A track from the first Spin Doctors album, the 5-million-selling Pocket Full of Kryptonite, "What Time Is It?" came out of an improvised jam when the band was playing into the early morning at a Columbia University fraternity. "We were playing a party at Delta Phi," lead singer Chris Barron said in a Songfacts interview. "We played a couple of parties for these guys, and it actually was 4:30 in the morning and we were like, 'Should we play some more?,' and the crowd was like, 'Yeah!'
I turned to Darren Green, who was a friend of the band, and I was like, 'What time is it?' He said, '4:30,' and then Eric just busted into that riff. I started singing, 'What time is it? 4:30,' and then off the top of my head, 'It's not late, it's early.'"
The song began as a party jam, but the verses are political. Early on, the group played around with political material to go along with their band name - a "spin doctor" is a political operative who frames a story in a certain way. Chris Barron had President George H.W. Bush in mind with lines like:
President, he sweat through his talcum Newspaper man, he watch like a falcon
By the time the song was released, the United States had invaded Iraq in the first Gulf War.
This song is often believed to be about marijuana, with the singer having missed the 4:20 smoke time, but insisting they can spark one up anyway, since "it's not too late."