I feel blessed to say I’m a child of hip-hop. Not to date myself, but I’ve seen hip-hop grow up in front of my own eyes. From the days when the likes of my father would frown their face at first at the sound of what they would call, “the rap music,” to watching them bob their heads to lyrics and rhythms that gave them new energy. Yes, I was born to Rudolph and Rose King, but I can proudly say that hip-hop was my third parent.
As most know, rap became the biggest part of the hip-hop culture. The MC had the power to move the crowd. What the MC told the crowd to do, they did. Rappers began to move the crowd to the point where major brands would look past Hollywood A-list stars and employee the MC’s to push their product. Now the likes of Coca-Cola and Armani look for MC’s to give their brand some extra life. Most importantly, an MC could make something considered wrong seem so right.
One of those things that MC’s made seem all so right was cannabis. The forbidden plant, cannabis or marijuana as most would call it has been banned from the U.S. since 1937, but let’s be real, people been consuming it. Our societies weird little secret. That weird little secret became and out in the front, wide open thing in the world of hip-hop. Smoking weed that rappers do is smoke.
Over time, the MC began to move the crowd more towards the recreational use of cannabis. As hip-hop grew the early 90’s gave birth to a slew of artists who had no problem speaking out loud about their recreational cannabis use. Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg and Redman we’re just a few of the emcees who we’re going platinum, selling out shows and becoming brand representatives all while smoking up the club.
During this same time, rumbles we’re getting louder about cannabis and what’s really all that bad about it. A hallucinate, cannabis aside from a high that you can get from smoking has long been known to contain medical uses. Support to legalize cannabis has been on the rise.
As hip-hop got bigger, the MC became more powerful. The rappers who once would chase labels for deals and have to take whatever a brand would want to offer them to endorse them, have switched the tables on the world. Elements of hip-hop, primarily rap, can be found in your everyday life. Hip-hop has helped elect a President!
The power that those who hold strong to the mic have is unprecedented. With a simple line, a rapper can decide whether something is good or bad.
Yet that full power of that ability hasn’t really been shown yet. That could change soon. Societies little secret isn’t that much of a big deal anymore. It’s not just hippies who are rolling up joints. Everyone from politicians to housewives admitted to sparking up on the regular. Some would consume cannabis as a means for relaxation, others use it to relieve pain, stop nausea or help some very vivid and realistic dreams stop happening.
People have begun to look past the stigma that was placed on the plant and began to see it for what it could be. After Colorado did the unthinkable. Making recreational cannabis use and buy legal, the state brought in new tourists who came to use recreationally and medically. A new economy was created one that generated $1 Billion dollars in the first year.
“Straight cash like homie” like Randy Moss and cannabis supporter would say. One billion in one year off cannabis. Safe to say, some people realized that things needed to change.
More states began to jump on the cannabis bandwagon. Today we’re a country that’s basically divided. 24 out of 50 states have either brought in medical, recreational or both. We haven’t had a country split down the middle like this over what is considered illegal and not illegal was the Civil War.
In the middle of this war for the future of cannabis is hip-hop. When the legalize movement needed big names to help push the conversation, it was hip-hop they reached out to. Before you knew it, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and others inadvertently became the face of a new this movement.
The deal hasn’t been one-sided in any way. Rappers can lend their powerful voice to cause that can really impact the world we all live in and in return they get extra bookings and endorsement checks. Sounds like a win/win right? Not really.
Quiet as it’s kept, very few rappers are actually invested in the cannabis industry. Some might lend their name to a brand or a strain, but outside of their name, they reap a small percent for what they actually bring in. Many do play a major role in both worlds. Cypress Hill front-man B-Real, Berner, Kurupt and of course, Snoop and Wiz are definitely a few that are taking in their fair share for what their names adorn.
As we look towards a new election cycle, aside from a Presidential race, many states are next up to decide where they’re going to go when it comes to cannabis. It’s about time for more rappers to make a decision too. Are you going to be player, or an owner in this game? Tidal, Apple Music show that artists are more than ever realizing the power of owning their work and not just becoming a share-cropper for a label.
Mentioning Raw papers and Backwoods in your rhymes, hosting the opening of dispensaries and headlining festivals can’t be the end of the story. Today’s rapper needs to edutain their audience in this new industry. From investing in technology and cultivation, rappers could make a bigger impact on the cannabis industry and the communities many of these artists grew up in. Even bigger than their music could do. Just speaking about the possibilities in the industry could lead many young kids who resemble themselves might want to learn how they can turn green into green.
It’s time for the M.C. to move the crowd again. This time, just tell them to follow the smell and they’ll see for themselves.