If my life had a movie soundtrack, it would definitely consist of continuous rap songs about marijuana. From the time I wake up to the time I fall asleep, marijuana takes center stage. I smoke a little before going to 9 am spin class to get extra hyped and distract myself from the feeling of sore muscles as I pedal to the beat of the bass.
Then, I take a hit of a different strain to help me focus on work assignments and house chores, followed by another hit to make my meals taste even better, followed by another inhale right before bed to send me off to sleep. Clearly, I need a marijuana-themed soundtrack to my life…and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Marijuana and rap music go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly or spaghetti and meatballs. What would Snoop Dogg, OutKast, and Afroman have to sing about if it weren’t for the popularity of weed? Rap songs about marijuana are even making their way to the big screen.
For example, when I saw Jordan Peele’s horror movie Us years ago, I recall an iconic scene where a family is listening to “I Got 5 On It” by Luniz in the car on the way to the beach. The little boy asks, “what does five on it mean?” An awkward silence breaks out. Who has the heart to tell this little girl that Luniz is referring to the purchase of marijuana? He can only put $5 down and needs a friend to cover the other half for a bag of weed.
I thought the movie was absolutely mind-blowing, but just to gauge the public’s reactions, I went on Twitter. Audiences were freaking over the unexpected use of “I Got 5 On It” in a scary flick. One fan tweeted, “‘I got 5 on it” as a horror theme has me reevaluating everything I’ve ever known.” Another added, “I don’t know who is behind flipping I Got 5 On It into a horror movie theme but give that person all the awards. Damn.” I’m willing to bet that song will be playing everywhere until the hype of Us dies down.
It’s hard to tell exactly when marijuana and rap songs intertwined, but the early 90s seem to be a good starting place. The 90s brought us
- “Hits From The Bong” by Cypress Hill
- “How To Roll A Blunt” by Redman
- “Where’s Da Bud?” by Three 6 Mafia
- “Gin And Juice” by Snoop Dogg
- “Smoke Two Joints” by Sublime
Gosh, there are too many to list. We’d be here all day. It’s safe to say that marijuana use was far more frowned upon in the 90s than it is today. And yet, rappers weren’t trying to be discreet whatsoever—just look at those song titles. No need to read between the lines here.
Smoking up (and talking about it publicly) was seen as rebellious and hardcore back in those days, as marijuana wasn’t legal yet. The modern-day version might be rappers singing about cocaine or acid use: it’s not legal, but we all know someone who does it and doesn’t really care what the government has to say. Marijuana use in the 90s could have been a rapper’s way of saying, “Eff the police,” which, coincidentally, is also a song by N.W.A.
Obviously, marijuana use and the public’s stance on it have come a long way in recent years. Colorado and Washington legalized recreational marijuana in 2012. Since then, eleven more states have followed in their footsteps, including California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Vermont.
Keep in mind that many other states have medicinal use. This list is just the beginning. Since the mainstream legalization of marijuana, isn’t it funny how there have been fewer rap songs about it? It’s almost as if rappers were like, “Nah, it’s not as cool as it used to be. Now it’s regulated.” Since 2012, we’ve only had a handful of popular marijuana-related rap songs. Remember
- “Blunt After Blunt” by Danny Brown
- “Smoke Break” by Chance The Rapper
- “Hands On The Wheel” by SchoolboyQ
- “James Joint” by Rihanna
- “KK” by Wiz Khalifa
If this trend continues, there will be fewer and fewer rap songs about marijuana as the rest of the US fights for legalization. It’s a good thing we’ll always have the classics. And if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Bob Marley in this blog yet, don’t think I’ve forgotten about the weed music man himself. His tracks were immensely popular in the 70s and 80s — but I wouldn’t exactly call them “rap.” More like reggae.
So, the next time you’re about to light up, think of your favorite marijuana rap song. What’s humming in the back of your mind? What’s the soundtrack to your life?