Marijuana has been able to bridge gaps between cultures, languages, beliefs, traditions, and music genres. Despite a seemingly endless array of music styles which appeal to very different groups of people, one thing remains constant – marijuana. Pot is referenced in lyrics and smoked at concerts of virtually every music genre. Unfortunately, there are simply too many music genre and subgenre for me to name them all off. I tried to cover as many different music genre as possible. If you know of another music genre that has been influenced by marijuana (hint: there are a bunch) then let us know by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page. Without further ado – here is a list of popular music genre and how marijuana has influenced them all.
Most people would associate country music with drinking beer or whiskey. To a certain degree this in not an unfair assumption, however, many country artists are beginning to include weed references in their songs. This doesn’t even go to mention the fact that Willie Nelson, one of the most popular pot smoking musicians, was a country singer. Willie Nelson even inspired Toby Keith to write a song titled Weed for Willie. In this song, Toby Keith jokes about not being able to keep up with Willie during a smoke session. Ashley Monroe’s song Weed Instead of Roses (above) proves that a cowgirl can handle both a bull and a blunt.
Early electronica music dates back to the 1920s, but it wasn’t until the 1980 that electronica began to evolve into its modern form. Electronica has always had a close relationship with mind altering substances. In fact, it’s almost difficult to tell which came first – the music or the marijuana. Skrillex collaborated with hip hop artist ASAP Rocky on Wild for the Night, which has a fair share of marijuana and drug references. ASAP Rocky also claims to have smoked weed with Daft Punk, a pair of superstar electronica artists.
Folk music has been around for centuries, but it was the 1970s when folk became mainstream. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that marijuana also went mainstream during the 70s. Bob Dylan said it best: “Everybody must get stoned”. Joni Mitchell was arrested in L.A. for marijuana. Country Joe and the Fish had no problem letting the world know their stance on weed. Their song, Marijuana, is mostly “I like marijuana” repeated over and over.
Coming up with hip hop artists who smoke is easy. Deciding which ones to feature is the difficult part. Perhaps I should start with the grand master of both hip hop and weed smoking – Snoop Dogg, or Snoop Lion. Wiz Khalifa has also made a name for himself in both the rap and weed game. In fact, Wiz Khalifa has his own line of rolling papers. Lil’ Wayne makes it quite evident what he is all about in his song Pussy Money Weed. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea. Hip hop shares a close connection to marijuana.
Marijuana and jazz music have a long and somewhat disappointing history. In the early 19th century jazz musicians were used in an attempt to illustrate the dangers of marijuana. A country plagued by ignorance and racism used jazz musicians to paint a portrait of crazy, over sexualized maniacs. This of course was far from the truth. Unfortunately, at the time the truth didn’t matter, and by demonizing jazz musicians anti-marijuana activists were able to criminalize weed. Were jazz musicians smoking weed? Sure they were, but so were a lot of other people. Are jazz musicians to blame for making weed illegal? Hell no! Anti-marijuana activists were motivated by personal gain and misinformation, and would have used anything as an excuse to demonize weed. In fact, we should thank jazz musicians and regard them as early proponents of our beloved herb. Louis Armstrong released a song called Muggles, which is a slang term for marijuana.
Most people don’t think of opera as a form of music that would be associated with marijuana use. This is perhaps due to the fact that opera singers rely heavily on their vocal chords which could be affected by smoking marijuana. Luckily, modern opera singers can choose from a vast array of edibles. Unfortunately, the edible market was not quite so abundant during the golden age of opera; however, this didn’t stop conductors from partaking. Michael Tilson Thomas, a famous conductor, was known to smoke marijuana, and was unfortunately arrested with 3 marijuana cigarettes among a few other mind altering substances. René Leibowitz was a French composer and conductor wrote a piece called Marijuana – Variations non sérieuses.
Pop is another music genre that is absolutely riddled with marijuana use. Many early pop artists were known for heavy marijuana use. The Beatles were one of early pop music’s hottest bands. They not only opening smoked marijuana, but they also wrote songs about it. Perhaps you recall The Beatles singing they lyrics ‘I get high with a little help from my friends’. Modern pop music continues the tradition of smoking herb. Molly Cyrus has been photographed multiple times smoking weed. Justin Bieber was reported to have been smoking weed on a plane ride.
Most pot smokers tend to be rather mellow. Punk music is anything but mellow. In fact, many punks were known to be anti-pot. Pot was often associated with hippies which were pretty much pretty much held the opposite ideals as hippies. Don’t let the stereotypes fool you. There is plenty of punk rockers who enjoy lighting up. For example, NOFX released Herojuana in 2000. The Clash inspired Bob Marley to write Punky Reggae Party.
Now this is going to be tough. How on earth could I ever relate reggae to marijuana? Reggae was born in Jamaica during the 1960s. It is a form of music derived from ska and rocksteady. Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer formed The Wailers in 1963. The Wailers, and Bob Marley in general, is probably the most well known reggae group ever. So how did marijuana influence reggae? Are you really going to make me spell it out? We all know that Bob Marley liked marijuana (understatement of the year). Marijuana had made it’s way into the lyrics of most of Bob Marley’s songs. Reggae also has strong ties with Rastafarians, who use marijuana for religious purposes.
Rock has been around for centuries and continues to evolve. It started in the late 40s and is still going strong. Brian Wilson used marijuana heavily while he was writing, producing, and performing with The Beach Boys. Jimi Hendrix liked to get stoned and light guitars on fire. As time progressed the music changed but the weed use remained constant. Sebastian Bach, front man for Skid Row, has been on the front cover of High Times, and is shown smoking lots of pot during his performance on Trailer Park Boys. Modern rock bands continue to smoke weed and write songs about smoking weed.