The novel is set across the period in which cocaine use became increasingly common in the Americas, beginning in the 1970s and stretching into the 1990s. This growth in popularity vastly increased the wealth and power of gangs like Storm Posse who were involved in transporting cocaine from Colombia and distributing it in the United States. The shady origins of the drug––and of the power and wealth it creates––are alluded to through the many mentions of the cartels in Medellín and Cali (both cities in Colombia), which lurk in the background of the novel without ever being depicted explicitly. Cocaine use is presented as being almost ubiquitous among certain groups of characters, particularly the male residents of the Kingston ghetto and, later, those living in the corresponding “ghetto” of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Cocaine creates feelings of euphoria, and use of the drug by the poor and disenfranchised is thus shown to be a way for these oppressed populations to escape the grim reality of their lives. At the same time, cocaine can also inspire feelings of violent aggression, which is why Josey Wales and Weeper give it to their crew of gunmen in advance of the shooting at the Singer’s house. In large amounts, cocaine can also create delirium, particularly when it is freebased (heated and inhaled) and smoked in the form of crack.
However, perhaps the most important aspect of cocaine in relation to the novel is its addictive quality. Several characters in the novel develop a cocaine dependency, including Bam-Bam, Demus, and––most significantly––Weeper. Addiction to cocaine symbolizes the dangerous side of pleasure and desire. While Weeper spends the novel frightened by his own homosexual desire, ironically it is his desire for cocaine that is far more threatening to his well-being. After Eubie finds out that Weeper is using crack, he warns Josey that this will inhibit Weeper’s ability to effectively conduct business, and secretly decides to kill Weeper. In a potent twist, Weeper manages to trick John-John into injecting him with pure cocaine rather than shooting him dead with a gun. Weeper thus chooses to be killed by a substance he loves and desires, again emphasizing the twinned danger and allure of such desire.
Cocaine Quotes in A Brief History of Seven Killings
Nobody who kill a police going to hell but is something else to kill the singer. I let Josey Wales tell me that the Singer is a hypocrite, and he playing both sides taking everybody for idiot. I let Josey Wales tell me that he have bigger plans and is high time we done be ghetto stooge for white man who live uptown and don’t care about we until election time. I let Josey Wales tell me that the Singer is a PNP stooge who bow for the Prime Minister. I let Josey Wales tell me to shoot up three more line and I won’t care who.
- Like how your boy Weeper is a user.
- Weeper sniffing coke from as early as '75, that not nothing new.
- But new it is, Josey. Now him smoking crack and you and me know that crack is not coke. Can a man do good business even when him deh pon coke? Of course. Every man me know in the music biz a lick coke. Hookers and blow them call it, my youth. Back then the biz did even have a sort of class. But crack is different business. Every single dealer who switch from coke to crack mash up. You can’t hold a single thought on crack. You can't do no fucking business. Crack is you business.