When The Smoke Clears

Some new stoner rap for your post 4/20 comedown. + reviews of bbymutha and Seafood Sam.

When The Smoke Clears

In the week leading up to 4/20, the hash-holiest of days on the weed aficionado's calendar, I watched some of my favorite stoner movies. Though this particular film subgenre, which CABBAGES devoted an entire podcast season to back in 2021, can be wildly hit-or-miss, I knew I could count on Grandma's Boy [2006] and How High [2001] to ease me into and through the Friday/Saturday festivities. Call it a guilty pleasure if that's what the cinephile in you requires, but I feel no need to justify my love for these big, dumb, silly flicks about the adventures and foibles of people who engage willfully in cannabis consumption.

The ongoing process of state-by-state decriminalization, as well as a pending rescheduling on the federal level, will hopefully lead to even greater big screen features with the plant as crucial co-star. Yet one area of entertainment where its use continues to thrive is hip-hop. We're well beyond the days of Cypress Hill boldly advocating for normalization, so much so that they dubbed their current tour alongside The Pharcyde and Souls Of Mischief as We Legalized It 2024. Today's commercial and independent rappers alike profess their cannabis affinity on their tracks with relative ease, some shouting out preferred strains and others going further as to endorse or co-brand products of their own. Step into legal dispensaries across the country right now and you'll find examples of this bearing the imprimatur of Method Man, Coi Leray, and Vic Mensa, to name a few.

Even still, there's something special about the so-called stoner rappers, the artists who truly adopt cannabis use as thematically core to their public personas and lyrical inspirations. With Curren$y and Wiz Khalifa at the helm, the cloud rap movement of the 2010s all-but provided the template, and the 2020s in turn have permitted emcees to do so over any manner of hip-hop production. The ease of legal streaming and digital downloading ensures that stoner rap acts can drop new projects on or around 4/20 no matter what day of the week it falls on in a given year. Here are a few fine examples of 2024's crop...

Calvin Valentine, Stoner Of The Year

An Oregon native and former Mello Music Group dude, this Los Angeles-based rapper/producer strategically times the drop of his hazy latest, smoking copious quantities on the daily while winking at the ladies and lambasting flagrant "cheeba hawks" over easygoing beats and scratched accents.

Berner, The Farmers Market

Not merely a stoner rap staple but the veritable celebrity purveyor behind one of the world's best-known cannabis brands, the Cookies kingpin delivers a nine-song set that touches on his current dominance in the green economy and boasts features by everyone from Conway The Machine to Devin The Dude to Paul Wall.

Cavalier, Different Type Time

Though not strictly a stoner rap affair, the NOLA rapper's intricate debut for billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz repeatedly addresses the subject matter, mourning the loss of reggie, hailing the black market, and lamenting for those currently incarcerated on cannabis offenses.

Different Type Time, by Cavalier
21 track album


Befitting his chosen moniker, Chilean rapper/reggaetonero unloads a dozen cuts just in time for his namesake day, unloading on each one with his aggressive signature snarl and sporting features from a diverse set of Latin music notables such as Alex Rose, Hades66, and Ovi.

bbymutha, Sleep Paralysis (buy it / stream it)

On her phenomenal follow-up to 2020's Muthaland, Tennessee's born-and-raised bbymutha spiritually honors the lineage of Hypnotize Minds refracted through the lens of deconstructed club. In other words, Sleep Paralysis slaps. Like funhouse mirrors surreptitiously installed in a strip club, songs like "ghostface" and "head x shoulders" draw fascination and stir passions. There's nothing superficial about her willfully distorted dancefloor jams, as evidenced by the sense of self worth emanating from "gun kontrol" or the anthemic "lines." While more concise than her last album, though very much in line with her recent spate of EP length releases, the roughly half-hour long effort demonstrates her undeniable artistic progression beyond the breakout success of "Rules" to the technical dexterity and downright fun she now wields.

Seafood Sam, Standing On Giant Shoulders (buy it / stream it)

Long Beach, CA has produced no shortage of hip-hop greatness. Snoop Dogg, Warren G, and Vince Staples all hail from there, and now Seafood Sam makes his strongest case yet for being included next to those names. Embracing the aural aesthetics of throwback soul and smooth jazz fusion, his Standing On Giant Shoulders grooves and soothes with meaningful lyricism as its lodestar. From the opening tableau of "Saylo" through the departing instrumental "When I Met Rose," the rapper/singer presents a vivid vision of his left coast lifestyle. Rather than rely on samples to bolster his tales, he favors sumptuous arrangements for these fundamentally personal tracks. "Can't Take The Hood To Heaven" mixes sartorial flair with spiritual awareness, while the formidably funky "Bullets From A Butterfly" self-assesses with an exceedingly confident cool.

Three new tracks for you to snack on...

Bruiser Wolf, "Crack Cocaine (feat. Chris Crack)"

Garfunkle, "Natural"

LUCI, "Spins"

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