The Short List
TRAD La Cucaracha
"La cucaracha ya no puede caminar, porque no tiene marihuana por fumar" = "The cockroach can't walk anymore, because he doesn't have any marihuana to smoke".
1929 Muggles (Instrumental) - Louis Armstrong
Recorded with pianist Earl 'Fatha' Hines in Chicago on December 7, 1928, Satchmo's best known reefer tune is a warm, lilting blues instrumental that passes the melody round like a joint. The piano lights it up with a flame-like ripple, the trombone tokes, hands it to the clarinet, and then to Pops trumpet. There's a pause and Satch hits an upward gliss as the herb kicks in. The tempo takes off and Pops wails. RealAudio @ redhotjazz.com
1932 Reefer Man - Cab Calloway & his Orchestra
The first known song in praise of a pot dealer, a theme Cab further explored in The Man From Harlem (q.v.). Also covered by Don Redman & his Orchestra - as heard on Reefer Songs - and by Baron Lee & the Blue Rhythm Band, which version appears on Viper Mad Blues. Lyric. Download mp3 of Don Redman.
1936 You'se a Viper - Stuff Smith & his Onyx Club Boys
"Dreamt about a reefer / Five feet long / Mighty Mezz, but not too strong / You'll be high, but not for long / If youse a viper..." Originally recorded by the King of the Swing violin, Stuff Smith, as featured on Viper Mad Blues, the version included on Reefer Songs is by Bob Howard and His Boys, from 1938. Fats Waller recorded a version he called The Reefer Song in 1943 (qv). Most recently, Wayne Kramer of the MC5 gives it loads on NORML's Hempilation 2: Free The Weed. Lyric. Download mp3 of Bob Howard.
1938 Viper Mad - Sidney Bechet with Noble Sissle's Swingsters
The New Orleans legend who introduced the soprano saxophone as a jazz instrument in the 1920s, Sidney Bechet roped in Sissle's vipers to sing: "Wrap your chops 'round this stick of tea / Blow this gage and get high with me / Good tea is my weakness, I know it's bad / It sends me gate and I can't wait, I'm viper mad." It's included on Reefer Songs and features on the soundtrack to Woody Allen's movie, Sweet & Lowdown. Download mp3.
1938 Reefer Head Woman - Jazz Gillum & his Jazz Boys
Featuring Big Bill Broonzy on guitar and Washboard Sam on - er - washboard: "I got a Reefer Headed Woman / She fell right down from the sky (good Lord) / I got a Reefer Headed Woman / She fell right down from the sky... Lord, I gots to drink me two fifths of whiskey / Just to get half as high." The original's included on Viper Mad Blues; Aerosmith performed a version on their 1979 album, Night In The Ruts. Lyric.
1965 Mary Jane - Janis Joplin
Written by Janis and recorded in sessions held between January and April with the Dick Oxtot Oakland Athletics Jazz Band, this early song appears on the soundtrack to the film, Janis: "Now when I go to work, I work all day / Always turns out the same / When I bring home my hard-earned pay / I spend my money all on Mary Jane / Mary Jane, Mary Jane, Lord, my Mary Jane." Sigh. Lyric.
April, 1966 Rainy Day Women#12 & 35 - Bob Dylan
The opening track from Blonde On Blonde was an instant success when released as a single in the US, despite or because of being banned from the radio, reaching no 2 in May '66. The lyric reefers (sic) to marijuana, but the song is about persecution and its message straightforward: "I would not feel so alone / Everybody must get stoned". Covered by A Subtle Plague on Marijuana's Greatest Hits Revisited (Re-Hash Records, 1992) and by the Black Crowes on the first NORML Hempilation, in recent years the Zimmerman himself has taken to closing his set with 'Women which, his Bobness is quoted as saying in Absolutely Dylan (1991), 'happens to deal with a minority of cripples and orientals and the whole world in which we live'.
August 1966 Got to Get You Into My Life - The Beatles
Recorded in April, 1966, for inclusion on Revolver, Paul McCartney has described this Motown pastiche as "an ode to pot", albeit one disguised as a regular love song. Released as a single in the States in 1976, it reached #7 on Billboard chart and has been covered by artists including Johnny Halliday (Je Veux Te Graver Dans), The Four Tops on their 1969 album, Soul Spin and, in 1978, by Earth Wind & Fire in the Beatles movie tribute, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
April, 1967 Bass Strings - Country Joe & The Fish
The archetypal hippy ballad: "Hey partner, won't you pass that reefer round / My world is spinnin', yeah, just got to slow it down / Oh, yes you know I've sure got to slow it down / Get so high this time that you know I'll never come down / I'll never come down." Ominously, it was recorded on 6.6.66 and released the following Spring on an EP of three songs as Country Joe & the Fish, but is better known in its more amped-up, psychedelic version from the first CJFish LP, Electric Music for the Mind and Body (Vanguard VSD 79244). Lyric.
1967 Baby, You're a Rich Man - The Beatles
Recorded in just six hours on May 17, 1967, at Olympic Sound Studios in London, with Ringo's introductory drum roll added six weeks later, prior to the song's initial release as the flip side to that Summer's anthem, All You Need Is Love, this deceptively simple song is notable as one of Lennon & McCartney's last genuinely collaborative song-writing efforts and because it spontaneously captures the spirit of the times in lyrics which, taken out of context, seem practically meaningless: "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? / Tuned to a natural E / Happy to be that way / Now that you've found another key / What are you going to play?". The song features on The Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. Lyric & RealAudio @ The Beatles Music.
1968 I Like Marijuana - David Peel & the Lower East Side
"First I sang about smoking bananas," says Peel. "That was a craze like the hula hoop. Then I started singing about marijuana. That was more permanent." Peel's contemporaneous pot-related song titles include, Legalize Marijuana, I've Got Some Grass, I Want To Get High, and Show Me The Way To Get Stoned. I like Marihuana was a highlight of his first Elektra album, Have a Marijuana, and was re-recorded with a band called the 360's in 1995 for the second NORML Hempilation.
1968 Don't Step on the Grass, Sam - Steppenwolf
Written by John Kay for Steppenwolf's second Dunhill album, The Second, from the point of view of a guy watching a TV debate about marijuana, this song accuses self-righteous politicians - such as Sam - of "telling lies so long, some believe they're true." To Sam, grass is "evil, wicked, mean and nasty." The chorus responds, "Don't be such an ass, Sam." One of the highlights of the NORML Hempilation is a version cooked by Govt. Mule, the jammin' band led by guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody of the Allman Bros. Lyric.
1969 Don't Bogart Me - Fraternity of Man
Written by Elliot Ingber and performed by his group, Fraternity of Man, on the soundtrack to Easy Rider, this song became better known as Don't Bogart That Joint, a rousing live favourite at Little Feat shows through the Seventies: "Roll another one / Just like the other one / This one's burnt to the end / Come on and be a friend...etc." It was originally included on the live double album, Waiting For Columbus in 1978, but there wasn't enough space to fit it on the CD reissue, so Warner Bros tacked it on to the end of the The Last Record Album CD from 1975 along with another 'bonus' live track, Apolitical Blues. Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise perform a version on Hempilation 2.
1969 Indian Rope Man (African Herbsman) - Ritchie Havens
A track from his double album, Richard P. Havens 1983 that came out in the same year as Woodstock, where Havens' career received a tremendous fillip, Indian Rope Man was also released on a single in the US by Verve, on the flip side of a version of Strawberry Fields Forever. However, the song achieved immortality in 1970 when reworked by Lee 'Scratch' Perry and recorded by Bob Marley & The Wailers as African Herbsman, in which version it's also been covered by Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers on their 1993 album, Joy and Blues. Lyric to African Herbsman.
1969 I Want To Take You Higher - Sly & The Family Stone
Written by Sylvester Stewart in 1968 for his fourth Epic album, Stand!, the most memorable performance of this song is preserved on the Woodstock movie and soundtrack album. It charted twice in the US, reaching #60 as the B-side of Stand! in 1969 and #38 when released as a single in its own right in June the following year. It's given a typically jammed-out treatment by Bobby Sheehan's Blues Traveller on the first NORML Hempilation.
1971 Kaya - Bob Marley & The Wailers
Among the fruits of the legendary Soul Rebel sessions that were to direct the future course of reggae, this is the first song about the herb to be recorded by either the Wailers' or Lee 'Scratch' Perry. A Jamaican hit in '71, it first appeared in the UK on the Trojan album, African Herbsman, (q.v.) in 1973, and subsequently on innumerable poor quality compilations. Controversy over Lee Perry's right to sell the songs from this period has been as intense as speculation over their authorship, but in People Funny Boy (by David Katz, Payback Press, 2000, ISBN: 0862418542) Scratch's younger brother, Milton, tells how the song was written during a visit to the home of the producer's mother, Miss Ina, in Hanover: "My bigger brother, Sonny, the Rasta one, he always keep a long locks. They was smoking herbs in the house, herbs run out and they get some money to buy some herbs and the rain set up to fall at the same time, so they tell him he must ride a bicycle to go and buy the herb. The rain was falling and they said he must go and buy the herb before the rain fall and so the lyrics come up. They said they want kaya because the rain is falling and then now they start to rehearse it the same place, because Bob have him guitar. I would say it's between Scratch and Bob came up with lyrics, but I remember as a little youth, by saying the word to my bigger brother, he just come up with the idea, put it in lyrics, and they just start from right there." Scratch obsessives must check the Skank version included on what many regard as the first ever dub album, Blackboard Jungle Dub in 1973; Marley fans may know the song, Turn Me Loose, that Bob cut on the Kaya rhythm. Of course, Bob Marley also recycled Kaya as the title track of his 1978 album.
1971 Sweet Leaf - Black Sabbath
A paean to pot written by Tony Iommi, Bill Ward, Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler and performed by the Sabs on their third Warner Bros. album, Masters of Reality: "Straight people don't know what you're about / They put you down and shut you out / You gave me a new belief / And soon the world will love you, sweet leaf". Every other metal band across America covers this song, but Sacred Reich, out of Phoenix, got to cut their version for inclusion on the NORML Hempilation
1972 30 Days In The Hole - Humble Pie
Stevie Marriott was busted for smoking a joint on a park bench in 1971, the year of Rockin' The Fillmore, after which Peter Frampton quit the band and Dave 'Clem' Clempson joined for the Smokin' album, from which this was a hit single: "Chicago Green, talkin' 'bout Black Lebanese / A dirty room and a silver coke spoon / Give me my release, come on / Black Nepalese, it's got you weak in your knees..." Warren Haynes' power trio, Gov't Mule, were joined by Ex-Black Crowes guitarist Marc Ford for a version that appears on the NORML/High Times Hempilation 2. Lyric
1972 I Got Stoned & I Missed It - Shel Silverstein
This raucous singalong from Shel's classic album, Freakin' At The Freakers' Ball became a hit for Dr Hook, from their 1975 album, Bankrupt and, apparently, also for Jim 'Spiders & Snakes' Stafford. Lyric. RealAudio @ Morgo's Media Menu.
1973 Catch A Fire (LP) - Bob Marley & The Wailers
The Wailers first Island LP, somewhat sanitised for international audiences, introduced reggae music to a global audience. If the lyrics to tunes like Stir It Up and Kinky Reggae don't refer explicitly to marijuana, their groove is implicitly informed by the herb and, if that isn't obvious to the casual listener, the point is made graphically clear on the cover, where Bob is pictured blazing a huge spliff. A remastered deluxe 2-CD set that includes the original Jamaican version of the album has recently been released.
1973 The Joker - Steve Miller Band
Miller's entire Band had been busted and deported from England while recording their first album for The Beatles' label, Apple, in 1968. Five years later, the title track to The Joker album cast the singer in the role of a laid-back player, a 'space cowboy', a 'gangster of love': "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker", croons Steve, "I sure don't want to hurt no one..." It's covered by Spearhead, with Michael Franti in fine form as the amoral lover man, on Hempilation 2.
1973 Too High - Stevie Wonder
The first track on Innervisions (Motown): "She's a girl in a dream / She sees a four-eyed cartoon monster / On the TV screen / She takes another puff and says / It's a crazy scene' / That red is green / And she's a tangerine." Far out!
July 1974 I Shot the Sheriff - Eric Clapton
Slowhand's version, a hit single from his 461 Ocean Boulevard album, introduced Bob Marley's music to a worldwide audience, though not all may have fully understood the tale, told by a marijuana grower hunted by a fanatical law enforcement officer: "Sheriff John Brown always hate I / For what, I never know. / Everytime I plant a seed / He say, kill it before it grow. / He said, kill them before they grow." Lyric.
1975 Roll Another Number (For The Road) - Neil Young
From Tonight's The Night: "I think I'll roll another number for the road / I feel able to get under any load / Though my feet aren't on the ground / I've been standing on the sound / Of some open-hearted people going down." Lyric.
1975 Chalice In The Palace - U Roy
Ewart Beckford pioneered the modern DJ style in Jamaica in the late 60s, toasting on King Tubby's system, and remains an inimitable practitioner. On this gem, produced by 'Prince' Tony Robinson, riding the Mighty Diamonds' Queen Majesty rhythm, U-Roy fantasises about sharing the pipe of peace with Her Royal Highness and reasoning over the problems of the people in the ghetto. Released by Virgin in the UK on the flip side of another classic, Runaway Girl, and on the mighty Dread Inna Babylon set, it's included on the Big Blunts compilation (Tommy Boy, 1994) and in a live version on Natty Rebel - Extra Version (Virgin CDFL 9017; 1991). Weed conscious rapper, Canibus, performed a hip hop version, Buckingham Palace, on his 1998 debut album, Can-I-Bus.
1975 Expensive Shit - Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa 70
Fela's true genius has been reassessed in the short years since his death in '97, via various compilations; MCA re-issues of Fela's old albums on CD; and the imminent Red Hot + Riot AIDS tribute album. Worth seeking out is the Masters At Work Tribute to Fela from '99, for which Vega'n'Gonzalez brought in the Latin percussion legend, Luisito Quintero, to let rip on their version of 'Shit, which was inspired by an incident in which the Nigerian authorities failed to catch Fela in possession of cannabis because he swallowed the joint. So the goons collected Fela's faeces and had it tested for cannabis residues... No shit!
1976 Legalize It - Peter Tosh
The title track of the Bushdoctor's first solo album on Columbia, this song has become a rallying cry for the pro-pot movement: "Legalize it, don't criticize it / Legalize it, and I'll advertise it." Tosh, who was gunned down in Jamaica on September 19, 1987, explained: "Only de small man go to bloodclot jail for herb. Man must get herb cause man keep de earth runnin' till today." It's been widely covered, notably by UB40 on Labour of Love 3 in 1998; Rasta Surf Punks, Sublime, who own first album was 40 Ounces to Freedom on Skunk Records, gave Legalize It the dub treatment on the NORML Hempilation. Lyric.
1977 Homegrown - Neil Young
An agricultural anthem, performed by Crazy Horse around the same time as Roll Another Number but not recorded until the ninth Reprise album, American Stars 'n' Bars: "Homegrown is all right with me / Homegrown is the way it should be / Homegrown is a good thing / Plant that bell and let it ring." Gus, a left-handed songwriter who believes that "hemp is a very powerful plant," provided a fair rendition for the NORML Hempilation.
1980 Sinsemilla - Black Uhuru
The vocal trio of Duckie Simpson, Mykal Rose and Sandra 'Puma' Jones were the first reggae group to win a Grammy and a powerful live draw (sic) in their day, backed by Sly 'n' Robbie, who produced the classic album of which this is the title track: "I've got a stalk of sinsemilla growing in my back yard..."
1981 Mary Jane - Rick James
The perpetrator of Bustin' Out, perhaps best remembered for the hook to Superfreak - sampled by 80s one-hit-wonder, MC Hammer, on You Can't Touch This, - Rick not only wrote this love song to pot, but also launched The Mary Jane Girls, whose eponymous album on Motown (1983) is remarkable primarily for its novelty or kitsch value. The Medusa-headed rapper, Coolio, performed a version, I'm In Love With Mary Jane on the soundtrack to the cultish 1998 stoner movie, Half Baked. The original MJ is collected along with the sometime Superfreak's other greatest hits on Bustin' Out (Island, 1994).
1981 One Draw - Rita Marley
A Bob Marley song from Rita's album, Who Feels It Knows It (Shanachie, 1980), One Draw was released as a single after Bob's funeral, where his wife symbolically placed a stalk of sensimilla in the coffin. Cleary indicating an end to the mourning, this infectious pro-ganja delight was banned in Jamaica on release, but made musical history as the first reggae single to top the Billboard Disco Charts. The chorus inspired and was sampled by Cyprus Hill for I Wanna Get High (q.v.). A version of the original features on the Legalize De Erb compilation.
1981 Pass the Kouchie - The Mighty Diamonds
Donald 'Tabby' Shaw, Fitzroy 'Bunny' Simpson, and Lloyd 'Judge' Ferguson enjoyed a Jamaican hit with this sublime version of the classic Studio One rhythm, Full Up, produced by Gussie Clarke, which appeared on their Indestructible album in '82. One hit teen wonders, Musical Youth, famously covered the song the following year, but changed the title to 'Dutchie', which makes no sense at all since a Dutch oven cannot easily be passed from the left hand side, unlike a ceremonious pipe, chalice, or 'Kouchie' (or 'Kutchie', as in Lee Perry's Kutchie Skank; or 'Cutchie' as in Dillinger's Bring The Cutchie Come; or indeed, 'Couchie', as in the song of that name by Triston Palma). The original is included on Big Blunts Vol.1 (Tommy Boy, 1994).
1985 (Under Mi) Sleng Teng - Wayne Smith
Widely credited with kick-starting the digital revolution in Jamaican studios, the Sleng Teng rhythm was built by King Jammy upon a pre-programmed Casio backbeat and spawned numerous versions. The original lyrics are more concerned with that other hardy perennial, sex, than with weed, although the 'sensi' from Westmoreland is promoted as the ultimate aphrodisiac. The tune is the centre piece of Big Blunts (Tommy Boy, 1994), which also includes a funk/hip-hop remix by DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill, and appears on a UK compilation, Legalise De 'Erb (Kickin Records, 1997).
1985 Under Mi Sensi - Barrington Levy
Paul Love, aka Jah Screw, had been the selector for U-Roy's sound-system before teaming up with deejay Ranking Joe to make records. For their first production, they recruitied broader-than-Broadway Barrington Levy to yodel over this wicked tune, castigating official hypocrisy over the weed trade: "Babylon, you na like ganja man / But we bring the foreign currency 'pon the island." An enduring anthem, it appears on numerous collections, including Tommy Boy's Big Blunts and in a re-recording with the Long Beach Dub All-Stars (formerly known as Sublime) on Hempilation 2. There's also a 'triple bass' mix featuring Rebel MC in his emerging junglist persona, from 1992, and Beenie Man's Jungle Dub X Project Remix, a UK club hit in 1994 that features on Big Blunts Vol.2 (Tommy Boy, 1996). RealAudio Sample @ www.turntablelab.com
1986 Herbsman Hustling - Sugar Minott
A version of Don Drummond's Heavenless rhythm reworked by Sly and Robbie, over which Sugar sings this paean to nickel and dime street salesmen in his classic roots style. Although it's the humble herbsman who risks his risking his neck to make his daily living, all levels of Jamaican society are implicated in the ganja trade: "Wrap up a draw for the lawyer / Wrap up a draw fe' commissioner..." A Jamaican hit on the Black Roots label, it features on Sugar's RAS Portraits album (RAS 3319), appears on Sly & Robbies' Taxi collection (1986) and is included on Big Blunts Vol.1 (Tommy Boy, 1994).
1989 Cheeba Cheeba - Tone Loc
The rasping rapper first had a hit with a re-make of Wild Thing and this proto-typical pot head rap - a highlight of his debut album, Loc'ed After Dark - quotes Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba by the Harlem Underground Band feat. George Benson: "...it seems a lot of times I'm at my best / After some methical or a bowl of sens. / I'm creatin', multiplyin', big time supplyin' / Enuff bud to keep tha whole party high on / I might get ill and roll an 8th in one hooter / Park my Benz, or cold jet it on my scooter..." It's included on Phat Blunts: Rap Unda Tha Influence (Priority, 1996). Lyric.
1989 Paul's Boutique (LP) - The Beastie Boys
The beer-swilling brats of Fight For Your Right To Party switched to cheeba for their massively influential second album, produced by the Dust Bros. The entire record is littered with mad rhymes and weed references and we all have our favourites. Mine include: "Space cake cookies, I discover who I am / I'm a dusted old bummy Hurdy Gurdy Man" (Car Thief); "I smoke cheeba, it helps me with my brain / I might be a little dusted, but I'm not insane" (3 Minute Rule) and "I'm so high that they call me Your Highness / If you don't know me then pardon my shyness." (Mike On The Mic.) Lyrics.
1990 Green Day - Green Day
According to the Green Day Online FAQ, the phrase 'green day' is Bay-area slang for a day with lots of green bud where you just sit around taking bong hits and hanging out. Billie Joe wrote the song Green Day about his first pot experience and his punk rock group changed its name from Sweet Children to Green Day in 1990, recording the song on their debut album, 39/Smooth, which has been re-released as 1,039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours. Lyric.
1991 The Herb - Tony Rebel
Leading the lyrical reaction to the slackness in Jamaican dancehall music and one of the most popular deejays in JA today, Patrick George Anthony Barrett, aka Tony Rebel, here produced by Donovan Germain, delivers one of the most erudite pro-ganja raps of recent times: "And this is something, me a come here to tell everyone / Good sinsemilla, it used to run this land (land) / But since the other day, them a deal with substitution (shun) / Now the crop called cocaine bring pure destruction (shun) / That's why this morning, me get up and me write three letter / Come, me a seh, one addressed to the Prime Minister / Me say, the next one addressed to the Security Minister/ Me never done the one to the Commissioner/ Because them, them're hypocrites and counfounder / 'Cause how the hell them a going to fight against sinsemilla ? / And it put a poor people plot 'pon fire / Now, we used to plant it enough in Jamaica / And they burn it down with 'nuff police and soldier / And them import the coke fe mash up we future/ But, you see the Herb / It just me brain it preserve / You see, the Herb / It make I-man observe / You see, the Herb / It just a-strengthen me nerve..." A Jamaican hit for Penthouse Records, it's included on Big Blunts Vol.1 (Tommy Boy, 1994).
1992 California Über Alles - Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy
The Dead Kennedy's punk classic updated by Michael Franti on a key track from Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury: "Now its 1992 / Knock knock at your front door, hey guess who? / Its the suede demin secret police / They've come to your house for your long haired niece / Gonna take her off to a camp / 'Cause she's been accused of growing hemp."
June, 1992 The Chronic (LP) - Dr Dre
Lyrical references to chronic - another generic name for skunk weed - are pretty much confined to the between song skits (such as The $20 Sack Pyramid; a game show in which the prize is a bag of pot) that's but one innovative feature of this hip hop landmark. If the subject matter of The Chronic covers much the same violent territory as charted by NWA, at least Dre found some exciting new voices to verbalise it, Snoop Doggy Dogg first among them. The real revelation, however, is in the grooves. Dre's 'G-Funk' blends jazz, funk and soul elements into its hip hop stew, sampling Donny Hathaway, Isaac Hayes, but most of all, Parliament. The Roach is the end of the album and, like it says to the tune of "make my funk the P-Funk": "Make my butt the chronic / I wants to get fucked up".
1992 How To Roll A Blunt - Red Man
Someone had to explain and Redman, a.k.a. Reggie Noble, out of Newark, New Jersey, was happy to oblige on this rhyme from Whut? Thee Album: "Lick the blunt and then the Philly blunt middle you split / Don't have a razor blade, use ya fuckin fingertips / Crack the bag and then you pour the whole bag in / Spread the ism around until the ism reach each end / Take your finger and your thumb from tip to tip / Roll it in a motion then the top piece you lick / Seal it, dry it wit ya lighter if ya gotta / The results, mmmmmmmm....proper." The song also features on The Best Of Redman (1995) with the otherwise unreleased I'm Getting Blunted. Lyric.
1993 Black Sunday (LP) - Cypress Hill
The Hill's masterpiece and one of the biggest-selling rap albums of all time includes the hit single, Insane in the Brain, Hits From the Bong and the anthem, I Wanna Get High, based on Bob Marley's One Draw (q.v.): "Yes I smoke shit, straight off the roach clip/ I roach it, roll the blunt at once to approach it / Forward motion make you sway like the ocean / The herb is more than just a powerful potion / What's the commotion, yo I'm not joking around/ People learning about what they're smoking / My oven is on high, when I roast the quail/ Tell Bill Clinton to go and inhale." The version that appears on the first NORML Hempilation was recorded live in 1995 and ends with the chant, "If ya wanna legalize the herb, let me hear you say: pom, pom, pom." Lyrics.
1994 Tical - Method Man
"In every part of New York there is someone who makes up different slang words that just happen to catch on," explains Clifford Smith, a.k.a. Method Man, sometimes also known as Johnny Blaze. "In Staten Island we used to call weed 'method'. Then my man Lounger cut it down to metical. And then, over the course of time it got cut down to tical." Stepping from the ranks of the Wu Tang Clan, the title track from the Meth's influential debut album on DefJam, produced by RZA, sets the tone with a chorus that goes: "What's that shit that they be smokin? / Tical... tical, tical / Pass it over here... tical... tical, tical / What's that shit the niggaz smokin? Tical... tical, tical / Pass it over here... tical... tical, tical." Method Man's more recent followup solo album is Tical 2000: Judgement Day. Lyric.
1995 Dope Dogs (LP) - George Clinton & The P-Funk All Stars
A sample-heavy concept album about narco dogs! According to George, "We're talking seven dogs in total: U.S. Customs and Coast Guard dogs; one from the DEA, the FBI, the police and from laboratories where drugs are tested. Dogs into dope beats and dopey rhymes, and those dogs who are simply dope on dope, plus dogs who sniff out dope. All these dogs are working undercover. And if you replace people with dogs, you can say anything." Perhaps his most accomplished post-Parliament recording, this album includes Clinton's cover of Follow The Leader by Eric B & Rakim; a collaboration with Primal Scream, Lost Dog; and, on the US version, the definitive mix of the P-Funk live favourite, Dope Dog. The track, US Custom Coast Guard Dope Dog also appears on NORML's Hempilation 2 and on the Sex, Drugs & Democracy CD.
1999 Nitro Burnin' Funny Bong - GWAR
Gods Were Alien Reptiles? Gosh, We Are Revolting? Gnarly Wankers And Retards? Whatever, Gwar is a theatrical punk-metal ensemble that makes monstrous music with lyrics that mostly extend their own bizarre mythology. This track from their fifth album, We Kill Everything - a riposte to Nitro Burnin' Funny Cars by The Dead Milkmen - is typical: "So I'm stuck on this planet and I'm hooked on the weed / And the crack and the booze and the pills and the speed / And the sex and the mud and the blood and the shit..." and typically funny: "I'm talkin bout the Nitro-Burnin Funny Bong / Just one hit, your life goes wrong / Nitro-burning funny bong / Another stupid stoner song..." Lyric.
1999 100 Dollar Bag - Beenie Man
"An a guess mi a guess / Dis is what I believing / Get di sensimilla is di real born healing / When mi smoke di sensi, make mi reach to di ceiling / I nah go deal with no stealing / Well, di coke, di crack, di heroin / Dat mi no dealing / An di sensimilla give yah natural feeling / Coke mash dem up an leave di whole a dem screaming / Good sensimilla man burning..." One of the Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems '99 (Greensleeves). Lyric.