California Artists Sing About Drought: E-40, Vienna Tang and Honorary Citizen Jake Owen with Jimmy Kimmel
Things are pretty dry in the Golden State as the sun's rays are little brighter and golden than farmers and the governor might hope. Due to a lack of rain, Governor Jerry Brown has ordered mandatory water usage regulations for the first time, encouraging citizens of the state to be as conservative as possible when using H2O in the southern half of the state. Music Times came up with a few songs about drought sung by (and to) residents of California.
"Drought Season" by E-40
Droughts are a popular topic in hip-hop music, particularly from Lil Wayne, who hails from New Orleans, a region that gets plenty of rainfall. Some emcees, particularly those in Texas and out on the West Coast, know the true meaning of the word however. E-40, an icon of the Bay Area hyphy movement, might not be getting hit as hard by the heat as his neighbors down south in Los Angeles, but he knows the block can get hot. That's probably why he wrote the song "Drought Season" way back during 1993, way before Wayne or any other emcee could drop a mixtape or track named for the natural disaster. He seems to be referring to a different kind of dry season in this classic hustler track however, suggesting that crack is in short supply at the moment, creating demand and giving him reason to give a lecture to his buy on why he can't sell low.
"Drought" by Deap Valley
California rockers Deap Vally might have bad spelling but they hit a geographical note right on the head with its title: Death Valley, a more renowned valley in the state, features Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States and North American as a whole. So yeah, it's "Deap." Death Valley is even more well known, particularly relevant at the moment, for being the hottest place in the United States, frequently reaching temperatures of 130 degrees. Few songs can sum up the current situation in California as the appropriately-titled "Drought" from the band: "Drought, drought / it's hot as hell and I can't get out...Mama says don't spray in the sprinklers / and Daddy says don't take long showers." Brown is getting free publicity for his temporary policy.
"Drought" by Steve Wynn
Steve Wynn, the former vocalist for the band Dream Syndicate, might not be the most famous "Steve Wynn" on the planet right now, but he could probably learn a thing or two about how NOT to deal with a drought from the man he shares his name with. The other Wynn is an entrepreneur whose influence and vision resulted in the current Las Vegas strip and all of its posh resort casinos and hotels. Among the properties he helped build were Treasure Island and the Bellagio, two beautiful properties with water features and fountains that wow tourists. Of course, anyone who knows anything about Vegas knows that it's in the middle of the desert and all that water's gotta come from somewhere. Another pet project of Vegas Wynn's: The Shadow Creek Golf Course, which reportedly cost more than $60 million to build (again, with many unnatural water features). Listen to songwriter Wynn's tracks for a more accurate understanding of how to behave more responsibly in hot weather.
"Drought" by Vienna Tang
Pianist and songwriter Vienna Tang started her life in California and became one of the rare performers who heads away from the coast to start a career in music, attending the University of Michigan and remaining in Detroit. Perhaps it was weather like what her home state is currently undergoing that led her to record "Drought"? Probably not. The song is more introspective than a consideration of the landscape, with the performer considering the "taste of dried-up hopes" and looking at the world as a "landscape of merry and desperate drought."
Jake Owen on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Jake Owen is not from California. The country star is from Florida. However, he reached out to California residents directly on behalf of Jimmy Kimmel during last year during the state's then-drought (it has plenty of them). Although government had encouraged citizens to conserve water, the talk show host noted that "state officials are boring. That's why they're state officials." Instead, he tapped Owen to sing a song about making due in times of water shortages by...drinking urine. "C'mon my buddy Jimmy, let's go ahead and drink our pee," noting to a disgusted Kimmel that monkeys do it all the time, that 95 percent of the liquid is itself water and that the other 5 percent is "delicious."