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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“YOUNG, WILD & FREE” by Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa (2011)

And speaking of being at ease,  this may be the most easy-going and catchiest of all weed songs, regardless of genre. Bruno Mars’ angelic voice states the case right up front – “So what, we get drunk – So what, we smoke weed – We’re just having fun – We don’t care who sees.”

Snoop and his equally passionate proponent of weed, Khalifa, wrote this song for the 2012 movie Mac & Devin Go to High School. The song is pretty much the only good thing about that movie, but if that’s what it took, so be it. You can’t help but feel your mood lightening when that beat begins. And that’s true even if you don’t have “joints bigger than King Kong’s fingers” like Snoop or don’t care to follow Wiz’s exhortations to “roll one, smoke one.” Just listening can give you a taste of being young and wild and free.

“HOW TO ROLL A BLUNT” by Redman (1992)

Perhaps I have waited too long to go over basic instructions. Leave it to Redman to explain the technicalities. He gets plenty of help from Pete Rock’s infectious production which places you right in the middle of the party.

A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg had already had some fun at the expense of Bo Jackson’s “Bo Knows” Nike commercials, but his rhyme wasn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as Redman’s – “Bo know everything from sports to other stuff – But I bet you Bo don’t know how to roll a blunt.”

“CRUMBLIN ERB” by Outkast (1994)

From Outkast’s first album, we get our first taste of the fact that weed may not be godsend other rappers have it cracked up to be. To be fair, Andre and Big Boi make no claims whatsoever about the effects of the drug, positive or negative. But they describe a world in which economic opportunity is so restricted that it forces ambitious young men into dealing, and that leads to violence. Part of Andre’s genius is contained in the title’s metaphor. “I’m just a crumblin’ erb.” And crumblin’ 'erbs exist to be smoked.

BTW, that little “crumblin’ erb” hook comes courtesy of Sleepy Brown who has already shown up on this list. And this all comes from the album that helped launch a third front in the geographic hip-hop debate. With its slinky beats and intelligent lyrics, Outkast announced that southern rap was a thing.