Hip-hop has always had a love affair with marijuana. Whether it's the calming effect it can have on the nerves, the creative spark that it can provide, or the communal aspect that comes with passing a joint around the studio, it remains something of the unofficial "sixth element" of the genre.
While fans have always attempted to emulate their favorite artists by trying to dress like them, the rise in marijuana culture - thanks to a shift in perception due to changing laws - has also given listeners the ability to not only step into their favorite artist's shoes, but also inhale the same marijuana-laden smoke as their rap heroes.
In honor of 4/20, we take a look at the preferred weed strains for some of the biggest names in hip-hop right now.
Favorite strain: All Saints OG, Private Reserve OG, Amy Winehouse, Herijuana, Girl Scout Cookies What Leafly says: "Herijuana is an indica with very strong flavor. Provides great body-numbing effects to free you from pain, nice strain to smoke when chilling at home."
If there is one artist who best embodies the convergence of hip-hop and weed, it's Snoop Dogg. Although there was a six-month period back in 2003 when he abstained from smoking, ultimately, the Doggfather reverted back to his old ways which at one point involved smoking "81 blunts a day."
In 2015, he furthered his commitment to the culture by launching Merry Jane - a digital media platform he called "a crossroads of pot culture, business, politics, health.”
Perhaps lost in his grandiose stoner lifestyle is what he actually prefers when smoking. It seems quite apropos that when he and Curren$y discussed their favorite strains, he couldn't name just one. Of the various strains he pointed to, all have calming effects which would explain why Snoop never seems too worried about anything.
Favorite strain: Khalifa Kush What Leafly says: "The ‘real’ Khalifa Kush is supposedly unavailable to the public, but those who have acquired strains under this name say that the effects and aromas are similar to that of OG Kush: sour lemon and pine, with an active cerebral buzz ideal for morning and daytime use."
If Snoop Dogg ever decides to pass the stoner rap torch, Wiz Khalifa would probably be the top choice. According to Medium, approximately 69% of all of his songs are about weed.
"I'm not sober, ever. I wake up and get high."
Like any budding entrepreneur, Khalifa looked to use his star status and passion for weed as the basis for a business venture - launching "Khalifa Kush" with help from Colorado-based RiverRock Cannabis. A phenotype of OG Kush first created by San Francisco dispensary the Cookie Co. 415, the venture had to be mimicked in Colorado because of federal laws that don't allow the transport of plants across stat lines.
"Weed is a freedom drug," Khalifa said. "So you have to use it within your routine. You can either pick and be like, 'yo, I'm going to be a pothead' and smoke weed and function on weed, or you can be like, 'yo, I'm going to do everything I need to do during the day and at the end of the day I'm going to smoke weed and that's going to be me relaxing and chilling. Pick in between those two things and make it work for you."
Favorite strain: OG Kush What Leafly says: "OG Kush is cherished for its ability to crush stress under the weight of its heavy euphoria. It carries an earthy pine and sour lemon scent with woody undertones, an aroma that has become the signature of OG Kush varieties and descendants."
"I think music and marijuana go hand in hand," he said.
In addition to creating music about his passion, B-Real is another hip-hop veteran who is attempting to cash in on the burgeoning California marijuana industry. In February 2015, he was given a license to open a shop and grow his own products in Santa Ana, California.
"We have the Jet Fuel OG and the Dr. Greenthumb Tangerine," he said. "We’ve been involved in the culture since the early '90s. It was about taking the strain we've been working with since since then and branding the strain we make under our banner."
As for his own personal smoking tastes, B-Real relies on a genre favorite: OG Kush.
"Back home, the strain we smoke is OG Kush; it’s a staple in Southern California," B-Real told High Times. "In New York City, there’s the Sour Diesel -- that’s a favorite. But in Amsterdam, I like all the Hazes."
Favorite strain: Soul Assassin OG What Leafly says: "It is an indica-dominant hybrid that produces smooth, expansive smoke with an aroma of pungent diesel, and citrus fumes. Soul Assassin OG evokes sleepy, knockout indica effects that help silence any pain, stress or tension from a long a day."
TDE's ScHoolboy Q made his weed preferences known on Mac Miller's 2013 release, "Gees," from his album Watching Movies with the Sound Off, rapping, "Flashy as high beams, smoking on good weed, something from kush seeds, the only strand to smoke for us OGs.”
In a 2013 interview with BRealTV, Q provided more clarity to his verse, saying, “My favorite weed...this a coincidence how ironic it is. The Soul Assassin O.G. It’s my favorite O.G. That’s the best O.G. That’s all I really smoke.”
Favorite strain: Diamond OG & Mars OG What Leafly says: "Mars OG is one spacey indica. Coming out of the California Bay Area, Mars OG has been given its planetary name in reference to its growing conditions. Planetary strains refer to strains which began indoors and were moved outdoors to complete the grow cycle in more natural conditions."
Like some of the aforementioned artists, Curren$y's catalog is also full of weed-centric songs like "Dat Tree," "Paper Mission," "Burn An Ounce," "Rapper Weed," "Blaze Something," "Lemon Kush" and more.
Even his 2011 album with The Alchemist, Covert Coup, was actually the byproduct of a weed rendezvous between the rapper and producer.
"This is how it started," he told GQ. "I went over to the studio to fucking meet my man Alchemist, to get the line on that Huxtable. That's the medical weed, I call it Huxtable. And we were like , 'Yo, we should do one track just to fuck everybody up, so they know we were smoking and chilling.' And he was like, 'Yo that was really tight. Let's do a few more.' And then once you got three records, you pretty much got 10."
When it comes to his own smoking habits, he pointed to Diamond OG and Mars OG as his two favorites.
Favorite strain: West Coast Cure Hardcore OG Shatter What Dr. Greenthumb said: "Fuckin' incredible. The hardcore is hardcore. Five 'greenthumbs' on this. On a big hit, your lungs expand like a God damn balloon. For taste, such a sweet flavor."
Action Bronson is one of hip-hop's biggest proponents of "dab" culture. Unlike smoking weed in its plant form using a variety of delivery methods like pipes, papers and blunts, dabs are concentrated doses made by extracting THC using butane or carbon dioxide which results in sticky oils also commonly referred to as wax, shatter, budder and butane hash oil.
"I don't smoke weed anymore," Bronson said in his London installment of Fuck, That's Delicious. "I smoke the derivative. I smoke that good extract."
During a segment in which he sampled various dabs from California, he specifically pointed to the OG Shatter from West Coast Cure as his "personal, go-to at all times."
Bronson added, "it smells floral and delicious," and that "the West Coast Cure stuff is by far top quality."
Favorite strain: OG Kush What Leafly says: "With OG Kush, patients most commonly cite improvements in migraines, ADD/ADHD, and stress disorders."
With a moniker that in influenced by Chris Tucker's character in Friday, Smoke DZA could see his star status increase even more in the coming months thanks to the announcement of a collaborative project with legendary producer, Pete Rock.
In a 2012 interview with Karmaloop, he pointed to his top five marijuana strains: Bubba Kush, Purple Kush, Headband, Sour Diesel and OG Kush.
"OG Kush is the boss," he said. "That's why the name is 'OG.'"
He further solidified his love of the strain in 2014 in an interview with The Cannabist, saying, "It’s the most potent strain. I just love it."
Run the Jewels
Favorite strain: Jack Herer/Sour Diesel What Leafly says: "Combining a Haze hybrid with a Northern Lights #5 and Shiva Skunk cross, Sensi Seeds created Jack Herer hoping to capture both the cerebral elevation associated with sativas and the heavy resin production of indicas."
Known for their successful solo careers, El-P and Killer Mike's turn as Run the Jewels has seen the group earn acclaim from a variety of different publications for their cohesiveness as a unit and their ability to bounce between serious topics and more esoteric fare like "Meow the Jewels."
In a March 2016 tweet regarding the status of RTJ 3, El-P noted just how much weed he and Killer Mike were smoking, typing, "I would also like to report that @KillerMike and myself can apparently smoke almost a half pound of weed in 2 weeks, shocking even myself."
When it comes to specifics, Killer Mike told BLARE Magazine, "Here [Ontario] it’s been Jack Herer and it’s been pretty cool. In New York, you pretty much get Diesel but it’s the best Diesel around."
Ty Dolla $ign
Favorite Strain: King Louis XIII OG Kush What Leafly says: "Bred in part from OG Kush, Louis XIII has a very similar spicy kush aroma. Good for insomnia, this strain often tests at over 20% THC.
With a recently revealed "420" collection announced with HUF, Ty Dolla $ign is another artist poised for a big 2016.
While his name might not be as synonymous with other "weed rappers" like Snoop or Wiz, his habit is certainly on par - admitting to smoking an ounce of weed every two days. Specifically, he favors a regal-sounding strain of OG Kush: King Louis XIII.
"It's all I smoke right now. It's just the one. Not the two."
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