Whether you’re growing a farm or baking edibles, a star on the show High Maintenance or just getting stoned in your bedroom, weed has always been a part of everyday life for countless people around the world. However, before medical marijuana was legalized in numerous states across America, big-time stoners were usually only able to find refuge in music, and (after a huge come up in reggae) nowhere more so than hip-hop.
Love for marijuana – alias ganja, cannabis, grass, pot, weed, kaya – helped shape the hip-hop industry as we know it today, inspiring some of the wildest rap verses ever recorded and the special kind of stoned visuals that Hype Williams popularized back in the ‘90s.
So in honor of 4/20, join us as we mellow out over our mutual love of the magical plant and round up 10 of the most essential rap songs about weed in hip-hop history.
Method Man & Redman – “How High”
Best Lyric: “Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane/ It’s the Funk Doctor spot smoking Buddha on a train/ How high? So high so I can kiss the sky/ How sick, so sick that you can suck my dick”
Plenty of rappers are vocal about their love for weed, but few can match the passion that Redman and Method Man feel for the ganja. Not only was their first rap collaboration called “How High”, but the song itself soon inspired a feature film starring the two cannabis connoisseurs. Now, 17 years later, there’s still talk of developing a sequel. If they do end up pulling it together, we just hope that How High 2 can match the sick flow of these lyrics taken from the track that first inspired it all.
Ludacris – “Blueberry Yum Yum” ft. Sleepy Brown
Best Lyric: “Yes fire fire got me so tired, I’mma stop drop and rollllllll/ Put a wet towel under the doooooooooooor/ Don’t pass it I can’t take it no moooooooooooore/ Somebody take a trip down to the stoooooooore
With a hook written by Future before he found fame, “Blueberry Yum Yum” is often overlooked when compared to other tracks like “Get Back” and “Number One Spot”, but all these years later, this ode to weed still remains a highlight on The Red Light District. The song is full of killer lines, but the moment when even Ludacris himself is overcome by smoking too much is the funniest and, arguably, the most memorable too.
Wiz Khalifa & Snoop Dogg – “Young, Wild and Free” ft. Bruno Mars
Best Lyric: “Roll joints bigger than King Kong’s fingers/ And smoke them hoes down until they’re stingers”
Throw together two of hip-hop’s biggest stoners and what do you get? Astonishing boasts about smoking giant joints that could actually be true. After all, both Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg love rapping about marijuana even more than they love money and women, to the point where the magical muse even inspired them to develop their very own stoner movie called Mac and Devin Go To Highschool. If only the film’s script writing matched the lyrical prowess that Wiz Khalifa demonstrates on the track…
50 Cent – “High All The Time”
Best Lyric: “Give me some dro, purple haze and some chocolate/ Give me a dutch and a lighter, I’ll spark shit”
While the lyrics in this track taken from Fiddy’s debut album aren’t particularly wild themselves, the fact that 50 Cent later admitted he doesn’t smoke weed makes this cannabis anthem a surprising addition to his back catalog. It’s entirely possible that the Aftermath star simply wrote verses like this to resonate with his fan base, although Fiddy’s description of smoking blunts is a little bit too accurate for someone who supposedly doesn’t like getting high.
Nas – “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”
Best Lyric: “My mic check is life or death, breathing a sniper’s breath/ I exhale the yellow smoke of Buddha through righteous steps”
Widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Illmaticshowcases Nas and his unique brand of street poetry better than any other record of the ‘90s, cementing his position as an almost messianic figure in hip-hop. On this final track from the album, Nas weaves allusions to religion with slang for weed, all while rapping alongside a sample of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” which helps conveys his religious reverence for the magical plant.
Run the Jewels – “Lie, Cheat, Steal”
Best Lyric: “Good pussy, good marijuana, that be my medicine”
EL-P and Killer Mike begin this song by bragging about their various talents both on and off the mic, glorifying their gangster lifestyles with memorable lyrics about Batman and dragons. It’s not until the second verse drops that Killer Mike lays out what he really needs to keep himself going, and we doubt that a doctor gave him a prescription for this. Nonetheless, we’re sure that Killer Mike could afford plenty more “good marijuana” once this song was chosen as the intro theme for the Netflix documentary, Dirty Money.
OutKast – “Crumblin’ Erb”
Best Lyric: “Jane is rolled up, no gangs be throwed up/ But still Andre got action, they Sweat like Keith, all on my teeth”
As the trippiest duo in hip-hop, OutKast incorporated countless references to weed throughout their funkadelic discography, but the most memorable can be found on their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, which remains one of the hardest names to pronounce while baked. On the song “Crumblin’ Erb”, André 3000 waxed lyrical about the benefits of escaping real life through the smoky haze of cannabis, dropping a reference to R&B artist Keith Sweat along the way that also doubles as a reference to ‘kief’ for good measure.
Afroman – “Because I Got High”
Best Lyric: “I was gonna make love to you but then I got high/ I was gonna eat yo’ pussy too but then I got high/ Now I’m jacking off and I know why”
It’s rather ironic that this mainstream stoner anthem actually serves as a warning to those who smoke cannabis in excess. Things start off easy breezy for Afroman and his love of weed, but by the end of the song, the verses take a dark turn as the one-hit wonder becomes paralyzed in a car accident and loses both his wife and his job. Confusing messages aside, you’ve got to love an international chart hit that bemoans what cannabis can do to your sex drive. Is it any wonder that Afroman’s fictional wife left him?
Redman – “How To Roll a Blunt”
Best Lyric: “Purchase a Phillie/ not the city of Philly, silly punk, I’m talking ‘bout the shit called the Phillie blunt/ lick the blunt and then the Phillie blunt middle you split/ don’t have a razor blade, use your fuckin’ fingertips”
Redman is many things to many people, but on this track taken from his debut album Whut? Thee Album, Reggie Noble is first and foremost a teacher in the art of blunt rolling. Released back in 1992, this song serves as a streetwise instruction manual that changed the game for newbies who were curious about smoking pot. Just remember: It’s all about the Philly blunts.
Cypress Hill – “I Wanna Get High”
Best Lyric: “Forward motion make you sway like the ocean/the herb is more than just a powerful potion”
It’s impossible to talk about the impact of weed on rap culture without referring to Cypress Hill. From “Smoke Weed” to “Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up”, the multi-platinum selling group seemed to live 24/7 in a cannabis-fueled haze, which also meant that their lyrics on the topic were more insightful than most. Not only is “I Wanna Get High” one of their most timely songs about getting baked, but it also appeared in the film Half Baked, Dave Chapelle’s quintessential stoner comedy.