking answer. But then I realized it’s Bun, and that’s not the way he carries himself, at least from what I’ve grokked about his public, rap-scholar persona.

Could this song that so obviously references Dom Perignon in its masterful hook be about an entirely different substance? The sentiment stuck with me. Eventually, I reached out to Grantland writer and Houston native Shea Serrano—as well as the author of Bun B’s Rap Coloring Book—for some further insight. I asked him: Has this always been a known fact or is Bun’s revelation news to him?

I know that I knew that but I can’t say where exactly I heard it, or even if I heard it at all. I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading UGK lyrics so it all gets muddled together after a while. There’s a part in there where says a thing about “getting fried tonight,” so that’s probably the biggest hint. He also talks about selling drugs and both him and Pimp C mention Swisher Sweets, which for sure can be used to smoke angel dust. Also, Pimp references feeling like Goldie from The Mack, and he was a drug dealer in that movie. Most people are probably going to find it surprising because the chorus is so big and strong that it can dwarf the lyrics, but it’s all in there for you if you’re looking for it, probably.

UGK Super Tight

While it’s easy to get lost in Bun’s cooly spit verse (the way he seems to roll off “P.A., P.A., and I keep yellin’ it” so calmly almost lulls you into a stupor), his admission that he’s looking to “get fried tonight” is probably the biggest indication. Although one figures a Houston rap song about an illicit substance would concern codeine drank, Pimp swears off lean at the beginning of his verse. And Bun talks about “amp water for the Gs” before launching into his chorus, which, according to one Genius commenter, is slang for PCP. The Swisher Sweets references that Serrano notes also buttress these other clues about angel dust.

The video also helps explain the angel-dust backstory. The camera zooms in and out in a wobbly manner, while Bun and Pimp appear to levitate and float throughout certain frames of the clip. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, PCP “distorts perceptions of sight and sound and produces feelings of detachment (dissociation) from the environment and self.”

With all of this considered, this brings up the question: Why the f*ck would Bun and Pimp rhyme about smoking dust? Without a formal statement from Bun, consider the actual theme of the song. The Port Arthur, Texas, duo are feeling themselves, bragging about how they run their streets. Dom Perignon isn’t a full-on euphemism, but it’s a quality symbol to interject to support the whole feeling of invincibility Bun and Chad claim throughout the song—an untouchable nature that you could in fact blame on smoking dust.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong and Bun was pulling my leg. Until then, remember: Knowledge is power.

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