Refers to a group of radical entrepreneurs that secure industrial tanks of nitrous oxide and travel to music festival parking lots across the U.S. eastern seaboard to hawk their wares. $5 balloons of “hippie crack” give a 90-second round-trip ticket beyond space and time, potentially—even—to before the creation of the universe bequeathing an ultimate understanding that changes absolutely everything … if only you could remember what just happened. Better buy another balloon! Known for being very sketchy and territorial, buying off security, using violence to intimidate competing vendors and nosey lot attendants, and generally harshing the vibe on Shakedown Street. COVID-19 has been hard on the Nitrous Mafia. Will they survive till the next Disco Biscuits tour?
Carly Busta: I get why you do nitrous as a teenager, right?
Dan Keller: Yeah, this is so crazy.
CB: Why if you are a wealthy adult, who presumably has access to any number of substances, why? Why is that your drug of choice? I don't understand this.
LIL INTERNET: I get it. Listen, nitrous oxide is immensely popular, regardless of its status. It's called hippy crack. There's giant tanks of it at every Phish show, at every festival. People still buy it. It's at illegal raves. There's a nitrous mafia… there was like some Rolling Stone piece about the nitrous mafia, of course. It's a dissociative, it's not really that unhealthy. A lot of people really like it. It's short lived and has this compulsive repeating thing of it. I remember a friend of mine, who was a very high-class escort, was hired by someone who made a whole lot of money early in the dot-com era in the 90s. And this guy apparently had an entire room devoted to nitrous oxide. And she says he did weird nitrous telepathy brainwashing on her. I think it's also like a popular Silicon Valley thing. As long as you have enough oxygen in between, it's not that unhealthy.