The Intersection Of Hip Hop And Cannabis – Exploring The Bond Between Two Cultural Phenomena

The culture of Hip Hop is hardly to be thought of not mentioning weed at some stage along the line. Born in the colourful salad bowl of New York’s Bronx in the 70’s, there is no way around dropping Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five as the innovative influencers of the genre. Its social impact on music, but also fashion, language, education and art is undeniable. From an underground movement, hip hop made its way into the hall of fame and mainstream playlists. And as the rhythm of marijuana. Let’s take a listen.


Hip hop and weed are known to walk the earth together, deeply bonded. For many artists smoking joints is seen as a rite of passage. It’s also been a source of creative inspiration for some of the genre’s most iconic songs. It’s often portrayed as a way to relax and escape the harsh realities of life in the inner city.  But hip hop’s relationship with the green leaf goes beyond just music. Artists have actually played a significant role in normalizing cannabis use and helping to shape the legalization movement.

Weed first started appearing in the genre’s lyrics in the early 1980s with songs like Schoolly D’s “P.S.K. (What Does It Mean?)” and Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force’s “Planet Rock“. Wu-Tang Clan’s Method Man became one of the first artists expressing his adoration for marijuana publicly, but it wasn’t until Dr. Dre’s debut album “The Chronic” in 1992 that it was celebrated as a somewhat called cultural icon. On the album, Dre popularised the term “blunt” and put smoking in the spotlight, making it an integral part of hip hop culture. The album’s cover art even included a picture of a marijuana leaf. Snoop Dogg, who was featured on several tracks on it, went on to release his own solo album, “Doggystyle”, in 1993. The album’s cover art also featured the green leaf.

A not to be ignored fact explaining that marijuana was rather being labeled to be pretty much a not too cool thing to do till then, was that the era before had been defined by cocaine. Weed was used, still, its fame was mainly existing only within reggae culture. Besides that it was associated with the hippie movement, but hardly anyhow had anything to do with life evolving around block parties in New York.

But then came the golden age of hip hop and since, countless artists started mentioning weed in their songs, including TuPac, Cypress Hill and Wiz Khalifa. And they have not just popularised it through lyrics, but also been outspoken advocates for cannabis legalization. In 2012, Snoop Dogg even launched his own line of marijuana products called Leafs by Snoop, while Wiz Khalifa has his own brand of CBD products called Khalifa Kush. With the growing acceptance of cannabis, they are in a unique position to capitalize on the rise of the industry. With name recognition and a built-in audience of fans, they use their platforms to help destigmatize cannabis and promote its responsible use.

We safely can say, better write, that one of the most important ways that hip hop has influenced cannabis use is by normalising it. Seen as a dangerous substance for a long time, that simply is a mystery of the past by now. Because when artists like A$AP Rocky and Jay Z started sharing stories about smoking joints, suddenly it didn’t seem so bad anymore. It started to be recognized as something that could be enjoyed recreationally, without any negative consequences. And as the view towards cannabis started to change, so did the laws. As we keep also reporting about lately, the number of countries legalizing marijuana keeps rising globally – and it’s also thanks to the influence of hip hop culture.


And surely the change in attitude towards our favorite plant has also been reflected in the business side of things. Cannabis businesses have had a major impact on the rap community, both economically and socially. They have created new opportunities for entrepreneurship and investment, as well as jobs and revenue streams for artists and their crews. This increased involvement is helping to legitimize the industry and bring even more money into it. But to be real: The social impact of hip hop artists has been just as significant. They have helped to break down barriers between different subcultures, bringing people together around a common interest. In many ways, they have served as a unifying force within the community.

So far, in the end the impact on the industries have been mostly positive for both sides. Which surely leads as well to a number of popular music media outlets that cover with equal enthusiasm. In case your reading mind will ask for more after that post:

Complex is a leading voice in both the cannabis and hip hop communities. They regularly cover news and culture surrounding both topics, with articles on exploring everything from how weed can inspire creativity to which rappers are the biggest stoners.

The FADER is a popular magazine that covers the most current trends in music, fashion, and art. They cover the intersection of cannabis and hip hop with insights such as Erykah Badu celebrating Mother’s Day with her own line of weed rolling cones.


The future of cannabis in hip hop is shrouded in potential. Cannabis sales are already a multi-billion dollar industry. If more artists were to start endorsing brands or investing in weed-related businesses, it would further increase the revenue generated by this sector. It’s also worth noting that many of the genre’s masterminds have a large following among a generation that is increasingly turning to cannabis. As such, they keep playing a key role in further normalizing its use. So what does the future hold for cannabis in hip hop? Well, only time will tell, but what could be considered as a sure thing: The mind-opening qualities of cannabis stay to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of what is possible within creation and inspiration. As well as people’s perspective towards hemp is shaped through music.

And besides music, marijuana also influences more aspects. Numerous graffiti sprayers have used it as inspiration for their work. And streetwear brands like Supreme often incorporate marijuana leaves into their designs. From boosting creativity and connecting people to becoming part of the business side of things, it’s clear that weed is here to stay… In hip hop and beyond. And the other way around.

For now let’s make some of hip hop’s greatest releases about cannabis stay in our ears, as we say in German “Ohrwurm”. Here is the editor’s choice of ten:

🎶 Redman and Method Man – “How High” 
🎶 Snoop Dogg – “Gin and Juice”
🎶 Missy Elliott – “Pass That Dutch”
🎶 Nas – “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”
🎶 Kid Cudi – “Hyyer”
🎶 A$AP Rocky – “Purple Swag”
🎶 Cypress Hill – “I Wanna Get High”
🎶 Wiz Khalifa – “Still Blazin”
🎶 Kanye West, Talib Kweli, Common – “Get Em High”
🎶 Tupac – “Smoke Weed all day”

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