12 dope weed songs from the streets of hip-hop

Hip-hop’s relationship to marijuana is a little bit different but the roots run deep.
Snoop Dogg at Live 50
Snoop Dogg at Live 50 / Theo Wargo/GettyImages
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Hip Hop’s relationship to marijuana is a little bit different from the two genres that also make reference to the wacky-weed quite often. Team Americana has a longer history, dating back to folk protests in which humor was often used to conceal more serious intent. Team Reggae also has a longer history, though only by a decade or so. But ganja plays a central role in the world of reggae, especially before 2015 when legalization was an ongoing debate.

Hip-hop doesn’t much care about legalization. And weed is merely one of the drugs about which rappers tell their stories. In terms of danger, it remains in the kiddie pool. Crack took up a lot of space in hip hop’s drug catalog, and newer synthetics tend to get the grittier songs. Pot is almost quaint.

In a sense, hip-hop blends the Americana and reggae attitude toward marijuana. As in reggae, many hip-hop songs portray it in a mostly positive light. It may not carry the same spiritual weight, but it is generally seen as a constructive way to escape, as opposed to crack and beyond. But it also uses that Americana sense of fun and humor that is often missing in reggae. Does that mean that hip-hop offers the best weed songs out there? Does that mean it is destined to win our little competition?

Team hip-hop knows their weed, especially team captain Calvin Broadus, Jr.

I suppose I should have said, for those of you new to these little essays, that this is the third in a four-part series, comparing four different teams of weed songs. Today, obviously, it is Team Hip Hop’s turn. Their captain – you probably already know.

Snoop Dogg has already made guest appearances with the other two teams, teaming up with Willie Nelson on a Team Americana entry, and, in his Snoop Lion persona, placing his own song on the Team Reggae roster. There is not another artist working in popular music today who has championed the beneficial uses of marijuana as much as Snoop. He’ll show up a couple of times on the following list.

But he will not bat first. That honor goes to Team Hip-Hop.