Entertainment mogul Dame Dash has made it clear that he’d like ‘Stoned’ to go down in history as another great stoner flick! He envisions viewers filing it with movies such as ‘Half Baked,’ ‘How High,’ etc.
The film stars Lucien Watson who happens to be a former bandmate of Kanye West, as the two friends were both members of the group State of Mind.
Dame and Lucien connected at Kanye’s Wyoming ranch, and the rest was history.
Captivated by Lucien’s hilarious nature and comedic talent, Dame decided to immediately cast Lucien for the role after Lucien entertained Ye, Dame and other celebrities at dinner. Dame says it’s hard to make him laugh, but Lucien did exactly that!
‘Stoned’ is the perfect fit for today’s audience with the amount of cannabis consumers and as marijuana continues to be legalized for recreational use in several states.
Although ‘Stoned’ is a comedy, the film also provides insight into the cannabis culture as both Lucien and Dame are also passionate about Black people getting into the cannabis space.
‘Stoned’ is out now and available on Tubi, Peacock and the Dame Dash network!
AllHipHop’s Rea Davis spoke to Dame and Lucien about ‘Stoned,’ getting more African Americans into the space, and advice for aspiring executives and entrepreneurs.
AllHipHop: Alright. So how did the concept of ‘Stoned’ come about, and what do you want viewers to take away from this film?”
Dame Dash: Well, it was a script that I had; we were working on it, and when we were on Kanye’s ranch, Kanye was doing what he was doing. And, you know, there was a collective of us that had nothing to do, so we decided to be creative while we were waiting to, you know, kick it with Kanye. So, you know, Kanye flew my crew out on a private jet, and we prepped for a day. I had met Lucien and his man, and they were, like, hilarious to me. So, in the midst of a lot of chaos, you know, it was just really standing out as funny, and they were making me laugh, just on a natural level, and you know, I knew they had like a natural kind of a rhythm and swag, so I was like, yo, I’m gonna put y’all in a movie tomorrow. What’s your man’s name? Well, I just forgot his name. James. So he was supposed to star in the movie, but I guess he thought I was f*cking around. He had to go fly and feed the dog, so I was like, yeah, and then we had to make a clutch audible, and we had the writer star in it, and the rest was history. What I hope people get out of it, is that they laugh and that’s really it, you know, we just had fun. We shot it in six days, and we worked out with what we had, and we came up with a great narrative; well shot. And, you know, we captured the energy and the spirit of what was going on, on that ranch, so it was like bottling up the funniness that was happening while we were out there in a certain kind of way. Also, it was cool to see where Kanye came from and his roots, you know, the people that he grew up with that he keeps around him when he’s, you know, may feel like he’s going through it. And, you know, the fact that everyone has strengths in a creative [way] and a sense of humor, you know, being funny, people tend to think that, you know, I’m serious most of the time, and that’s, you know, quite the contrary. I get serious when I got to fight, but, you know, the same kind of situation happened with Kevin Hart. You know, I saw him on stage and said, “Yo, I’m gonna put you in a movie tomorrow,” and I did it.
So, you know, it’s kind of like, when I see funny, I know funny because it’s hard to make me laugh because I’m a funny guy and, you know, Lucien is funny; he’s straight up funny. Then also, the chemistry between, you know, Lucien and Valor, you know, and some like extreme white boy sh*t and some extreme Chicago, you know, cultural difference. I think the common ground is really funny. So, it’s not just like an urban flick. I want to have like, one of the next, you know, stoner flicks. I smoke, you know, I mean, so, it’s funny; it’s a stoner flick. I want them to be talking about it next to ‘How High’ and the other ones like ‘Half Baked,’ ‘Superbad,’ all that. So it’s one of them flicks that you smoke some weed, you just laugh, and you know, have fun.
AllHipHop: So whose acting in the film surprised you the most?
Dame Dash: Who actually surprised me? You know, the thing is, I always have a feeling that someone could show up, or else I wouldn’t do it. So I would say, the chemistry…. what was funny was because we all know Lucien is funny, but every now and again, Valor would catch him with a left hook, or a right, like a funny one that will floor us all. When you called him Tupac or whatever you call him. When you called him Vanilla Tupac. I think the timing was.. the acting together and the timing was surprising. Lucien added a good…. he had a good.. it almost was like he was in the movie before. So we had good memory, and we had good timing. But again, I had suspected that he would, so I can’t say I was surprised, but you would be surprised how many people that aren’t trained in a traditional way that are better than people that are, first crack at it. You can’t contrive funny. It’s a natural thing. It’s a timing thing. They were able to, at the end of the day, write and make sure that the script was tight and rehearse for the next day. So I was also happy about that; there were a lot of scenes because I had to deal with things on the ranch that were directed without me, like, I’d be like, just set the scene up, and they did it, and I was happy with certain scenes that I wasn’t there for.
AllHipHop: So I know that both of you are passionate about more Black people entering the cannabis space, so what are the first steps for people who are not educated about the cannabis field? How can more people get into it?
Dame Dash: Well, it’s literacy. It’s being educated. Looking at the states and the timing in which they’re going to get legalized and what you have to do, and then understanding the programs that could be set up for you to fail if you’re not prepared. You know, my intention is for new ways for us to make money. For us not to get left out; to make sure that it gets translated into language that doesn’t trigger us, [one] that we understand. And make sure that these opportunities, we know them because there’s nothing better than a government contract, and they’re willing to help as well. But again, that help could be like, you know, a disaster and a blessing because if you’re not prepared, the only thing you can do is sell your license to somebody or you end up just giving it up.
Lucien Watson: Aligning yourself and aligning yourself with people that are doing it. You know, of course, you know, we know the difficulties of, especially, just Black people trying to enter that industry, right, so go outside of your circle sometimes. Make yourself uncomfortable. Kind of getting that information from people who’ve been doing it. There’s a bunch of companies out here that are doing it. Sometimes, you know, you just got to kind of align yourself with those who have been doing it.
Dame Dash: Selling weed legal sucks. It’s not like selling illegal weed. It’s not built for someone that did it illegally to be able to do it moving forward. It makes it complicated so that the average drug dealer can’t do it.
Lucien Watson: Right, you’re not just jumping in the weed industry straight from the street. This is a whole bunch of…
Dame Dash: It’s the microbes, you got to be clean. It’s the seed to sale. You got to buy everything before you even get approved. You know, it’s a 3-4 year wait. It ain’t built for somebody that’s used to a quick flip.
AllHipHop: So Lucien, was it intense shooting this film in eight days?
Lucien Watson: It wasn’t intense. It was six days. Intense in the scope of you know, just constantly working, working, working. But I mean, if you’re doing something that you really like to do, there’s really no intensity, you know, what I’m saying? When you’re put in a situation where there’s no tension, then, you know, it doesn’t really get intense. I mean as far as intense, you know, it’s in the scenes it was, you know, they told me to act like myself, and I asked them, “Are you sure? Are you sure you want me to do this?” And take off, and we just took off, and you know, we like Dame said, the alignment and characters and you know, just in each other’s personality. It was really on point, and you gotta think that this is our first time meeting each other as well. Not only trying to, you know, make it work on screen. I mean, you know, we’re trying to figure each other’s personalities out, you know, before they even you know, same rope, you know, so we just thought, I mean, it was dope.
Dame Dash: We didn’t have too much time to think about it. It was like, shoot tomorrow and we started shooting. As soon as the crew came, we shot.
Lucien Watson: There was a fun time like man, like he said, super fun. I enjoyed myself on-camera, off-camera, just being with the you know, with the guys, man, and I mean, hey, you know, we established a relationship, so man, I appreciate everybody. I do. It was a fun day. I had fun.
AllHipHop: So what was it like being in a rap group with Ye?
Lucien Watson: I mean, you know what I’m saying, the rapper in me says, you need to ask him what was it like being in a rap group with me, you know what I’m saying? But I mean, Kanye has always been creative. We’re creatives, you know, and this is what we do. We’re artists. It was dope being around an artist. First of all, it was so young, you know, just so driven with his purpose. It’s like Stevie Wonder. You know what Stevie Wonder was gonna be when he grew up, you know, so, it’s kind of like working with one of those. I mean, we were friends, you know what I’m saying? I mean, we were young kids. We just didn’t have Hip Hop in common. We were also growing up, kind of learning our way around the world, navigating, you know, childhood and all that. I mean, he’s my friend, you know what I’m saying? That’s about, you know, the most I can say. He’s my friend, and I love him, you know, so.
AllHipHop: So Dame, you’ved push the envelope so much. I love that you’re an innovator and a disruptor as you’ve done so much in Hip Hop and beyond. What advice would you give to up-and-coming executives and entrepreneurs?
Dame Dash: You know, I would say understand that that industry is not built for us as a culture. It doesn’t behoove us, and usually in that industry, we are looked at as a figurehead, but not really actually the one that can make the decisions. So, if you’re going to be in those situations, make sure that you take the rolodex. Make sure that you get all poaching. Pick their brain, and while you’re doing something for them, have something tangible that you can also sell for yourself when they’re done. But the only reason for f*cking with them should be for them to carry whatever you’re doing, but don’t depend on that because if you think that that’s going to make you safe, if that’s going to make you feel independent, dependence on somebody else is the most unsafe thing on the planet. It’s the worst form of security. It’s the biggest form of insecurity having to move when someone tells you to, or not being able to move when someone says you can’t, and not getting paid for not owning it. Not being able to pass anything. You’re working for your children. All that seems like a program, and if you want to do or get a different result, the only way possible is to do it different, period. You know, so if you wonder why you still doing the same thing and you don’t feel good about it, and you feel anxiety because you feel you should be further, then, you got to change up your program, and everything that you do, you got to do it different. I switch up my program often.
AllHipHop: So Dame, you’ve been able to accomplish so much, what do you look back on that blows your mind? Like, what’s one thing…you’ve done so much, you’ve tapped into so much and you’ve had longevity in different spaces, but what’s like one thing that you’re like, wow, ”Can you believe I did that?”
Dame Dash: See the thing is, I think I’m unbelievable, so I don’t believe none of this sh*t I do. I know I’m a superhero. I’ve recognized that I’m that man. Um, I think being a single father, and raising my son, Boogey, on my own while running Roc-A-Fella was something that really bugged me out. In hindsight, like it was normal to me. But being a single dad, and you know, picking my son up from school, but also making sure that everything was going right at that level, I thought was very interesting. I think the fact that right now, it bugged me out that in this very moment, I got a comedy, which is ‘Stoned.’ I have a drama, ‘The Prince of Detroit.’ I have a comic book done. I have a kid’s book that Rocky did, a whole network, a new magazine and I have the Dame Dash Studios app all at one time. This isn’t like I’m about to do it. It’s all done. So in the moment, I’m amazed with myself as a company, and I do all these different things completely independent, and also being able to take care of myself, to take care of my children and my family, you know, to eat the food I kill and have enough to really still make sure everyone else is full is an accomplishment. What really bugged me out about me, is that I decided, f*ck the money, I’m gonna do it for the art, and I became a terrible businessman and a great artist. And being able to find that common ground to do both. I amaze myself all day, so you know, every day, trust me, I do appreciate the things that I’m doing because I know I’m doing things that people don’t, and I’m a reflector. I look at the things I do so I don’t make the same mistakes twice, so I could do it better the next time. I’m always looking at well, what does that look like to the average person? Like when you hear Damon directs a movie, it’s not a big deal. You know, some people only direct movies, you know what I’m saying? I direct a movie, act in a movie, write a movie, have a television network, have a magazine, be in a rock group. That’s also pretty amazing too that I’m in a rock group, and nobody’s laughing. That’s bugging me out, you know what I’m saying. I thought I’d at least get some jokes, but all the stuff, it’s just fun to me. To be current at 51 and still be inspired to still be relevant, to still be crispy, to still be doing new things, like the one thing I’ve always been scared of is, and no disrespect to anyone that’s got there, but being that type of a performer artist that once you hit a certain peak, you only perform your old songs. You don’t perform the songs you made last week or last month. You perform the songs you made 10 years ago, and that’s your hit record. I like my hit records to be current. I don’t want to do my greatest hits. I have more hits to come, so I just love to be inspired and do new things and be able to recognize talent. You know, when I put somebody in the movie, they usually blow up, and they end up being a Kevin Hart or somebody. Being able to discover Lucien when he’s like 65, I’m just playing. I’m still inspired, and I’m happy about that.
AllHipHop: Who are your “Top 5” favorite rappers dead or alive?
Dame Dash: It’s like asking me who’s my top three kids. I can’t do it. Hip Hop is like family to me, so I can’t just tell you who I love the most. I love them all equally. It invokes too much conversation. I don’t want to argue with nobody over that sh*t. Honestly, a lot of the people that are my favorites, I know them personally, so, you know, I don’t want to miss out and be like, “Oh, yeah, I forgot this [person].” I can tell you as far as impact, as far as on a personal level, I think the person that I’m most impressed with, that I hung out with, and that was my friend, is Biggie Smalls. So the fact that he said my name in records, and the fact that I got to kick it with him. When I look back on rappers that I think like the time…, him and Pimp C, those times that I got to spend with them. Those were like, those will be the most legendary moments of my life, hanging out with the people that most people didn’t get to hang out with, that aren’t here.