Stephen Marley Discusses New Album ‘Old Soul’ with Clapton on Guitar, Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, and More

Stephen Marley dropped his new album Old Soul Friday, featuring guest appearances by legends Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Buju Banton, and Slightly Stoopid.

It weaves a texture of unplugged jam sessions, including original compositions as well as classics, some recorded by Ray Charles (“Georgia On My Mind”), Frank Sinatra (“These Foolish Things”), and The Beatles (“Don’t’ Let Me Down”). The album’s available via Tuff Gong Collective, UMe, and Ghetto Youths International, or scoop it up on Stephen Marley’s website. It comes as a limited edition double vinyl, CD, or digital download.

The album’s acoustified jam of “I Shot the Sheriff” features a stunning riff in true Clapton fashion, while “Winding Road” creeps into jam band territory with Weir at the helm. “I’m an old soul, living in the body of a 9-year-old,” Stephen Marley sings in the title track, recalling pivotal shifts in his youth. “Guess I’ve been here before.” Catch him on tour at Old Soul Tour Unplugged 2023 running through Oct. 22, with special guest Mike Love at select stops.

Nearly all members of the Marley family inherited strong musical gifts, but Stephen Marley in particular shines as a producer, working with artists like Lauryn Hill, Steven Tyler, Erykah Badu, and others under his belt. He’s won eight Grammy Awards for his numerous contributions to reggae and hip-hop music. The first singles trickled out beginning last April 20, with new singles dropping now. Stephen Marley discussed with High Times his intentions on making the new album, cannabis, and the early days of reggae with the first to embrace it.

Photo by Stephen Lashbrook

High Times: You just dropped your first full-length solo album in seven years. I’m curious: What’s the meaning behind the title Old Soul?

Stephen Marley: It has a broken down, indie, and kind of jamming feel, y’know. And the thing that is subtle is me speaking about my life and paying homage to the songs I [love], y’know. So that’s all of the thoughts behind the name of the record and the feeling of the music. There are a lot of old songs in there, so that added to the feeling of the record.

How did the album’s intimate, unplugged vibe come about? Did you want to switch things up this time?

Not really. I didn’t really want to switch things up. But when we went to record the album, I didn’t even start out with the intention of recording an album, but you know, we were in the thick of a pandemic and there were no flights. Everybody was stuck where they were and everything was closed down. So my regular access to musicians, my regular way of going about making music and the album kind of changed. And this is what I came up with. That’s all I had to work with to make a record under those conditions.

Do you produce your own songs? What’s your process?

I mean [it depends] when I’m making music. You know what I mean? So what is the process? There is no particular process. I make those songs day by day. You have a concept and you begin to work with the concept and try to keep things within context. You have the concept and you put out the body of work that you are inspired to put out. That’s all. That’s it.

You’re using a range of instruments like binghi drums and a flute. Does this help produce a more colorful sound you’re looking for?

Yeah, to have a healing feeling. I mean it gives me that type of feeling. It takes me places in my head and the feeling brings a healing component. I guess that I want to share that kind of healing feeling that it brings.

Eric Clapton’s cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” was a big deal—his only no. 1 single in the U.S.  So he must’ve recognized reggae’s greatness early on. Is his guitar work on the new album version new material?

Yes. That’s him and my guitar as well. It is both of dem ‘tings.

Photo by Stephen Lashbrook

So by revisiting the song you’re recognizing his efforts to help reggae cross over.

I didn’t revisit the song; I was jamming the song and recorded the jam. I didn’t really come with intentions of that in the beginning. We recorded everything and it sounded good. I thought maybe we can get Eric to put something on it. We got a riff and Eric liked it. 

Several other impressive artists such as Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir are on the album, on “Winding Roads” I believe. Why such a diverse range of genres?

So “Winding Roads” was a song that I had a while back that didn’t make my first album which was Mind Control. So I had “Winding Roads” way back then. It didn’t make that body of work. When we were recording “Winding Roads” and we liked it. We jammed a few songs. So we recorded some jams with some great musicians and “Winding Roads” was one of those songs. Bob is a musical legend.

Do you think rock ‘n’ roll possesses a similar rebel spirit compared to reggae?

Indeed. I mean, in the ‘70s, it was actually punk rock that first embraced Rasta music and the Rastas. Y’know, with all of these dreadlocks. That’s why in England and in Europe it was the first place to catch on. Y’know there was that big punk rock hair on dem as well. It was a dual relationship. 

So that was The Clash, The Damned, and so forth that embraced it first, right?


I’ve read that your family used herbal medicine, as opposed to pharmaceuticals very often. Do you think some of these secrets are lost in Western medicine, when there are natural herbs that work better?

Well, first of all, we Jamaicans, y’know, Africans and Caribbean people—we use herbs for the healing of the body, not just our family. And y’know, everything was for the purpose to heal. If you seek, you will find it. Was this knowledge lost? I think once upon a time that narrative [was true]. But I think nowadays most people know the truth about medicines. 

Do you have any cannabis brands you’re working with?

Well we have our own brand Marley Natural. Damian has [Ocean Grown and Evidence] and Rohan has Lion Order going on right now. So those are the brands we’re working with right now.

Photo by @dullahvision

Spliff or blunt?


Not mixed with tobacco, right?


What do you think the cannabis industry needs the most right now?

What does it need? We want herb to be free across the board, y’know. We want it to be free to smoke. I don’t know about the cannabis industry, but we want herb to be free everywhere. I don’t follow the industry. It’s a plant and herb that I like to smoke.

Do you have any daily routines you practice in order to stay positive?

I personally roll up a spliff when I wake up in the morning and maybe make some herbal tea–thyme or rosemary or echinacea or whatever. I put my thoughts together before the day and reflect. That’s my only kind of ritual. And y’know, because I’m a musician, sometimes I wake up in the evening. [Laughs] You know what I mean?

How do you want people to feel after they listen to your music?

I want people to feel rejuvenated. I want people to feel a sense of healing that can help them get through the day, in that sense. For me, myself, that’s what music is for me.

Are you currently on tour?

Yeah. I just came across the border from Canada and now I’m back in America.

Courtesy Stephen Marley

How much time do you spend during the year, working in the studio?

Well, I live in the studio. My home is actually a studio. So every day if I’m not working on the road, I’m in the studio. Sometimes during the day, sometimes at night. It’s called The Lion’s Den. 

Do any other artists record there as well?

Yeah, my family records in there. It’s not open to the public, but the ones who qualify do come in to record. 

Do you have any other announcements right now?

There’s the new record out that I want people to hear and there’s a component in there that can inspire them and heal them.

The post Stephen Marley Discusses New Album ‘Old Soul’ with Clapton on Guitar, Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, and More appeared first on High Times.

From the Archives: SMASHED! (1999)

Some bands owe marijuana a debt of gratitude for the inspiration the plant has provided them. In the case of San Jose, California quartet Smash Mouth, pot’s role in their success is far more direct. In the lean years before their 1997 retro-cool hit “Walkin’ on the Sun” launched them to the top of the charts, vocalist Steve Harwell and drummer Kevin Coleman would raid Bay Area pot gardens, pilfer the plants, then dry and sell the weed.

In defense of their reprehensible past, Harwell explains: “I provided the product for cheaper than what the actual grower would’ve provided it for. I was probably stealing the guys’ mortgages or something, but I was young and dumb.”

With their new album Astro Lounge, the band has repaid the debt—if not to the growers they robbed, then at least to the herb that kept them afloat during their starving-musician phase.

Among the album’s more compelling tracks is “Stoned,” a loping tribute to the joys of sparking up whose big, anthemic chorus declares: “We’re just getting high/Let us be, it’ll be all right.”

On the eve of their Astro Lounge tour, the band—Harwell, Coleman, guitarist Greg Camp, and bassist Paul DeLisle—sat down to discuss “Stoned” and their preoccupation with inhaling clouds of pot smoke.

HT: What compelled you to write “Stoned”?

Greg Camp: Part of it came from visiting Amsterdam. There’s no crime, no guns there. It’s totally mellow. Compare that to America, where they keep everything under law.

So it’s safe to say that Smash Mouth are pro-legalization?

Steve Harwell: Oh, yeah—legalize it. What the hell? It’s not killing anybody. There are worse things out there than marijuana. If everybody did smoke weed, we wouldn’t have tragedies like Columbine.

Camp: Pot should definitely be legalized. Just like in Amsterdam, there should be cafes or something where you can buy ounces of green bud. It would just be so cool. Alcoholism would probably go down. Pot’s got to be better for you than alcohol.

Are you worried about fallout from releasing such a pro-pot song?

Camp: Yeah, but hopefully the song’s got enough humor to avoid that. I am worried about the flak, though. We get a lot of e-mails and letters from teachers and people who work with kids about how they really appreciate our songs and how uplifting they are. So if that one ever actually does become a single. I think we’ll definitely be getting some heat. But who cares, you know?

Was there any static from Interscope?

Camp: None at all. In fact, we were going to say, “I’m in my zone” instead of “I’m getting stoned.” But Tom Whalley said, “If you do that, I ain’t putting the song on the record”—and he’s our A&R guy! Same with program directors; Kevin [Weatherly] from KROQ heard it and said, ”I really want to play this song.” So now that we’ve got the record company and radio in our pocket, we’re cool for a few months—until parents start hearing it.

What benefits does pot provide you?

Camp: It’s hard to sleep on a tour bus when it’s moving and you’re in this tiny little bunk and you’re bouncing around. I’ve got a little one-hitter in my bunk. I’ll just hit it, listen to some weird reggae on my headphones and go to sleep. Pot relaxes me and lets me sleep.

What about as a creativity enhancer?

Camp: It definitely helps me create. For me, it’s either pot or a glass of red wine. That’s what gets my creative juices flowing.

Steve and Kevin—you both have reputations as somewhat reformed heavy partiers. What do you have to say?

Kevin Coleman: I’m on the 11-step program: Weed and coffee, and once in a while some Tylenol PMs.

Harwell: I used to smoke pot like it was going out of style, but I lost my tolerance for it. Now it just makes me paranoid. At first, it’s really great; for like, thirty seconds I just crack up. Then I stop straight-faced and go, “What the fuck? I’m stoned.”

Read the full issue here.

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First Cannabis Ads Coming Soon to Spotify

Chicago-based marijuana company Cresco Labs Inc. announced on Thursday that it will become the “first cannabis company to launch cannabis advertisements on Spotify, the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with more than 551 million users and 220 million subscribers.”

The ad campaign will promote Sunnyside, a chain of dispensaries operated by Cresco Labs and will include “30 second audio and in-app digital banners that drive to the retailer’s proprietary e-commerce platform,” the company said in a press release.

Those ads will be specifically targeted to Spotify listeners (and would-be Sunnyside customers) in Illinois, where recreational cannabis is legal.

“Audio streaming services represent a major opportunity for brands to reach large audiences in a targeted manner, and we’re excited to collaborate with Spotify to launch the first-ever cannabis ads from our Sunnyside national retail brand,” Cory Rothschild, Cresco Labs’ National Retail President, said in a statement on Thursday. “Our Sunnyside advertising strategy is built on a data ecosystem enabling best-in-class targeting and measurement. Spotify’s platform will enable our marketing team to target our ads compliantly and profitably to our core shoppers in Illinois where we have a leading share in retail. This important partnership is not only a step in normalizing cannabis, but it also showcases the sophistication and quality of marketing that we have unlocked at Cresco Labs.”

Advertising has been a tricky area to navigate for cannabis companies looking to market in the United States, where marijuana remains subject to federal prohibition. 

Marketing Brew ran a story in 2021 detailing those challenges, and highlighted how the publicly traded Cresco Labs “has a podcast advertising strategy that is just as nuance-filled as you’d expect,” and that its “core strategy hits at the intersection of host-read and programmatic ads.”

The outlet reported that the company “only advertises in states where cannabis—and therefore, marketing cannabis products—is legal.”

“We follow the letter of the law in terms of our content in our delivery,” Matt Pickerel, senior director of performance marketing at Cresco Labs, told Marketing Brew. “So, because we’re dynamically inserting podcast ads, we only serve in the states where we have a footprint and where we have all the licenses that we need.”

Pickerel explained that the podcast company Headgum allowed Cresco Labs to “dynamically insert pre-recorded host-read ads in states Cresco wants to advertise in.”

“Because podcast measurement is still ‘in its infancy,’ Pickerel said, Cresco tracks success with ‘some pretty elementary metrics.’ Those include number of impressions, completes, discount-code redemptions, and website visits if the podcast mentions Cresco’s URL,” Marketing Brew reported at the time.

“While Cresco hasn’t jumped into the podcast advertising landscape headfirst due to those measurement concerns, Pickerel told us it’s doing more than dipping a toe in, with about 15% of its marketing budget going toward podcasts.”

Cresco says that its mission is to “normalize and professionalize the cannabis industry through a CPG approach to building national brands and a customer-focused retail experience, while acting as a steward for the industry on legislative and regulatory-focused initiatives.”

“As a leader in cultivation, production and branded product distribution, the Company is leveraging its scale and agility to grow its portfolio of brands that include Cresco, High Supply, FloraCal, Good News, Wonder Wellness Co., Mindy’s and Remedi, on a national level. The Company also operates highly productive dispensaries nationally under the Sunnyside brand that focus on building patient and consumer trust and delivering ongoing education and convenience in a wonderfully traditional retail experience. Through year-round policy, community outreach and SEED initiative efforts, Cresco Labs embraces the responsibility to support communities through authentic engagement, economic opportunity, investment, workforce development and legislative initiatives designed to create the most responsible, respectable and robust cannabis industry possible,” the company said in Thursday’s press release.

According to Business Insider, Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell “is a keynote speaker at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Chicago on September 27 and 28, where he will undoubtedly share more insights regarding the new partnership with Spotify.”

In addition to the Benzinga conference in Chicago later this month, Cresco Labs said that Bachtell will also appear at the ATB 2023 Life Sciences Institutional Investor Conference on September 20 in New York City, and the AGP Annual Virtual Cannabis Conference on October 4.

Sunnyside has dispensaries across seven states: one in Arizona, 33 in Florida, ten in Illinois, four in Massachusetts, four in New York, five in Ohio and 14 in Pennsylvania.

Sunnyside opened a new location last month in Palm Bay, Florida.

“We continue to expand the Sunnyside brand and increase access to top-quality cannabis products in the most meaningful Florida markets,” Bachtell said at the time. “Palm Bay is the most populous city in Brevard County with over 129,000 residents, and the city’s location just southeast of Orlando will enable Sunnyside Palm Bay, along with our many other stores in the East Central Florida region, to serve tens of thousands of patients with their cannabis needs.”

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Mick Jenkins Is Finally Doing Whatever He Wants

For the better part of the last decade, Chicago-bred rapper Mick Jenkins has proved himself to be one of the best pure lyricists in the game. With a vicious pen that’s truly mightier than any sword, a dedicated cult-like following that spans across the globe, respect from his peers on both sides of the mainstream and underground market, he’s had a longer and more sustainable career than most rappers do.

Despite all of this, like similar independent artists before him, Mick’s brand of smooth laid-back raps over jazzy instrumentals has been largely underappreciated by major music media outlets and mainstream hip-hop fans alike, and his patience with all of that quite frankly has worn thin. The Patience is less an album about the virtues of patience as it is Mick expressing the frustration of he’s experienced from a myriad of topics, from his constrictive label situation at Cinematic Records to rappers who are seemingly unable to rap about anything other than shallow materialism. This frustration spills over the most in standout tracks like “Pasta” and “Guapanese” with him literally shouting his bars. The end result has ultimately produced what could potentially be the best music of Mick’s already impressive catalog.

One of the core elements of his music lies in his open love for cannabis. The JID-assisted “Smoke Break-Dance” was the first single released for The Patience, providing mellow stoner vibes that’s more aligned with the sound of previous projects. When it comes to the list of all-time great weed rappers—or artists who just rap about cannabis more frequently/better than the average MC—Mick definitely belongs in the conversation. He has taken this appreciation for the plant even a step further beyond music, starting his own legal weed brand back in 2020 with The Healing Component (named after one of his albums) in collaboration with Trap House Connection in Washington state.

I had the chance to chop it up with Mick via zoom. I puffed on a hand-made donut hole with Honey Banana flower and Jenny Kush live rosin while he casually smokes on a joint of Mountain Sage by Cannabiotix as he shares the inside scoop of his new album, and his budding weed enterprise.

Congratulations on the new album. How does it feel to finally be free from your previous label and make the project you wanted without constraints?

Thank you. I’m just trying to do my own artistry and be independent in the business, and now that I have that experience, it feels good to put my first ideas and iterations in action. From the music to the videos to the rollout to all the extra content that we have to surround and build out this world. It’s all a product of me and my manager’s thoughts, with help from RBC [Records] and BMG that I’m signed to now. And so what people are seeing is a direct reflection of that. I couldn’t really ask for more in my situation with fairness, unless niggas just wanna give me a million dollars for no reason (laughs).  

So, in that regard, I’m happy. Life is lifeing. That happens to everybody, but I’m pretty happy even with my connection to this music. I do feel like this is the first time where I’ve done everything I wanted to do.

You’ve got some notable features on this project. You’ve mentioned in interviews how you formed an organic relationship with each guest, but I’m curious on how you even chose to have those artists on The Patience?

I don’t, bro. It’s who’s available. And whose time is free when your time is free. I think people misunderstand that a lot. You don’t just get to choose who you want. Like you choose what you want and then see if it’s possible. And a lot of times it’s not possible so you got to pivot to other people. A lot of the time like, if I had who I wanted on here, I don’t know if any of these niggas [would] be on here. But it’s because like I can’t get Andre 3000 bro, like I don’t know Kendrick, Earl hasn’t hit me back in like a year, you feel me? (laughs).

But, I know JID. We send music back and forth. We push each other’s pens back and forth. We send each other unreleased shit. I’ve been a fan of Vic for a long time, you know what I’m saying. He’s gone through a huge change in his life and we started talking on just real organic shit in that way. Freddie finally hit me back after I had been messaging him in the middle of night at like 2:30 in the morning, like ‘Yo, I’m about to do this record.’ I’m like, “Oh, shit that’s crazy!’ You know what I’m saying, just like, shit like that. Whereas a lot of times in my past, I found myself campaigning for shit that didn’t even happen, ya’ feel me? This time, all I did was kind of like, let people know what I had going on. And they was just like, ‘Oh yeah, I gotcha.’ So it’s refreshing because well, I’m sure you already know as a journalist trying to chase rappers for interviews is crazy. Tryna chase niggas down for 16 bars is even crazier, I promise you.

Switching gears to weed, you have a line from The Water[s] where you say “Told myself I’d never be a smoker/Fail, watch me inhale” and it always makes me laugh because I also used to be a straight edge kid in high school. So I’m just curious as to what your first time smoking was like and what are your go-to strains today?

I’m a sativa guy, first and foremost. I love indica too, but I just can’t smoke it all day. Tangie is my favorite, and there’s a lot of derivatives. I just had some really good Haze from Verde Natural. They sent it to me, and usually when people send me weed, I don’t ever say anything about it, but I haven’t had any Haze that looked, smelled, tasted this good, and gave me that even-keel high like a Haze does like that in a while. I had to hit them up like ‘Yo, this is amazing,’ so shout out Verde Natural. But yeah, [Tangie and Haze] are the two go-to strains, and then some indica for the night.

My first time smoking I was 17 at the time. I was by myself, I didn’t know how to roll, so I stuffed a Black & Mild. It was pretty fluffy weed so it was easy to break down, whereas if it was that dense ass weed I would have been lost as to what to do because I didn’t know anything about a grinder. But it was pretty fluffy so I was able to break it down and toss it in there. I hit it twice and it was just so nasty out of that fucking Black & Mild that I didn’t hit it again, and I wouldn’t smoke again until my freshman year of college. And that time I got high as fuck with some homies. There was like a dip-off off campus and we just kind of sat there in silence while listening to music. But that first time is fucking hilarious. My big cousin Jordan used to smoke and I used to look at him like ‘Eww, I can’t believe you smoke weed.’ (laughs)

I know you also have your own brand in the industry. Truth be told, you were one of the first Chicago rappers to ever have your own legal cannabis brands even before Vic Mensa started 93 Boyz. How did you venture into that business?

Yeah, so it’s The Healing Component and Trees & Truth. We’re operating out of Washington—Seattle, specifically—but we’re all over the state. Right now we’re trying to get connected with some growers so that we can get into the markets in L.A. and Illinois, specifically. You know that’s a process in and of itself. But I worked on it with my mans Blake. He approached me while I was on tour with Davido in Seattle and he dropped off some gas. He was like ‘Yo, I’m not giving you weed because I want you to smoke it, I want to work with you.’ He was saying how he thought The Healing Component was a good play on THC and that it could make a good brand, and that he ran Trap House Connections and worked with nine other brands. I was like aight, smoked that shit and it was gas (laughs)… 

And now it’s doing pretty well! We’ve been working together for like four or five years. I came back recently to our farm in Yakima, Washington. I went on a dispensary tour and met all the people selling our product, so it was just interesting to see everything from top to bottom. It started with me just doing marketing, because obviously like I said he was running a few different brands already. So it’s nothing for him to just essentially like choose some flower and slap my name on it, essentially. But now we’ve got like our own strains that we’ve been cultivating. And that’s been the most difficult thing, like trying to get somebody that can grow the same way as we grow in different states. For Illinois, when it comes to the weed in dispensaries, you completely recognize the difference in quality and that just has to do with what’s available and a lot of other variables. So, we’re still growing. We want it to be a partnership. I told him I was like not super concerned about taking profits in the beginning. Because I wanted to actually be in this world and I knew I had a lot to learn. I knew that I didn’t know.

Cannabis has always been a big part of your music. From your first project being Trees & Truth with “tree” being a weed reference, The Healing Component is abbreviated THC, even the first single from the new project is “Smoke Break-Dance.” I feel like you’re one of the best when it comes to quote-unquote “stoner rappers” with the likes of Curren$y, Wiz, Cypress Hill and Snoop. But the way in which you rap about weed a lot of times is so clever and subtle, I feel like it goes over people’s heads so they may not immediately think of your name in that category. Is that intentional?

I try to do that. Even with “Smoke Break,” I feel like a lot of times I make songs like this, it’s like okay, you’re making another smoking song. How are you gonna make this different? I think though, that question kind of leads me to talking about [weed] in the unconventional ways that I do. Just because if I don’t do that, then it’s going to be a lot of the same. And that’s not a knock to anybody. That’s just me trying to push my own creativity. I’m definitely a stoner, so it’s definitely gonna come out of my raps. I just tried to make sure there’s variance, so I’m not saying the same thing over and over because you know, it’s just smoking. It’s not like there’s that much to it.

Yeah, my favorite smoking song from you is “Percy” and it’s a shame it’s not on streaming (currently only available on YouTube). That’s one of my favorite songs ever, period. I know you also directed the video for that, so what was that whole experience like?

That’s my favorite song too. Me and Qari just made that song on the fly, and I think everything else about it was on the fly. It wasn’t anything too crazy, obviously. But that was my first time [directing a music video] so I didn’t give myself too much pressure. I just wanted to do something like all the way through. And that’s why it was released as a single. We didn’t worry about clearing the sample or anything, which is why we don’t have it on streaming. It was just something I wanted to do for myself. Me and Qari both snapped on the verses, and I do think it’s a shame. There’s a few songs that I have that I’m like, ‘Damn, I should have treated that right.’ Should have gave that one a proper release, you know, but yeah, that’s definitely one of my favorites.

What is the influence of cannabis in your life outside of music? I personally feel like it has some spiritual and healing properties.

I mean to me, it’s just something I like to do. There’s some escapism. It has some relieving properties for sure. Like it’s a relief for me at times. But, I mean, I’ve had to reduce how much I’m smoking because I recognized that I was smoking too much. At one point I was smoking an ounce a week for real. I know people who smoke more than that, but it’s just like that’s too much. That was too much for me. Especially because I’m married, you know what I’m saying? I have a crib I gotta pay for, it was too much so, I’ve had to reduce how much I smoke at different periods in my life. It’s just some habitual shit though. I don’t know that the amount of healing that I get from it outweighs the reality that I just like to get high (laughs).

At least you’re honest, man. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. In keeping with the theme of the album, do you feel like weed makes you more patient? What do you do to take care of yourself?

No, no, it’s just something to do while I wait. It can definitely calm me down while I’m trying to be patient. But I think patience is more than how you feel. I think it is an action. I think it is a doing of a thing. So I don’t think it really makes me more patient.

I hoop a lot, but recently I fucked around and tore my LCL. But yeah, I hoop, I hike, sometimes I skate, I go to the beach a lot. I live in L.A. now so it’s just there’s a lot to do outside so I be outside. I’m definitely a nature dude, I go on picnics a lot with my wife. We walk a lot. We take walks around at the park like around the track and shit. So I do a lot of different physical shit, just tryna stay healthy.

Let’s talk about hip-hop. I was listening to your Fader interview, and you spoke on the frustration about the lack of love that the underground has been getting from all these so-called celebrations of hip-hop at mainstream shows. So I just wanted to ask you, who are just some underground names you want to give love to, whether they’re current or old school?

Hi-Tek, a producer from Cincinnati, fucking amazing. Little Brother, Phonte never get the flowers he deserves even though a lot of niggas inspired by Phonte. My nigga Rhymefest from Chicago. Definitely, The Cool Kids don’t get the credit they deserve and they really fucked the culture up. I don’t know why my R&B nigga BJ The Chicago Kid don’t get no love, but now this is turning into a Chicago list. 

I fuck with Mach-Hommy heavy on some rap shit. He’s one of the newest rappers in the last five years where I’m like this is crazy. I don’t know if these guys are underrated because I just started listening to them, but Coast Contra—they’re crazy—it’s like five of them in there. A lot of the old heads I listen to are lit, so they’re not underrated. They for sure don’t get the love they deserve, but they’re legends now so it don’t even matter. Oh, and my dawg SLLIME, Sllime Ghoulie, Sllime64 (Chicago-based producer/rapper and Mick’s long-time tour DJ).

When are we getting the greenSLLIME and Mick collab project?

Oh, that’s next! Facts.

Word?! Other than that, what else is next for you? Any final words you want to share?

Music, music, a lot of music. A lot of content surrounding music. I’m dropping music, period. 

Thank you for having me. I am trying to go to the High Times Cannabis Cup. I need to be a panelist or judge or something so maybe you can plug me (laughs).

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Haizi Haze: Hip Hop’s New Queen of Cannabis 

Haizi Haze is redefining what it means to be a stoner in the digital age. Originally from Boston, the 25 year old recording artist now lives in Los Angeles, and has found success working between the worlds of music, cannabis, & tech. You may recognize Haizi from her work with Weedmaps, Vice, and Raw Papers. With her loyal following on social media, Haizi Haze continues to position herself as a premiere tastemaker in the cannabis industry. 

Her latest song, “Indica Sativa,” hit all major streaming platforms on 4/20 at 4:20am, and serves listeners with a refreshing blend of vintage vibes & cannabis-infused bars. Since its release, the song has gained over 100K streams on Spotify, while the music video has gained over 200K views on Haizi’s YouTube channel. “Indica Sativa” has added a new flavor to 420 playlists around the world, and can be played seamlessly in rotation with vintage Snoop, Wiz Khalifa & Curren$y records.

“I want to represent for the female stoners, who stay pretty & productive.” says Haizi. “Indica Sativa is a song made by a stoner for other stoners. It’s a much needed Re-Up for the listeners who enjoy these classic vibes like I do.” 

The cover art for “Indica Sativa” was designed by Ron “RiskieForever” Brent, the same artist who designed 2PAC’s iconic “Makaveli” album art in 1996. Riskie & Haizi met through Instagram & the two soon began collaborating on cover concepts over Facetime. When asked how cannabis influenced the art for Makaveli, Riskie says “Working with 2Pac was a dream come true. While working on the Makaveli artwork, I would blaze & paint, paint & blaze, and bump 2Pac’s music. He gave input; I’d paint the ideas.” When asked about his experience with Haizi, Riskie says “she’s a dope artist and very kind; it was easy to work with her. The track had a real laid-back West Coast vibe; so that was gonna be my concept behind the art—64’z, Chronic leaves, and Haizi blazing that good good!” The final cover design features a painting of Haizi Haze in many shades of green, and Haizi has the painting (original 1 of 1 signed by Riskie) proudly displayed in her studio. Haizi’s collab with Riskie pays tribute to timeless art in hip-hop & bridges generations of hip hop fans. 

Shot & Edited by Lenny Coote, the music video for “Indica Sativa” takes viewers on a weed filled journey with Haizi Haze. From Herbarium to a huge 420 party, it is evident Haizi has a high tolerance and can smoke with the big dogs. In the first shot of the video, smoke billows out of the windows of an old car while Haizi (barely visible through the smoke) sparks up another joint in the driver’s seat. The visual play between vintage & modern imagery is constant with Vinyl Records, Magazines, Books, & Payphones causing viewers to reflect on the past & think about the future.In a world of constantly evolving stoner technology, there are a few innovative products & devices seen in the video that are worth noting. The futuristic glass piece Haizi is seen holding is the Cenote by Auxo. This new Smart Rig retails at $400, and is described as the ultimate concentrate vaporizer. “I love dabs, but I don’t love the process of torching a bowl until it’s red hot,” says Haizi. “I think the Cenote is a much safer alternative if you want to avoid accidentally burning yourself. I use the app on my phone to heat up the rig to the perfect temperature, and it honestly tastes so clean.”

After dozens of dab rips, Haizi is seen using the Smoke Thrower by Fuma Enterprises to smoke out an entire crowd at a 420 party. The Smoke Thrower retails at $600, and uses an air pump trigger to shoot massive amounts of smoke through a network of PVC pipes. “That party was wild, so many people were lining up to get blasted, and we just kept repacking the bowl all night.” Describing it as a “Canna Gun,” Wiz Khalifa went viral using the Smoke Thrower to wake up his cousin, and its popularity has been rapidly growing ever since.

When we discuss icons in the stoner community, the discussion almost always includes Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Cheech & Chong, Willie Nelson, Seth Rogan to name a few. However you look at it, there is a notable lack of women on this list. As a black woman working in both the cannabis and entertainment industries, Haizi recognized this void & identified a serious cultural need for an iconic female stoner. She has captivated audiences around the world with her voice, her natural beauty, and her genuine love for weed. 

Originally from the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Haizi has been a cannabis enthusiast long before moving to California. She still spends time in Boston to visit family, but now she has opportunities to work with new cannabis brands based in Massachusetts. “I’m bi-coastal, constantly in and out of Boston. It’s crazy to see how far the recreational industry in MA has come, I’m seeing so many new shops & cannabis billboards popping up everywhere,” says Haizi. “Personally, I think the pricing is still a little high in the city, all of the shops with affordable prices are 30-40 minutes outside of Boston. Overall though, I think MA is doing a good job, and legal cannabis is easily accessible for Bostonians who need it.” 

Within one week of moving to Los Angeles, Haizi got hired to work as a budtender at a medical cannabis dispensary. Over the next few years, Haizi became a very familiar face in the cannabis community, and worked with several shops & brands based in Los Angeles. While managing a shop on Melrose Ave in West Hollywood, Haizi released her debut music project “FREE DABS.” This cannabis inspired EP enabled Haizi to cross promote her music in dispensaries, and she was able to make many meaningful relationships with customers who still work in important roles in the cannabis & music industries. 

As a professional stoner, Haizi has accumulated some priceless memories. She has rolled & smoked RAW Challenge Cones with Josh Kessleman the founder of Raw; she witnessed Tommy Chong hit a 6 foot bong at a Super Bowl Party in Bel Air; she’s laughed with Seth Rogen on Zoom Calls; she’s thrown weed parties with NBA Celtics Champion Paul Pierce; she’s smoked custom AK-47 joints in Compton with Lil Eazy E; and she’s smoked blunts in Brooklyn with Lil Cease, Nino & T’yanna (daughter of the late great Notorious BIG). Most importantly, she remembers being a young girl in Boston with a dream of moving to Hollywood. Now based in West Hollywood, Haizi has stayed humble & true to her core values. She has tactically built her own brand, and carved out a unique lane that allows her to independently leverage original music & content, to secure partnerships with major brands. 

For more information about Haizi Haze and her upcoming projects, please sign up for updates on and follow her on Instagram @HaiziHaze 

“Indica Sativa” is now available on all major music platforms, including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.

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Cannabeginners: The History of Acapulco Gold

One of High Time’s 25 Greatest Strains of All Time, Acapulco Gold is a legendary cultivar that is so rare these days the gold in the name might as well be a reference to its scarcity, rather than its color. Yet it was once one of the most commonly found cultivars in the hippie days of the 1960s on the West Coast of the U.S., and later was a crucial lifeline to funding the growth of the early punk scene in the 1980s. 

History of Acapulco Gold

As legend has it, Acapulco Gold (also called Mexican sativa) originated high up in the Guerrero Mountains, east of the port city of Acapulco. Not only was this warm, wet, coastal climate ideal for cannabis cultivation, the location on the Pacific coast made it primary territory for Californian surfers searching for big waves and strong bud. It would only be a matter of time before those surfers and others would bring Acapulco Gold back home with them.

According to Royal Queen Seeds, “Acapulco Gold first showed up in the United States back in 1964,” which tracks with the history of Romulan, where Mexican genetics first appeared in the 1960s. If that timeline is accurate, Acapulco Gold would have arrived in San Francisco just in time for the birth of the hippie movement and 1967’s Summer of Love, a perfect time and place to become a cultural icon. Cementing its status as a connoisseur-grade cultivar, Cheech and Chong immortalized Acapulco Gold by featuring it in Up in Smoke and creating a slogan for it, “No sticks no seeds that you don’t need. Acapulco Gold is….Bad Ass Weed.”

Gary Tovar: From Acapulco Gold to Goldenvoice

When you scour the internet for information about Acapulco Gold, while some finer details of stories might be a bit different, they all tend to mention the same man, smuggler and concert promoter, Gary Tovar. Tovar smuggled a variety of goods over the years, but in the late 1960s he began to smuggle cannabis into the U.S., both seeds and bud, which became “California’s largest marijuana operation.” The most notable cultivars that Tovar smuggled were Afghani, Thai Stick, and Acapulco Gold. Eventually, he would earn millions of dollars before being arrested for drug trafficking in 1991, and imprisoned the following year until 1999. 

In 1978, Tovar entered a new phase of his life, with the hippie movement long dead, the counterculture sought a new music to define the era, and Tovar found that in punk rock at a Sex Pistols concert. Three years later, Tovar founded the concert promotion company Goldenvoice (named for a different cannabis cultivar) to bring punk to the masses. The 1980s was a very different time than 2023, and many venues were afraid to host punk shows out of fears of violence; punk also faced law enforcement crackdowns. 

According to a profile on Tovar, “Punk’s lifeline was cash from cannabis, and music provided a way to wash the proceeds from the trade.” By his own estimation, Tovar spent over $4 million promoting punk music and bringing major British bands to the U.S., which all came from his cannabis business. “When I was doing both my things – smuggling and concerts – I considered them crusades,” Tovar said, adding “Now I think we won on both ends. Our music won – you can hear a Ramones song in an elevator – and we won on the marijuana front.” It wasn’t just punk music though, Tovar was an early booster of goth, industrial, and all sorts of alternate music, and he worked with artists including Siouxsie and the Banshees, GBH, Public Image LTD, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Guns N’ Roses, and Jane’s Addiction, just to name a few. Even though Tovar stepped away from Goldenvoice in 1991 when he went to prison, Goldenvoice has thrived and their flagship festival, Coachella, is one of the most well-known music festivals in the world. 

As the history laid out by Royal Queen Seeds says Acapulco Gold came to the U.S. earlier than Tovar was smuggling it, chances are, he may not have been the first person to bring Acapulco Gold to the U.S., but the identity of that person is lost to the ages. The other name mentioned in connection to Gary Tovar is an associate of Tim Leary known as LaRue, who was Tovar’s connection for Afghani seeds, but no sources clearly connect LaRue to Acapulco Gold. 


Flavor/Terpene Profile

True Acapulco Gold is a pure sativa, which makes sense given how close it originated to the equator. As we have discussed, the terms indica and sativa aren’t the most scientifically accurate terms for predicting the effects of a cultivar. That being said, Acapulco Gold is known to be a very energizing cultivar, as one would expect from a sativa. Some sources online have it listed as a hybrid with some indica genetics in the mix, though most refer to it as being a sativa landrace, this discrepancy may be a result of the lack of clarity over what denotes a “pure sativa” cultivar.

The flavor and scent of Acapulco Gold ranges in description from “an intense fruit cocktail flavor,” to “earthy overtones mixed with hints of spice, citrus, and rich toffee/honey-like sweetness.” From my past experience smoking it, nearly a decade ago, it was very fruity, more of a tropical than citrus sweetness, with some spice to balance it out. This makes sense given that its terpene profile tends to be dominated by myrcene (which is found in mangos and would impart a tropical sweetness) and beta-caryophyllene (which would give it that spiciness), there also are notable amounts of limonene (which is responsible for the citrus flavor often noted). 

Is Real Acapulco Gold Actually Gold?

As we discussed in the last section, there is some debate over the exact genetics of Acapulco Gold (how sativa-leaning it is), which could be because it is so rare you have people claiming something is Acapulco Gold when it is not (similar to what some have claimed about Blue Dream). Royal Queen Seeds has this caveat emptor, “Nowadays, many seed banks sell their own version of Acapulco Gold. Some of them can trace the genetics back to Mexican origins, whereas others have slapped the title on unrelated hybrids.” 

One of the most notable characteristics of Acapulco Gold, the source of its namesake, is its color. So does that mean that all Acapulco Gold should be golden in color? According to Tovar, the golden color was from the wind burning the bud yellow, and the older it was by the time it got to the US, the more the color faded to gold. That means the color really was due more to environmental factors and poor storage practices during smuggling than a result of genetics, and perhaps Acapulco Gold grown in a different climate would not be gold.

Do you have an Acapulco Gold story to share or a tip about its origins? Let us know with a comment!

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Ten New Strains To Pair with Classic Albums

What are ten new cannabis strains to pair with some classic albums? Cannabis and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. We do, after all, have cannabinoid receptors in our ears. When pairing cannabis and music, many of us experience a heightened awareness. Some of us become more emotionally connected with music. Others may want to relax, enhance their mood, or increase their focus for a deeper immersion with song lyrics. And so, we’ve compiled ten classic albums that […]

The post Ten New Strains To Pair with Classic Albums appeared first on Cannabis | Weed | Marijuana | News.

The Summer of Busts

Though the Summer of 2023 has been flush with great musical events, from jam band farewells to EDM gatherings, there has also been the unfortunate reality of drug-related police activity resulting in numerous arrests and large amounts of party favors confiscated. 

Much of this article will be centered around one particular locale where some of the drug busts—along with one tragic mass shooting—took place: the idyllic Gorge Amphitheatre in Grant County, Washington, a legendary venue situated on the banks of the Columbia River in the eastern part of the state. 

The Gorge was the site of the most recent music event spoiled by drug arrests: the Bass Canyon Music Festival, a celebration of EDM (electronic dance music), which took place over the weekend of August 18-20. The Grant Co Sheriff’s Department arrested 13 people while confiscating $20,000 worth of goodies, including cocaine, LSD and ketamine, along with cannabis. Even though weed has been legal in Washington for over a decade, it’s still against the law to sell it without a license.    

The Grant Co Sheriff’s Dept. conducted 14 different investigations in total, their heightened response prompted by an earlier shooting on the same concert grounds in June—more on that story to follow. 

In their official statement to the media, the Sheriff’s Dept. seemed to be rationalizing their overzealous operation, by stating that the concert grounds can hold up to 25,000 people, the same population as nearby small towns.  Yet, modern music festivals have always been about those sorts of cramped conditions, and the vast majority go off smoothly without any overbearing police presence being necessary. 

Similar drug raids were also conducted on the East Coast, including at the Elements Festival in Long Pond, situated in Pennsylvania’s Monroe County. A self-described “car camping” electronic music festival that occurred over the weekend of August 11-14, 11 people in all were arrested, charged with selling various substances to festival attendees.  

According to reports, the increased police scrutiny this year was prompted by overdoses at the Elements Fest the previous year, in 2022. Yet once again, the Sheriff’s Dept’s claims raise the issue that the priority should be ensuring people are offered proper medical services, along with taking safe substances in the first place. Because no matter how big or small of a law enforcement presence there actually is, people are going to take drugs at festivals and concerts, because most of the dealers don’t get caught.

It was an actual shooting—not only overdoses—at the Beyond Wonderland EDM Festival held at the Gorge on Saturday, June 17 that made national headlines. Two people were horrifically shot to death, with two others wounded—including the gunman’s own girlfriend, causing permanent injuries to her. The festival’s Sunday schedule was promptly canceled in wake of the mass shooting.  

It’s worth noting that the two murder victims were a same-sex female couple engaged to be married; they were walking together when Kelly shot them to death. A male who tried to help the victims, as well as the suspect’s aforementioned girlfriend, were wounded by gunfire. The accused gunman, 26-year old James Kelly, who was captured on the festival grounds, is an active-duty soldier stationed in Washington state. It has yet to be revealed whether or not the shootings were politically motivated. Kelly has claimed it was a bad “mushroom trip” that caused him to shoot down his fellow concertgoers, which the corporate media were quick to exploit in their coverage of the shooting. As told to police, during one of the concert performances, a tripping Kelly was filled with thoughts of the world coming to an end, and so he rushed back to his tent, where his gun was waiting to be fired indiscriminately.

The Wonderland incident provided all the justification required for an intricately coordinated multi-agency operation to conduct over-the-top drug activity during the popular jam band Dead and Company’s farewell tour stop to the Gorge on July 7 and 8. 

Mutually involved in the Dead & Co. busts were the Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team (INET), Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Moses Lake Police Department Street Crimes Unit, as well as Homeland Security Investigations, meaning the US government was involved as well.  

Various substances with a combined estimated street value of over $200,000 were seized, including over 28,000 grams of weed, dabs and edibles, as well as coke, shrooms, molly and acid. In all, 13 people were arrested on drug felony charges.

Posting on their Facebook page July 12, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office issued an official statement regarding the bust, making no apologies for the arrests and seizures:

“The Gorge Amphitheater encourages law enforcement pro-activity at their concerts which are known to have an illegal drug culture based on the number of overdoses and incidents experienced over the years.”  The statement also referenced the recent EDM festival shooting. 

However, the Sheriff’s Dept failed to address the primary problem of the Wonderland incident, which wasn’t the mushrooms, but the firearm that was illegally brought onto the concert grounds, which as stated in the venue’s official rules, is prohibited. While it’s true that psychedelic mushrooms were prohibited too, that substance cannot be used as a weapon to impulsively kill innocent people. Law enforcement did not provide a statement regarding an apparent plan in place to prevent future gun violence at the Gorge, solely focusing on the drugs.

The arrests and seizures at the Gorge were not the first time during the two-month Dead & Co. summer tour that big busts at one of their gigs made the news. When the band performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (aka SPAC), located in upstate New York, on June 17 and 18, local law enforcement was in full force. So full in fact, that the New York State Park Police reported those two D&C shows were among the busiest they’ve ever experienced in terms of drug busts, as well as some actual, violent crime they had to deal with at the venue. The Park Police seized LSD, cocaine, mushrooms, ketamine, meth, weighing equipment and even black-market “packaging”.  Additionally, 54 tanks of nitrous oxide were seized, along with arresting over 30 individuals, as well as confiscating $33,000 in cold hard cash from one luckless drug dealer. 

Concerts by Phish, the biggest jam band outside of Dead & Co., also experienced unwanted—and perhaps unwarranted—treatment by law enforcement. As reported by Phish fans on Reddit, accompanied by photos that provided visual confirmation of the claim, a circulating memo revealed that a federal/local law enforcement joint endeavor was targeting a pair of Phish shows to be held in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania in late July.   

In a memo shared far and wide on the web, the document carried the heading of “Washington County Sheriff’s Office” with an added note “Internal Dissemination Only.” The subject read: “Joint County Task Enforcement Operation ‘Phish in a Barrel’” with the next line indicating the operation was to be conducted at “Star Lake Amphitheatre July 21-22, 2023”, a concert venue outside of Pittsburgh. 

The memo listed the “chain of command” of the various agencies purported to be involved with this operation in hierarchical order, designated by phonetics: “Ops Alpha” was Dept. of Homeland Security, “Ops Bravo” was Washington Co Sheriff’s and “Ops Charlie” was the notorious Drug Enforcement Administration, just to throw an extra scare into any who believed this printed chicanery.  

The memo designated Highway 22 as the “primary checkpoint”, with Highway 18 as the “secondary” checkpoint in which anti-drug units with colorful nicknames like “Team Wolverine” and “Team Badger” would crack down on any would-be partying Phish fans. Perhaps using a code name based on an actual animal-based Phish song such as “Ocelot” or “Possum” might’ve been too obvious. 

Despite the memo seeming quite intentionally comical in hindsight, this document was strongly believed by the Phish and wider jam band communities for a period of time leading up to those concerts. 

So much so that Washington Co Sheriff Tony Andronas felt obligated to post on his Facebook page that “Phish in a Barrel” was indeed a hoax, and in fact, a similar prank had been played on the Virginia State Police in 2018. In that case, as with this most recent one, none of the perpetrators were identified.

Despite the hoax, it turns out the Washington County Sheriff’s Department still made their presence felt in the most unwelcome way at those Phish shows, as officers were actually on the Star Lake “lawn” (the general admission area behind the seats), as visually documented on social media. This time it was no hoax/prank, as photos posted on Reddit revealed the cops were disturbing and disrupting concertgoers’ good times, writing tickets for those merely smoking weed on the lawn. 

With paranoia over the “Phish in a Barrel” hoax being so widespread, in conjunction with all of the excessive actual busts from coast-to-coast, this demonstrates that law enforcement continues to prioritize drug enforcement over public safety at festivals and concerts—so let the attendee beware.

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‘El Cannabis me Salvó la Vida’: Leroy Rotman Acevedo, el Hijo Prodigio que Adoptó la Marihuana como Inspiración

Nota por Enrique D. Fernández publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

Síguenos en Instagram (@El.Planteo) y Twitter (@ElPlanteo).

Leroy Rotman Acevedo no sabe quedarse quieto. Además de músico, productor y sonidista, es todo un performer. Se lo puede ver compartiendo escenario junto a sus padres, Sergio Rotman y Midnerely Acevedo (mejor conocida por todos como Mimi Maura), o al frente de Cabezas Parlantes, su banda tributo a Talking Heads.

Claro que semejante pasión se remite a sus orígenes. El joven Leroy se crio entre discos, grabaciones y giras, como si su futuro estuviese predestinado a entregarse por completo a la música.

Su vocación por el sonido era inevitable y, con semejantes padres asegurando una paternidad melómana, nada debería sorprendernos.

Contenido relacionado: 72 años de Joey Ramone, el Dios del Punk que Pidió por la Legalización de la Marihuana

Fan confeso de The Clash, nos dice que ya perdió la cuenta de la cantidad de veces que escuchó el disco Combat Rock. “En casa sonaba de todo. Desde rock progresivo hasta reggae. Ya de grande decidí elegir la rama de producción musical. Hoy produzco más de lo que toco. Me gusta mucho el audio”.

Bajo influencia

A la hora de hablar sobre influencias, se eleva naturalmente su relación con la marihuana. A propósito, confiesa que “el cannabis me salvó la vida”.

¿El motivo? Leroy nos remonta a cuando tenía 18 años y se encontraba pasando por una serie de adicciones que no eran de su agrado.

“Durante las noches me la pasaba frente a la computadora y tomaba bastante alcohol. Al otro día me despertaba sintiéndome pésimo. Pero cuando descubrí el cannabis me sacó por completo de ese lugar. El porro y la música fueron mis mejores elecciones”.

Asimismo, asegura que a partir de ese momento comenzó a cuestionarse sus inquietudes y se entregó por completo a la cultura del cannabis. Desde entonces, siempre recurre a sus plantas como escape recreativo entre los ensayos y las sesiones de grabación. Claro que las propiedades medicinales de la planta son otra preocupación.

Contenido relacionado: Cómo Inscribirse en REPROCANN Gratis: Guía Paso a Paso para el Registro

“El REPROCANN es el futuro. Escucho historias de gente con Parkinson, con problemas de ansiedad severos, que no puede dormir. Con el aceite cannábico empiezan a encontrar una medicina natural que les sirve. Cualquier persona que hoy en día está en contra del cannabis es alguien a quien no le gusta mucho la humanidad”.

Mamá y papá saben

La pregunta sobre la relaciónentre sus padres y el porro era inevitable. A ellos, por caso, los define como “experimentados en el tema”.

Por lo que ellos me cuentan yo era bastante anti-marihuana. Se escapaban a fumarse un porro y me quejaba del olor. Les decía que no tenían que tomar drogas. Y mi viejo me decía, ‘bueno, vamos a ver cuando tengas 18 años a ver qué opinas’. Al final tenía razón”.

Sobre el tema en cuestión, el mismísimo Rotman opina: “Personalmente pienso que el cannabis es una planta que el ser humano no debería bajo ningún aspecto regentear. Lo mismo legalizar o no algo que no le compete”.

La marihuana se convirtió en un aliado rutinario para Leroy. En especial durante los meses de encierro a los que fue condenado debido a la pandemia. Ese tiempo que pasó junto a sus padres y la música dio como resultado Causalidades, su debut como solista.

Contenido relacionado: Rita Lee: Cómo la Marihuana y el LSD Influenciaron su Carrera Musical y su Vida Personal

Mimi Maura guarda buenos recuerdos de aquel período: “Él había estudiado sonido, así que tenía armado un miniestudio en la casa y la música fue lo que nos sostuvo. Bailando, cantando y escuchando las canciones que Leroy hacía todos los días. Estuvo con distintas ideas que iba puliendo y armando canciones. Eso nos ayudó a alivianar el encierro”.

Cómo viene la mano

Leroy Rotman fue criado en Puerto Rico, de donde Mimi es oriunda. Habiendo pasado buena parte de su juventud allí, el músico cuenta cómo es la situación del cannabis en la sociedad.

En Puerta Rico, la cultura absorbió rápidamente el uso del cannabis. Todos fuman y es completamente legal. Tenés dispensarios y abuelas que comen los ositos de CBD”.

En Argentina, la ley te impulsa a que vos puedas tener tu propia planta. Eso me parece buenísimo. Se están llevando bien los derechos acá”.

Contenido relacionado: EXCLUSIVA: Descubre la Principal Empresa de Cannabis en Puerto Rico, que Ya se Posiciona como Actor Regional

Y sigue: “Todavía veo que cada tanto agarran a pibes teniendo REPROCANN. Eso es algo que con el tiempo y más información va a ir mejorando. Lo estamos transitando. Argentina sigue siendo el país más avanzado culturalmente en cuanto al cannabis de los que conozco”.

Estamos transitando un año de elecciones, ¿cómo ves el panorama en ese sentido?

Hay que ver a quién tenemos ahí arriba. Alguien que se ponga de nuestro lado y nos proteja. Porque así como nos dan este derecho, en el futuro también nos lo pueden sacar. Como tantas otras leyes que en el último tiempo fueron verdes y populares, hay que recordar que todo es una decisión política.

Más contenido de El Planteo:

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Las Venas Abiertas de G5, Promesa del Rap Argentino: ‘El Freestyle y el Cannabis se Llevan de Lujo’

Nota por Hernán Panessi publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

Síguenos en Instagram (@El.Planteo) y Twitter (@ElPlanteo).

Como en Boyhood, aquella maravillosa y sentimental película de Richard Linklater, seguir el underground del freestyle fue, también, acompañar los pequeños grandes pasos de Gabriel Espino, alias G5. Verlo estirar, crecer, madurar, evolucionar como un Pokémon de carne y hueso y volverse, digamos, un hombrecito.

Fue, como tantos pibitos que arrancaron desde temprano, “El Guachín”. Hoy, para qué mentir, es de lo mejor que leudó la escena de Buenos Aires. Y así pasaron los días, fueron sucediéndose las compes. G5 arrancó a rapear de nene, en el 2016, y ahora, ya, en este preciso instante del 2023, tiene 18 años. Sí, obvio, sigue siendo un purrete, pero hagan las cuentas ustedes con qué edad empezó a tirar rimas.

Contenido relacionado: Las Confesiones de Stuart: Música Melódica, FMS, Cannabis y Freestyle

Gabriel, de rostro bueno y carácter afable, nació en el Hospital Italiano, en la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires y desde chico se interesó por la música, la poesía y la capoeira. A los 7 años se cebó con el rap: Porta, Violadores del Verso, Eminem y Kase.O fue su combo formativo, el rat pack rapero que ungió a varias generaciones.

Los primeros pasos de G5

“Mi primer recuerdo con el freestyle es de 2014, la primera vez que fui a El Quinto Escalón”, cuenta G5 a El Planteo. “No, miento”, se frena, “mi primer recuerdo con el freestyle es de antes, de 2011 o 2012, cuando fui a la Aramburu Freestyle, en la Plaza Aramburu, la plaza de mi barrio en la que yo iba a jugar a la pelota todos los días”.

Foto por @zurdoph

En algún momento, G5 se topó con una ronda de freestyle en la que estaban pesos pesados como Duki, MKS, Wolf y Midel, raperos que para ese momento ya estaban pegándose y su cabeza, literalmente, explotó.

Contenido relacionado: Entrevista Exclusiva a Duki: ‘Me Regalan Porro para Vérmelo Fumar’

Así, tiempo después, arrancó a competir en el año 2016 cuando se anotó en la 55 Freestyle, en un 2 vs. 2 junto a su mejor amigo del barrio. “Competimos contra dos pibes del norte que rapeaban una banda y, obviamente, nos comimos una paliza”, recuerda.

¿Su última batalla? “El domingo pasado, en Cultura Rap, en el Centro Cultural Recoleta, contra Nasir Catriel”.

Un punto de vista

Poco a poco, a fuerza de presentarse en todas las plazas del país, G5 fue forjando un estilo personal, reflexivo, picante pero también muy pero muy mental.

Rápidamente, al escucharlo, se advierte una formación que se eleva por encima del berretín callejero, de las estructuras básicas y de cierto randomnismo normie: ahí, en su verba, hay libros, hay cine, hay política, hay un vocabulario ancho y hay, fundamentalmente, una mirada de las cosas. Un punto de vista.

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Ganó Halabalusa, se llevó tres fechas de la DEM, coronó en el torneo anual de la DEM Battles, arrasó en la Titanes de la Costa. “Me cuesta recordar más”, dice G5 sin falsa humildad.

“No soy el mejor en esto ni tampoco tengo un torneo así como súper picante en el que haya salido campeón”.

Asimismo, participó de la Chiclayo Rapea Internacional de Equipos junto al Lobo Estepario, en esa recordada final contra Cacha y Zaina. Después estuvo en la The Fucking King Internacional de 2021 y viajó hasta España para medirse contra Fabiuki en una batalla de exhibición para la FMS Internacional.

Lo mejor y lo peor del freestyle

Suma kilómetros, se presenta, compite y, en su raid desenfrenado, fue juntando un tendal de puntos que lo puso en una situación vertiginosa: tuvo la chance de ascender a la FMS Argentina, una de las ligas de improvisación más importantes del mundo. Sin embargo, allí, en un mano a mano, cayó contra el miramarense Jesse Pungaz y, lamentablemente, el ascenso quedó para otro momento.

“Quiero seguir compitiendo y manteniéndome activo en el circuito underground y profesional. Quiero seguir mejorando y evolucionando para ser cada día un poco más completo y un poco mejor”, asegura.

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Lo que más disfruta G5 del freestyle es, justamente, enfrentarse a otras mentes, discutir, debatir. Ese Street Fighter mental que convierte a la disciplina en un imán de pibes y pibas.

G5 freestyle argentina
Foto por @yerayherrerophoto

Me tomo a las batallas de freestyle como una discusión rimada. Entonces, no sólo tenés que ganar una discusión, sino que aparte la tenés que ganar rimando, que tiene como otra complejidad. Es como un debate pero con un valor agregado”, revuelve el joven.

¿Hay algo que no le guste de las batallas? “Sí, que es como una constante lucha por la supervivencia en la que, si perdés, quedás afuera de la batalla. Como que morís. Y, si ganás, pasás de ronda y seguís en la cancha. Como que seguís vivo. Así, hasta que queda el último contendiente, que es el que gana. Uno se sobrecarga progresivamente de tanto hacerlo”.

Cannabis y rimas

En el cosmos del freestyle, el cannabis pulula desde antes de antes. Y en el caso de G5, fueron sus amigos quienes fueron integrándolo en el churro. De hecho, hace muy poco, G5 empezó a cultivar y día a día se esfuerza en convertirse en un conocedor en la materia.

Pero su compromiso cannábico no sólo termina quemando uno y cultivando para los suyos, sino que profundizó su activismo y organiza la CanaFree, una competencia de freestyle de espíritu 420.

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“Estamos proyectando que pueda volver para agosto o septiembre. Va a volver a pasos agigantados, con una mayor producción y mayor calidad para que todos los presentes la pasen bárbaro y se lleven una hermosa experiencia”, desliza.

Y sigue, a propósito de la relación entre las rimas y la marihuana: “El freestyle y el cannabis se llevan de lujo. Siempre estuvieron unidos y lo están desde hace muchísimo tiempo. Por suerte, en Argentina es un fenómeno social ya bastante integrado, con bastante aceptación social. Al menos desde mi experiencia, siempre fueron dos cosas que vi muy implícitamente en el mismo lugar”.

Paso a paso

Por estos días, G5 sueña con vivir de la música, pero antes tiene un objetivo entre ceja y ceja: ganar la Nacional de la Red Bull: Batalla de los Gallos, la madre de todas las batallas.

¿Y el ascenso a la FMS? “No tengo pensado seguir peleando el ascenso. O sea, en realidad nunca estuve como en la lucha del ascenso, pero sí en el intento de ascender”.

Lo que viene, entonces, lo tendrá al joven pateando plazas, presentándose a compes, formando parte activamente del circuito. “Quiero seguir destacando entre los pibes pero, por ahora, pelear el ascenso todo el año no es una prioridad”, cierra.

Foto de portada por Irish Suárez

Más contenido de El Planteo:

  • NTC: Freestyle, Feminismo y Faso… Sin Complicaciones
  • 0800 Don Rouch: Hablamos con el Joyero del Trap Argentino
  • Sofía Gabanna: ‘El Rap Es una Forma de Vida, No Es una Moda’

The post Las Venas Abiertas de G5, Promesa del Rap Argentino: ‘El Freestyle y el Cannabis se Llevan de Lujo’ appeared first on High Times.