It has been over a decade since Dr. Dre put out a new album (2001 came out, somewhat ironically, in 1999) and even longer since his breakthrough album The Chronic (that was way back in 1992; if you brought home a newborn kitten the same day you bought The Chronic, that kitten is most certainly in kitty heaven). But we appear to be getting close to the long-in-gestation Detox, which has rivaled Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy for time worked on and blown release dates (though it has been far less of a fiasco). Earlier this week, “Kush” found its way onto the Internet. Unlike previous Detox-related links, “Kush” (which features guest spots from Snoop Dogg and Akon) is a real single that is both complete and official.
“Kush” feels like vintage Dr. Dre, with a heavy low end, a cinematic piano riff, a parade of buzzing synths and, perhaps most important of all, a lyrics sheet devoted entirely to marijuana. Plenty of songs have been devoted to the wacky weed over the course of music history, but “Kush” immediately jumps onto the list of the best ever (which is no small feat, especially considering the number of songs both Dre and Snoop have written about the joys of the sticky icky). Here’s the rest of the list — which you should use for medical purposes only.
Cypress Hill, “Dr. Greenthumb”
Just about every song Cypress Hill ever wrote has been about ganja, but this one stands out because it’s just a little more jittery and lively than a lot of their other tunes (though “Hits From the Bong” would also easily fit on this list).
Peter Tosh, “Legalize It”
Would reggae exist without marijuana? It’s possible, but unlikely, and Tosh’s jam is not only a definitive weed song but also a great reggae classic.
Dr. Dre, “The Next Episode”
It has a great, oft-stolen beat and some great verses care of Dre and Snoop, but “The Next Episode” is immortal because of Nate Dogg’s intonation at the end of the song: “Hey-ey-ey-ey-ey/ Smoke weed every day!”
Afroman, “Because I Got High”
Sure, it’s a bit of a novelty hit, but Afroman’s only real impact on pop culture remains a definitive song about smoking if only because the spacey beat nails the vibe perfectly and because his stoner logic is both funny and true.
Redman, “How to Roll a Blunt”
The New Jersey MC has never made any bones about his love for reefer, and this track (from his 1992 debut Whut? Thee Album) not only features some of his liveliest rhyming but also taught a generation about how to properly construct a blunt.
Rick James, “Mary Jane”
When the legendary James said “I love you, Mary Jane,” he wasn’t talking about a girl from his high school.
Tom Petty, “You Don’t Know How It Feels”
Actually Tom, we’ll wager that most of the people grooving to this song know exactly how you are feeling right now.