Hip-hop and marijuana have been a love match from the outset, with the duo now enjoying a symbiotic relationship within pop culture. Over the past nearly three decades, hip-hop culture has become unapologetic about the use of marijuana, with the drug-taking on a variety of slang nicknames: weed, pot, ganja, Mary Jane, ‘the herb’.
A brief history of …
Dr. Dre’s popular album ‘The Chronic’ was released in 1992 and named after the popular MJ strain. It is also attributed as one of the first tunes – and hip-hop at that – to be open about cannabis usage. Since then, rappers like Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have built their music brands around cannabis usage and even jumped into the MJ business itself.
Rap in the 1980s had no problem talking about drinking, but any reference to drugs was strictly against its character, the tone of hits in that era varied from hyper-political to hyper irreverent, fit for contemplation, whether inside your car, in the club, or just by yourself using headphones.
Rap in the 1980s had no problem talking about drinking alcohol (malt liquor, anyone??), but any reference to drugs was strictly against its character. The undertone of hits from that era varied from the hyper-political to the hyper-irreverent. The music was fit for contemplation – whether jamming inside your car, in the club, or just by yourself using headphones.
The hippie culture meets the 80s
It’s important to remember that the 1980s were defined by cocaine, not cannabis. Cannabis usage was almost old-fashioned and associated with the 60s and 70s hippie era. And even though people still used it regularly, it wasn’t trendy. Let’s face it: in the 80s and 90s pot was mostly associated with the stoner culture. Reggae seemed to be the only genre that gave MJ any mainstream notoriety.
Then came Dr. Dre’s album ‘The Chronic’, whose success gave way for rappers to slam crack and cocaine, and change course to sing and praise weed. Nearly thirty years from Dre’s milestone release and weed and hip-hop are still going strong. BFFs forever!
Let’s look at some rap and hip-hop artists who smoke weed and sing about it.
Of course, the list has to begin with the number one ambassador of marijuana hip-hop and rap: Snoop Dogg. Snoop was the first rapper to turn his affinity for smoking weed into a brand and has since become the icon for all things related to marijuana in pop culture. He unashamedly promotes his use of marijuana in his music and beyond. Snoop Dogg has his own line of weed, Leafs by Snoop, which has raked in over $40 million in investments, according to High Times.
Snoop has rolled out lots of anthems on marijuana, including: ‘I Love the Weed’, ‘My Medicine’, ‘Smoke the Weed’, and ‘Lighters Up’.
Wiz Khalifa is another rap artist who loves weed. It’s rumored that Wiz even lights up even before brushing his teeth! That should tell you something! Wiz has gone on to create an MJ strain named after him that was created for his own mobile game called ‘Wiz Khalifa’s Weed Farm‘. This takes Farmville to a whole new level! Players learn to grow their own weed, collect gems, interact like other games but with this game, you will by being the most successful marijuana mogul.
But it was music where Wiz made his name. His breakthrough mixtape is titled ‘Kush and Orange Juice’ firmly established him as one-to-watch when it was released. Since then he has two albums with titles that are a tribute to marijuana: ‘Rolling Papers” and ‘Rolling Papers 2’.
Berner is a Californian rapper and renowned tycoon of the herb. He was signed to Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang record label in 2012 and is known for unabashedly professing his love for the herb. Berner’s lyrics resonate with the average weed lover because of this and he is currently one of the biggest names in the cannabis business industry with ownership of several dispensaries and products.
Do you like the awesome strain, Girl Scout Cookies? This hugely popular strains originated from Berner. Thanks, Berner! We are very grateful for your contribution to the ever-widening strain varieties!
Nicki Minaj, aka the Queen, has never been ashamed of saying it like it is – this is true too with her affinity to marijuana. She writes and sings about smoking weed, and even smokes during her performances. She regularly shares weed tips with her social media followers – including awesome strains she currently partaking in. Coming from the Caribbean with its long history of awesome marijuana, it’s no surprise that the Queen is a huge proponent of marijuana.
With such a huge star with an international brand, we think it’s only a matter of time before Miss Minaj jumps into the MJ business and expands her empire. We just hope it’s an awesome new strain or some kick-ass edibles!
Before there was Snoop and even before there was Dre, there was Cypress Hill. The real ‘pot and rap’ revolution started with this Los Angeles-based trio is credited with breaking down the stigma around weed in the rap and budding hip-hop culture in the 90s. It seems that smoking weed wasn’t as unknown in the rap/hip-hop music scene at the time, it was just underground. “We just wanted to make it cool again,” says Sen Dog from the group.
The 90s produced some of the best music, albums, and artists of all time, and made rap and hip-hop more mainstream than the previous decade. Even without their impact on bringing MJ more in the open and mainstream, Cypress Hill is still one of the most influential groups of all times. We are just glad – and thankful! – that they kick down those doors to the ‘underground’ and made marijuana a staple in the hip-hop and general culture.
Now and beyond …
From the mean streets of rap and hip-hop in the 80s and 90s, marijuana and the genres have continued to go hand-in-hand. As rap and hip-hop evolve, so does the influence that weed has on the genres. Now we even have ‘stoner rap’ and ’emo rap’ – two sub-genres who are heavily influenced by and influence weed.
Every day, we find ourselves listening to hip-hop artists pay homage to the plant that serves their inspiration. Marijuana has been claimed to help musicians and artists focus, think more, and create better music and art. This has even helped with the legalization movement! Weed in music seemed to always go together, but we have big names in the music business advocating for weed and its total acceptance. All we can say is thanks for the music and for the support!