Here are the five genres fundamentally transformed by weed.
Music has been a companion of human societies since prehistoric times. The national musical traditions and genres reflect the community’s underlying values and philosophy, and one can tell much about a person by analyzing their music preferences.
Weed has also accompanied social development for centuries and produced a strong cultural effect on many. Thus, a closer look at the musical evolution has some place for weed in that discussion. Here is an overview of music genres closely associated with weed and changed by it.
Why Talk About Weed and Music Together?
As you can see, many famous musicians and even musical traditions have had intimate relationships with weed as a source of inspiration and creativity. Even modern musicians use weed as a creativity booster and a window to broader awareness. For instance, the Forbidden Fruit strain is often used to incite creativity and cause a relaxed state of mind conducive to creative activity. Thus, weed has a firm place in the music industry as a creative aid and a relaxing substance, helping great musicians please their fans with new hits.
It would be wrong to start our review with something other than country music. Country has been firmly associated with beer, whisky, and weed for decades. The most famous advocate of weed in country music was Willie Nelson. His songs inspired many later musicians as well, with Toby Keith writing a tribute to Nelson’s contribution to weed promotion – Weed for Willie. It’s also noteworthy that weed use and advocacy in country are gender-neutral; a famous female singer Ashley Monroe also has a song Weed Instead of Roses to confess to her love for marijuana.
Hip-hop and weed have been going hand in hand for many years, and many hip-hop performers are still firmly associated with weed smoking or cannabis businesses. Notably, hip-hop has long been a favorite music genre of gangs and drug dealers. Thus, even today, amid legalization, hip-hop artists are firmly related to the weed industry. Some notable examples are Snoop Dog, Lil’ Wayne, and Wiz Khalifa, each having a wide range of weed businesses, from weed-growing farms to mobile games. You’ll also recognize the images of weed in the songs of OutKast (“Crumblin’ Erb”), 50 Cent (“High All the Time”), and The Pharcyde (“Pack the Pipe”).
Jazz was a synonym for weed at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Unfortunately, jazz musicians’ love for weed was misused by the U.S. authorities unleashing a war against cannabis in those years. Thus, a jazz musician’s image was often linked to the ills of drug abuse, and black-skinned jazz players faced double discrimination as African Americans and drug addicts.
However, leaving this dark page of U.S. history aside, one can see rich weed heritage in jazz music. For instance, a world-famous song by Louis Armstrong called “Muggles” is a tribute to his passion for weed. Other famous weed songs include Fats Waller’s “If You’re a Viper” song released in 1943, right after the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ ban on marijuana, and the “Tanga” song by Machito and his orchestra – the first Latin Jazz song released in 1943.
Though all the ills of weed proliferation in society are associated with black musicians (hip hop and jazz), it’s pretty far from the truth. In fact, many white-skinned musicians spread the word about weed in their songs and expanded weed use among whites throughout the 20th century. Bob Dylan was the first white musician to speak openly about his love for weed; he familiarized The Beatles with cannabis, letting this iconic band make weed and psychedelics a part of the mid-century counterculture. The Beatles’ song “Got to Get You in My Life” is a love confession to weed, and many other electronic music artists of the 1960s and 1970s followed the lead to sing about weed and advocate its use to their fans.
Rock music is another music genre deeply affected by weed. Rock is one of the oldest music genres that remains popular even in the 21st century. One of the first weed proponents in rock was Brian Wilson – a member of The Beach Boys band. Jimi Hendrix, a rock star of the 20th century, liked to get stoned during music composition and performances.
You won’t be wrong by finding the weed imagery in rock songs of Black Sabbath (e.g., “Sweet Leaf” released in 1971), Paul McCartney and Wings (e.g., “Hi, Hi, Hi”), and Steve Miller Band (e.g., “The Joker”). Aerosmith also had some weed songs in their repertoire (e.g., “Reefer Head Woman”), and The Doors’ “Light My Fire” is nothing else but a tribute to weed. So, cannabis has a strong presence in the rock tradition as well, with many songs revealing the musicians’ reliance on weed as their muse and hobby.