Written By: J. Michael Devine
Cannabis is a source of inspiration and community through a variety of musical genres from soul to reggae to country and beyond. Hip hop has carried love for marijuana deep into its roots. Pot themed songs and weed references abound in this art of spoken word over rhythmic beats. Many of rap music’s greats set the ground rules for enjoying cannabis. Hip hop artists have brought the glamour of smoking weed to the forefront of mainstream culture. Layers of pot references laid down by pioneers echo endlessly as each new hip hop generation takes center stage. From blazin’ the chronic to smokin’ that loud, MC’s have always had cannabis on the tip of the tongue and usually inhaled deep in the lungs. Here are a few gems from a rich history of rappers and reefers. These are some of your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper’s favorite cannabis wisdom.
"Hey kid, walk straight, master your high" Slick Rick, Hey Young World, 1989
Slick Rick said it first in “Hey Young World” and Aceyalone made sure the world heard it clearly in “Master your High.” Since then, countless hip hop songs have emphasized the point. If you are going to be stoned in public make sure you can handle it. Safe cannabis use relies on knowledgeable enjoyment and intentional dosage. Marijuana can have very powerful effects, especially compounded by ambiance and environment influences. A big part of cannabis culture has been the ability to enjoy the high without being too obvious about using a historically illegal substance. It goes deeper than trying to act normal when you are stoned. It is about enjoying all of the life’s challenges, bringing intention to one’s reactions and utilizing the effects of cannabis to bring positivity to the world. Pot can reduce the ability to concentrate, making simple tasks vastly more complicated. Certain activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery should always be done sober, but with enough practice most leisure activities can be done stoned. It is usually a lot more fun too. Mastering your high is about maximizing your cannabis synergy.
“I got 5 on it”, Luniz, I Got 5 on it, 1995
Everyone was saying it but Luniz made it into an anthem. In the 1990’s four people throwing down five dollars was enough to get a couple blunts going for the night. Five dollars won’t get you much pot these days since the rate of inflation has definitely increased the cost of inhalation. But the message hasn’t changed. Everyone who wants to enjoy cannabis should chip in. Medical and recreational legalization has brought the costs of cannabis to record “highs.” There is a value to quality production, but the price of marijuana can make it inaccessible to a lot of people. Many people will benefit if high quality CBD, the non-psychoactive component of hemp and cannabis, is available at a reasonable price. Maybe the dispensaries should throw 5 on it too.
“There’s water inside don’t spill it; it smells like shit on the carpet.” Cyprus Hill, Hits from the Bong, 1993
Maybe not the most poetic of lines, in reality the verses barely rhyme. But truer weed wisdom has never been spoken. This list wouldn’t be complete without proper homage to a crew dedicated to bringing weed music to the center stage. You haven’t really smoked weed until you have taken a bong hit while listening to “Hits from the bong” by Cyprus Hill. Every smoker has knocked over a bong at least once and everyone knows that smell. In this future of blowtorches, dabs and rigs, the risk of just spilling bong water feels nostalgic. The moral is just because you are using more complex methods to get higher doesn’t mean you can be totally absent minded with the tools. Whether it is a stash tray, a grinder or a limited edition Terp timer, it is always important to take care of one’s gear.
“Pass the kutchie pon the lef' hand side.” Mighty Diamonds, Pass the Kutchie 1981
The Mighty Diamonds laid the original track with “Pass the Kutchie,” which the Musical Youth rerolled into “Pass the Dutchie.” So, you know Timbaland had to drop the remix with a fly beat for Missy Elliott on “Pass Da Blunt.” https://open.spotify.com/track/2KOiFW6fVTnBMwP6kIG7Yz. Sharing is caring but just as important is knowing the proper manners. Golf and smoking weed share one critical component, etiquette. Oddly enough, learning manners in either of these two activities isn’t taught in a class, they are habits you have to learn on your own or be chastised for. When enjoying marijuana with a group it is critical to know the rules. The first and most obvious rule is passing the blunt, bong, pipe, rig or vaporizer to the person to your left. The list of manners continues into hitting the joint twice and then passing, clearing the bong chamber before passing it on and limiting the moisture on the joint. We can do a deep dive on weed etiquette when pot smokers can reunite safely without an ongoing pandemic, but for now this resource may be helpful with any questions.
4.20 Snoop Dogg, Starsky and Hutch, 2004
Because I mentioned golf, I have to include one of my favorite and most underappreciated Snoop Dogg quotes. Not from any rap track, a hidden little gem in the Starsky and Hutch remake. Going undercover as the villain’s caddie, Snoop laid it down like only the Doggfather can. “I know even more about grass”. Enough said.
Listening to hip hop or reggae music has always been a critical part of my marijuana enjoyment. East coast to west coast or anywhere else in the world, rap music and cannabis always seem to work best together. Witnessing the success of hip hop mega groups such as the Wu Tang Clan and the dynasty built by Jay Z in Roc-A-Fella records, we see the benefits of bringing the whole crew along for the ride. When all of the cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana combine to achieve that perfect smell, taste and euphoria it is called the entourage effect. Very fitting.
In the immortal words of Method Man, “roll that sh**, light that sh**, smoke that sh**”