Updated: May 10
Hello people I’m back with another breakdown of how marijuana has influenced a major part of our lives, and the major part that I speak of ... is music. This is part two of my M&M blog series, the last one was Marijuana and Movies, get it? The next will be Marijuana & Money. Honestly over the years marijuana has had an on and off relationship with music. I say on and off because I’m speaking from my generational experience. We know way back in the ancient days, marijuana played a part in spiritual and celebratory ceremonies, that was a given. Like the Bounty killa song says Ganja was found on king Solomon’s grave. Look up who King Solomon was and Bounty Killa for that matter if you don’t know. Like I said, I’m speaking of my generation and the generation before me, and to keep it 100 the generation after me. I mean my son and his generation is waaaaay deeper into the “on “ part than I was. I didn’t start smoking weed till I was like 20 years old. See the most influential “Marijuana Music” coming from the generation before me was coming out one place and one place only. Yup you guessed it Jamaica mon! The romance between marijuana and reggae music has been and might just be considered the true “On” part of it all. Reggae artist have incorporated marijuana in their music since the first reggae drum sparked a beat. The late great Bob Marley once said when he smoked marijuana before he produced his music, it allowed him to to tap into his creative melodies and thoughts that would spill out him like a river of creativity he couldn’t turn off until he went to sleep. Then he would do it all again the next day. His Influence on music across the world was deep rooted in the Jamaican Rastafarian culture. Within that culture is the use of marijuana to open the mind and allow the connection with God and the prophets to flow through the mind body and soul. The rhythms and beats that arose from that would capture the very essence and some say the heartbeat of all cultural music. As that essence spilled into the U.S. in the sixties and seventies with the birth of funk and disco. All OG stars like George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Isaac Hayes, Sly the Family Stone and let’s not forget Rick James Bitch! They all smoked weed to get their creative juices flowing. Hell what would Rick James’s Mary Jane be if he wasn’t burning that sticky icky. It would actually be a love song to girl named Mary Jane. But add a little twist of marijuana and you got one of the greatest marijuana music songs ever written. I mean imagine what some of the greatest tracks in music would be without the influence of marijuana. Fast forward to the eighties, marijuana in music took some "off” time. Hip Hop was born literally on the streets of New York. At that time the music was growing into something big and influential but we had no idea just how big and influential it was going to be. We realized that Hip Hop was changing the lives of young black people taking them out and off the streets.
The early pioneers would rap about cocaine Like Melly Mel's “White lines” cause coke was the rich man’s drug. It wasn’t frowned upon like it is today, but Marijuana was. Marijuana was cheap and abundant so smoking weed was taboo. Being that rappers were making a bit of change and it was becoming more noticed in the mainstream, Hip Hop had to down play marijuana as not to rock the boat and maybe ruin this new stream of income for black people in the hood. So lyrics like Rob base “ Don’t smoke budda can’t stand sess” or Dr. Dre’s “ I must confess I don’t smoke weed or cess” even K.R.S one denounced weed in his music back then. These were the “off” times. Then suddenly the early 90's hit and a new style of rap came around the corner, this style of New York rap was not gangsta like L.A. rap. Although artist like Snoop Doog and Dr. Dre were making actual weed music like the chronic. This was more grimy more gutter and weed smoke was smack dab in the center of it all. It was “on” again. The rap group Onyx sparked it off with the hardcore hit “Throw Ya Gunz” from that point on, there was no holds barred. Artists didn’t give a f**k anymore, they said and did what they wanted in their music and videos and if that included literally blowing smoke in the camera, rapping about rolling up, lighting that shit and smoking it... well so be it. It was on and popping. From Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Wu tang Clan, Redman and damn near everyone else in the game.
Weed was the fuel behind the creativity in Hip Hop! Meanwhile across the country in the city of Seattle, music was giving birth to a generation of "White American" kids that didn’t give a f**k either, Grunge! Grunge music represented the dark underbelly of White America. The misfits, the lost, the drug induced stoners that White America gave up on and They didn’t give a damb! The circles those artist traveled in, were oddly enough the mad scientists of marijuana. The kids that were tossed aside, left to fend for themselves and counted on each other to survive, express their thoughts and feelings through music.They became the architects of the highest grades and strains of marijuana we enjoy today. Can you imagine the influence that type of weed had on groups like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, and Hammerbox. These guys had to be as high as God’s Kite. With some of the music they created, they just had to be! The point of it all, is the undeniable influence of marijuana on some of the greatest music known to man.
Generations will remember the marijuana ingredient now and for generations to come. I don’t know what the future holds for marijuana in music and I'm not sure if it’ll ever get to the "off" switch again cause today’s rappers don’t make music without marijuana in it point-blank-period, but for now, let’s keep rocking, spitting, grinding along with the music and do like the late, great Nate Dogg said. “ Smoke weed everyday” - Oz.