Hello, music lovers! Welcome to “Smoke This, Play That,” where each month I suggest five albums and their strain pairings, plus a bonus playlist of random songs for you to enjoy. Cue up these jams and comment/tweet me with what strain you smoked while listening, or which albums you recommend for future installments.
Violents & Monica Martin – Awake and Pretty Much Sober
A few years back when I started to explore genres outside of hip hop (still my #1 though, don’t get it twisted), I came across this band from Madison, Wisconsin, named PHOX. It was at a time where I was looking for music that reminded me of a lone wood cabin standing in the middle of a field of a bluebonnets. And that’s exactly what their song “Kingfisher” did.
PHOX has since broken up, but lead singer Monica Martin is back with a new band and the music is awesome. The way I’d describe it is, like….you know those movie scenes where a character is going through a therapeutic liberation of some sort? Like Emma Watson in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, when she’s hanging out of the sunroof as they drive through the traffic tunnel? This album would be the soundtrack to that.
Strain: White Fire OG
This album requires a sort of uplifting strain. Luckily, I had some White Fire OG for the first time ever while listening to it and ooohweeee do we have a match, ladies and gentlemen. While cannabis can inspire deep thoughts and introspection, it’s really the type of music that’ll make you want to get up and do something spontaneous and adventurous. You know that feeling of “Wow, I’m really here and this is really life” that hits you while watching one of your favorite bands perform? White Fire OG is the strain, Awake and Pretty Much Sober is the soundtrack.
Harry Styles – Harry Styles
Before you say anything, I know. I knoooooow. But dude…you have to give it a chance, because this man might’ve just dropped one of the best albums in all of 2017. I said it and I’ll stand by it. I ran through it more than a few times and can’t find a single flaw. Even if I tried, it’d sound super Skip Bayless-about-LeBron-ish. I refuse to be that guy.
Styles’ talent is undeniable. Some songs are soft and melodic, others are up-tempo and super rock-ish; all songs are perfect for getting high and jamming out to, though. No matter what mood or time, there’s a song on this album for that. (I just suggest you be careful when deciding to listen to “Sweet Creature.” Let it ride at 2:27 a.m. on a drunken Saturday night after you’ve smoked that “I’m Back From the Bars And It’s Time to Get Mega-Smacked” joint, and you might end up sending some majorly ill-advised text messages that’ll force you to wake up and delete the entire thread like nothing happened. I’m just saying, you’ve been warned.)
For this album, you need something that’ll smack you in the face to sit down and shut up. It’s almost impossible to get into this with an open mind after hearing some of the shit One Direction used to drop, but if you don’t, you won’t hear the music as it’s intended to be heard. Trainwreck’ll hit you with the damn near paralyzing body high that you need to give Styles an honest listen.
H.E.R. – H.E.R., Vol. 1
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for female R&B artists. Step into my house on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll definitely hear some Aaliyah, Alicia, or Monica at some point. So when I come up on a new artist in this forever male-dominated industry, I make sure to tell any and everyone about it.
H.E.R. is my newest obsession. The voice just does something to me. This is the perfect album for when you want to cry for no reason. And not even out of love, but simply because her voice is so beautiful. Press play and enjoy H.E.R, especially “Losing,” which is a perfect song.
Strain: Durban Poison
You want something that’ll have you feeling upbeat because this album is definitely seven tracks of the bob-your-head-and-vibe-to-the-beat type of tunes. DP has your back. It’s one of those strains whose name sounds a lot different that the high it provides (plus it has an awesome scent). You hit some DP and you’re up and aware, ready for all things that come your way.
Steve Lacy – Steve Lacy’s Demo EP
In my list of Albums to Get High to on 4/20, I wrote about an artist named Syd from a band named The Internet. Steve Lacy is another branch from The Internet’s tree, and he’s every bit as talented as Syd.
Lacy’s demo goes so damn hard. It’s the type of shit that you throw on during a road trip, and out of nowhere you’re in one of those goofy-ass feel-good montages that travel agencies use in their ads. Get stoned before, during, and after listening to it. It’s the type of music that hops into your heart and makes you want to dance around in public with zero fucks given.
Strain: Blue OG
I smoked Blue OG and listened to Steve Lacy while writing this article, and it took everything in me to not get up from my chair and cut every rug in sight. The music took hold of my soul; I felt like I can hear every single chord from Steve Lacy’s guitar.
Rich Homie Quan – Back to the Basics
This is my favorite album on the list. It’s been my gym soundtrack for the past few weeks. Regardless of how you feel about “mumble rap” or whatever you want to call the new sound of hip hop these days, if you put this album on for a run, you might do Forrest Gump numbers.
I don’t know about you, but when I work out, I like to listen to songs that make me want to DDT anyone who’s ever doubted or slighted me. If that’s you, too, throw this on because the entire album is about how people gave up on Rich Homie and he said, “Nah, fuck that.” Matter fact, I’m about to put “Da Streetz” on repeat and bench the entire LA Fitness building.
To keep it funky, I only chose Gelato because it’s rapper weed. But I’ve also smoked it before working out and it had me more focused than any pre-workout bud I’ve tried. I can smoke it and still get shit done, but some people definitely find themselves smacked out of the paint after smoking Gelato, so tread lightly—it’s not for the weak-hearted.
Your Monthly Music Playlist
This Month’s Vibe: “Dancing While Cleaning the House on a Saturday Afternoon”
Push play and I guarantee you’ll feel compelled to get up and let your toes tap a little bit. Throw a broom/mop into the occasion and you’re going out here like Mrs. Doubtfire.