If you’ve been hanging on our every word, there’s a good chance you’ve already read the previous three installments in our ongoing survey of the greatest weed songs in history. We’ve covered artists from Bob Dylan to Rick James to Miley Cyrus somehow. And because nobody loves weed more than musicians – like, imagine what half these guys would sound like if they’d never sampled bud – there’s no shortage of great odes to creativity’s greenest spark.
This week’ we’ve got another great mix of modern hits and forgotten classics, ranging in genre from jazz to hip hop to a Snoop/Willie collaboration. It’s heavy on early jazz because early jazz musicians presumably loved weed more than anyone else in the history of the world. Here are the next eight entries on our ongoing series:
- Crumblin’ Erb by Outkast. This is a really melancholy tune, and gets at the heart of why, to many people in dire situations, the relaxation of a good high is the only real relief from the crushing grind of everyday life. Its chorus opens by admitting “there’s only so much time left in this crazy world,” and whether that means we only have so long or the world itself only has so long is not entirely clear. But the twice-repeated follow-up line – “I’m just crumblin’ erb, I’m just crumblin’ erb” is the song’s thesis statement: Sometimes life is so overwhelming that the best thing you can do is crumble up some bud and dissipate some of that stress with a blunt.
- I Got 5 On It by Luniz. It’s a testament to Cypress Hill’s stature in weed culture that they’re mentioned in the opening lyrics to this international hit. Luniz co-star Yukmouth hits the reference right in the beginning in a pretty effective lyrical table-setting strategy: This is a song about weed, and at no point is this not going to be a song about weed. Of course, since Jordan Peele adapted the song’s repeating minor-key melody into a dark and creeping orchestral score for his 2019 horror film Us, the song is absolutely terrifying, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still a solid weed tune.
- No No Song by Ringo Starr. Look, a lot of people think Ringo is the worst Beatle, and they’re wrong, but we’re not going to get into the whys and wherefores of ranking the Beatles. But regardless of what you think about Ringo – or any other Beatles who are widely known for singing ardent songs about love and peace while flying into violent jealous rages in their personal lives – “No No Song” a fantastically whimsical weed song. Actually, it’s a fantastically whimsical song about a lot of drugs, sung from the point of view of someone who’s trying – and hilariously failing – to quit.
- Roll Me Up by Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson. This… this is a thing of beauty. Even putting the weed angle aside, any collaboration between Willie and Kris Kristofferson is pure gold from the very start. But then, oh wait, we’re also putting Snoop on the track. As it turns out, Snoop’s rap flow is a lot more impressive than his vocal range, but dude can carry a tune. And it’s a beautiful song, really – a timeworn tale of a pothead offering up his own cremated ashes for his friends to smoke, since presumably his body has become so absolutely riddled with THC that even his dry and crumbling cremains will get everyone nice and high.
- When I Get Low I Get High by Ella Fitzgerald. That’s right – even the reigning queen of jazz herself sang about weed. Buuuuuuuuut this is one of those old songs that could maybe be about pot, but is just as likely to be about drinking. After all, “high” and “drunk” used to be synonyms at around the time of Ella’s rise to popularity. So, ok, fine, it could be a song about how every time life throws a curveball at you, you roll with the punches by knocking back a shot or two. Or it could be a song about how, yeah, today sucked, let’s spark up a blunt. God save the queen.
- Wildwood Weed by Jim Stafford. We’re not sure if the great songwriter and children’s poet Shel Silverstein ever wrote a song about weed – odds are good that he did at some point, even if it remained unpublished – but just about anyone could be forgiven for thinking he penned Stafford’s paean to pot. A big part of that is due to the song’s spoken-word presentation – Stafford essentially does a dramatic reading of the lyrics over an old Carter Family tune – but the lyrics themselves have a playful, story-time-in-Hundred-Acre-Wood quality to them. It’s arguably the most adorable song ever written about marijuana.
- Weed by Bea Foote. You’ve never heard of this one. It’s from 1938. It starts out, like WIldwood Weed, as a spoken-word song, but quickly evolves into a crooning fox-trot groove. But it’s in those opening spoken-word moments that the song really struts its stuff. Foote’s voice smolders when she sings but absolutely conflagrates when she speaks. Do yourself a favor and put this one in your regular rotation.
- Marijuana by Kid Cudi. Cudi used to rap about weed a lot, until he quit smoking entirely (which might go against GrassDoor’s own business model, but we support anyone’s personal health decisions). But right around the same time he very publicly quit, he also released “Marijuana,” which – as you may have guessed – is not a song about making the decision to stop using pot. “Pretty green bud all in my blunt – oh, I need it,” Cudi raps, later adding “they tell me all good things must end, well those motherfuckers ain’t have this friend. Oh, and by the way, it turns out he eventually started smoking weed again, apparently.
Check out previous entries in this series here: