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Let The Good Times Roll: Uplifting Conversations About Marijuana (Part II)

In Part Two of this piece, (check out Part One here)  Devin the Dude talks about how marijuana helped him record his contribution to ‘2001’ and an executive at merryjane.com explains how the site aspires to be an integral part of weed’s continued integration into society and why that’s so important.

Devin the Dude is a rapper from Texas with an affinity for women and weed that earned much critical acclaim and a strong underground following as a member of the Odd Squad and with his solo debut in the 90’s.  His commercial break though came in 1999 when he appeared on Dr. Dre’s 2001.  With eight solo albums to his name as of 2016 and numerous high-profile collaborations, Devin is one of the game’s most respected emcees.  My interview with him took place on 10/25/2016.

AllHipHop: Can you think of a particular song where marijuana really enhanced the writing or recording process?

Devin the Dude: {Laughs} I can’t even think of a studio session where I didn’t smoke, but [there was] one in particular when I went out there to do 2001 with Dre and Snoop.  Initially, Dre had just wanted me to do a hook on a certain song.  I had some cigars so I rolled one up and I tried to give him the sack back.  He was like “No, no, no. that’s all you.”  Then I was like, “Oh, s··t.”  Back then a big a·· chronic sack like that was four or five hundred bucks. So I was like, “Oh s··t, thank you.”

Then he was like, “I got a list of songs here on this piece of paper and I got a DAT player and we’re going to start thumbing through some songs.  Like skeletons of songs.”  He hands me the paper and there are 107 numbers on it.  We kept going through [them] and I was high as f··k.  Around number 12, I was like, “I remember that beat.”  Hitman saw me grooving to it.  We kept going and I was said, “Go back to 12.”  [He mimics the sound of the “F··k You” beat.]ftkpbcbs04ikwx3y8m0h

Then after listening to the song for about 20 minutes, I just remembered a slow song, it was like a break up song to a woman you were cheating with.  I only had the hook and never did write the verse to it.

As I was writing stuff down to see if it matched (from that slow song), it sounded like Alvin and the chipmunks. I didn’t know if this was going to go.  Then he [Dre] was like, “Want to try one?”  I was like, “Yeah, we can try it.”  Man, that was the slowest walk [to the booth] and I was high as f··k too.  But weed was kind of like, “You can do it”.  This is where the weed kicked in.  I got in there, put the headphones on, and the first verse was kind of shaky because I had to get the speed of it right.  I was used to singing it so slow.  And then it took me three or four takes to nail that first one, I was like cool, “Let’s double that.”  Then we did a third.  Boom!  Then  we did a fourth.  I started feeling good.  Before I left, I was like, “Hold up, let me do one more track.”  And I just did like a real crazy “I just wanna f··k you” like a Bing Crosby one.

Then I walked back in the studio, and they were like this is cool.  I sat down started smoking again.  Mel-Man was writing for Dre, so he was helping him with his verse so as they were writing, I was so f··kin’ high, I just started writing too. He saw me over there and he was like, “You got a verse?” I was like, “S··t, hell yeah.”  I just felt that good.  Dre was like, “Cool.  Let’s listen to what you got.”  And I went in there and knocked the verse out real quick, man.

So the hook took you a minute, but the verse you were able to knock out quick?

Devin the Dude: You’re right and the weed helped with both. It triggered me to help me remember the chorus and to make it fit.  Then I got to relaxing and writing and got on the verse that I wasn’t really supposed to do.

You once said, “all races, people of all kinds of economic statuses, [people with] different religions.  Weed is the bridge between all that.”  That’s a great sentiment.  Could you please elaborate?  

Devin the Dude: People you’ve never met before in your life, you might not even have to speak the same language.  I met someone and we didn’t even communicate vocally, but when it came to weed, we just became friends after smoking a joint and we weren’t really able to talk to each other.

Smoking weed by yourself is cool, but there’s something about the connection between two people smoking.  No matter whom the two people are.  It doesn’t matter what color, creed, or religion.  Two strangers can meet and find out they smoke and smoke a joint together.

[Regarding] the presidential thing, that’s one thing I want to add.  It would be wonderful if one of these [candidates] would stop ignoring the cannabis culture and acknowledge that weed should be legal.  Laws should be changed on the federal level, instead of having each state try to make their own rules.

Noah Rubin is the Editor-In-Chief at MERRY JANE, which began a little over a year ago and prides itself as being “the fastest growing media platform at the crossroads of pop culture, business, politics, health, and the new generation of sophisticated cannabis culture for all.”  In addition to his work there, Noah also has experience in television having produced content for Adult Swim, MTV, and VH1.  He is the former VP of Music at Decon Records (now Mass Appeal Records) and even did production work on two projects for the Wu-Tang Clan.  My interview with him took place on 10/25/2016.

How did you first get involved with MERRY JANE?

Noah: I think there were a variety of things that made me take note.  I  think having media and music coming together and  then adding this other element of cannabis, it felt like a new chapter.  It was really kind of reflective of a more futuristic paradigm where cannabis was combining with culture and the power of media was the perfect storm.  And obviously looking at the other people who are involved in the company, I felt that it was positioned well to have a big impact.

What do you think has been the site’s greatest achievement thus far?

Noah: We’re trying to be the future of the conversation that involves cannabis.  Like right now, we have this kind of dividing line where you have cannabis media outlets and media outlets.  And I want us to be something where it can be seamlessly both and you can be up on really compelling stories around music, really compelling stories around fashion, and really compelling stories around technology, really compelling stories around headline news, and really compelling stories around cannabis and not feel like you’ve skipped a beat. We want it to be where it all feels part of a singular whole in an organic and intelligent way.  MERRY JANE is about “Hey, there actually isn’t a dividing line here.  Our culture is cannabis culture and vice versa.  It’s no big deal.”  This is about being passionate and intelligent about the world we live in.

From personal experience, I can say that I think your site is succeeding in that respect.  Prior to preparing for this interview, someone very close to me was diagnosed with cancer and they began exploring medicinal marijuana to help with their condition.  As I began to explore the topic of marijuana as a whole, MERRY JANE was one the first sites that came up and I’ve been a frequent site visitor ever since.

Noah: First and foremost, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through that.

Thank you.

Noah: I do think having cannabis as part of that conversation [cancer] is a real positive thing.  I think there was a time and a place when someone was suffering in illness, they’d be persecuted for or locked up even for trying to alleviate symptoms of either the disease itself or the treatment.   The time has come and there is no dividing line.  This plant is part of our culture.  Breaking down that wall is a priority to me and I appreciate that you are  seeing that and feeling that MERRY JANE can help people do it.

[Marijuana] is cultural.  It’s medical.  It’s legal,  It’s personal.  It’s historical.  There are a lot of things all coming together.  It’s an exciting time for sure and I’m looking forward to seeing how prop 64 question plays out on the ballot in November.  I’m also looking forward to the benefits it may have in the state of California and the country as a whole.  Truthfully, until cannabis is legal on a federal level, we’re not really going to see the change that we’re looking for.

 

In addition to the interviewees, thanks to everyone else who also made this possible: Brianne, Adam, Shaun, Peggy, Sos, and N.O. Joe.

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