'Going Green' is nothing new. From New Orleans to Half Baked, HNHH takes a look at why Hip Hop still loves that girl called Mary Jane.
It is rumored, that at the turn of the twentieth century, marijuana and music were married in New Orleans. Jazz was in its infancy; as experimental art-form it found Mary Jane to be a complimentary companion. She permitted calm endurance and open-minded expression; benefits those creative forefathers indulged in. However, bad press burned in the flames and hatred rose from the ashes. Thereafter the lovers slipped through the smoke and went into hiding.
Over the decades, the two could still be found holding hands, but public displays of affection were rare. Rock & Roll venerated the leafy lady, but it wasn’t until Hip Hop entered adolescence that the honored matron was again given her proper praise. In the early 1990’s a number of American rappers made it their mission to re-consecrate the divine union. Thanks to artists like Cypress Hill, and projects like the Bizarre Ryde II The Pharcyde, a breath of aromatic air was breathed into this topical relationship.
Dr. Dre was a pioneer of sorts. With his solo debut album, The Chronic, not only did he broadcast his adoration for the green-thumbed mistress, he also employed a classic aid (Zig-Zag rolling papers) into his album art. Several rappers followed suit, and the simple act of mentioning marijuana was trumped by titling songs and LP’s after her and her pseudonyms. Method Man had “Tical,” while his partner Redman educated on “How to Roll a Blunt.” Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Devin the Dude, and a sea of others waxed poetic as well. Ice Cube took things to the next level with his Friday film series. Cinematic celebrations continued with How High & Half Baked, easing the populace into appreciating Kush’s character.
In recent years emcee’s like Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y have taken the relationship between Mary and music to new heights. Not only do they discuss weed, title projects after it, and employ cultural elements into their packaging, they’ve also crafted a sound to match the feeling the smoke stimulates.
[Accessories anyone? A pre-order of Curren$y's Stoned Immaculate will get you a complimentary rolling tray.]
Cocaine/Trap rappers utilize this same technique when vocalizing the hustle, grind, or struggle. However, Kush Rap doesn’t typically converse about such things; so why does it exist? Is it to bring balance to Hip Hop, or give it new direction? Perhaps, it’s just to let loose in a way aggression can’t afford.
Interestingly enough, the efforts of Spitta especially have brought things back to where it all began. Ms. Jane and her man are back in New Orleans, and things have never sounded or smelled better.