“Ginseng Strip 2002” by Yung Lean

There are many possibilities to the meaning of this song’s title (“Ginseng Strip 2002”). Reportedly, fans have assumed it was in relation to Suboxone, which is a combination medication used to treat opioid addiction. It has been noted that prior to Lean’s second studio album “Warlord”, he was heavily abusing drugs. As the chorus of this track evidently shows, “Yung Lean in the club/ For some morphine (morphine)”, it relates to his dependence on the drugs.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Yung Lean's Ginseng Strip 2002 at Lyrics.org.

Being part of the “Sad Boys” movement, Lean wrote a shoutout to them in his intro “Emotional shawties in this bi*ch”. “Sad Boys” are boys or men who communicates their personal struggles with mental health. Lean’s lyrics are thus known to reflect intense desolation.

Being 16 and Swedish at the time of producing this track, Lean felt that he always had to be above his competition in the rap music industry, which was primarily the Black-Americans. This thus caused him to feel like a “contradicted sh*t” which is a rather normal feeling of being an outsider.

Notable References in “Ginseng Strip 2002”

Lean referenced one of his favorite rappers, 2Pac, when he wrote “Makaveli” to his intro. “Makaveli” was 2Pac’s last alias as he found Machiavelli’s book, “The Prince”, deeply relatable during his imprisonment.

R. Kelly, probably another one of Lean’s favorite RnB artists, receives a shoutout in this track. It should be noted that this shoutout was done years before Kelly’s abuse cases came to light which resulted in him being imprisoned in 2021.

In the song’s third verse, Lean name drops Adele, who is without a doubt one of her generation’s most successful singers. Now, it is not easy to decipher if this reference was designed as a diss targeted towards Adele or just a friendly shoutout. And why? This is simply because Lean talks about his desire to sleep with “hoes” that are “fat” like Adele. FYI, Adele was famously overweight at that time. It could be possible Lean is dissing her for being “fat” or he could just be talking about his genuine love for “fat hoes”. It is important to point out that Adele went on to lose about 100-pounds in 2021.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel (21 October 1833 – 10 December 1896) is another notable name mentioned in this tune. Nobel, who was born in Sweden (just like Yung Lean) is one of the most renowned figures in the science industry. His most famous invention was the dynamite. The Nobel reference can be found in the third verse. Here, Lean lets his competitors know that he is “explosive like Alfred Nobel” despite his young age in comparison to others in the game.


Now knowing that Lean has been abusing drugs since an early age, it is not surprising that there are multiple references to this throughout the song. The chorus, for instance, is rife with that.

Lyrics to Yung Lean's "Ginseng Strip 2002"

The hard drug coke is usually broken down with a razor blade before inhalation through the nose, which provides a straight path to the head. The line “razor blade to your head” could simply be portraying that scene. Alternatively, it could be line suggesting a defensive mode when harassed.

All in All

At the end of the day, it appears, Lean composed “Ginseng Strip 2002” to portray his struggles with drug abuse.

Music Video

The music video looks like a low-cost production with some psychedelic effects used at some parts. One could only assume that this is how the environment looks to someone who is high. The video was shot at different times at different locations.

When was “Ginseng Strip 2002” released?

“Ginseng Strip 2002” is part of the first EP titled “Lavender EP” by Swedish rapper Jonatan Aron Leandoer Håstad, professionally known as Yung Lean, released 16 August 2013.

Written by Yung Lean, “Ginseng Strip 2002” was released on 19 January 2013. Lean released the track’s music video on his YouTube channel on 25 March 2013.

Song’s Success

Up until today, this song remains Lean’s most successful work. In addition to being his signature tune, “Ginseng Strip 2002” was also instrumental in transforming him into a global star. This was after it went viral in 2013. About 9 years later (in early 2022), the song went viral again on platforms such as TikTok and Shazam.

What genre of music is “Ginseng Strip 2002”?

“Ginseng Strip 2002” belongs to the cloud rap genre. This genre, which started around the late 2000s, is actually a combination of the following music genres:

  • trap music
  • Southern rap
Ginseng Strip 2002

Yung Lean’s Personal Life

In a 2019 interview with Kaleidoscope magazine, Lean revealed his struggles with bipolar disorder.

After overdosing on 7 April 2015,  he was hospitalized. This took place at the same time of the death of his manager and close friend, Barron Machat. Lean then returned to stay with his family in his hometown, Sweden.

With recovery in process, he has landed modelling jobs, worked alongside fashion brands, and started his own fashion label. Musically, he has also featured on Frank Ocean’s “Self Control”.

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    lean was born in belarus

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