"I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, mannnnnn" - Jay Z
He’s not the only one.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit that drives hip-hop. Maybe it’s a relentless internal hunger, maybe it’s the result of often coming from so little or maybe it’s just a love of expensive things, but rap has bred some amazing entrepreneurs. JAY-Z is buying million dollar paintings for Blue Ivy's changing room, Dre is sending his grandkid's grandkids through college thanks to Beats By Dre, and 50 Cent, well, 50 Cent used to have a lot of money. It makes perfect sense—as an artist you're already a recognizable brand, isn't that half the battle? Why limit yourself to just rap? A career in hip-hop can open the door to so many different things, and rappers often aren't afraid to kick that door down.
“I am so high, nigga I can talk to rain” - 2 Chainz
And the only thing rappers love more than the smell of money is kush. So it’s only natural given the affinity for both kinds of green that rappers would begin to venture into the wonderful world of weed. Marijuana is becoming a serious source of revenue and is gaining more legitimacy by the day—it’s pretty crazy that in many states you can now just walk into a store and buy weed like it’s milk or eggs—so it only makes sense that rappers are capitalizing. They always say "know your product," right? Well, let’s take a look at some of the rap weed pioneers who are paving the way for future generations of stoned rappers.
It only makes sense to start with Wiz since he was really the inspiration for the piece. It also seems logical since his strain was part of that whole gross Kanye beef. Remember when Kanye thought KK was Kim Kardashian's initials? That's Kanye's ego for you. Well, he quickly learned KK stands for Khalifa Kush. I kind of just assumed Wiz had his own strain—because Wiz Khalifa—but I had no idea it was this intense. Apparently, according to Leafly, it’s not available to the public and was a hybrid made exclusively for Wiz. I’d think he'd be dying to sell it, he literally is the brand, so it’s weird to think he's keeping it all to himself.
Wiz also has his own brand of rolling papers, too. Wiz Khalifa would be the king of the rapper weed industry if it weren't for....
Water is wet, the grass is green and Snoop is the J.D. Rockefeller of the rapper weed business. While the rest of rapping businessmen are still just mastering strains, Snoop has his own fucking line of weed products. Allow me to introduce you to Leafs By Snoop, which is not just weed but also shatter, fruit chews, and even weed drops. That’s some next level shit, and for some next level shit, it’s only proper you have a next level rollout. To kick off his line of Snoop snacks, Snoop had a weed party.
I used to smoke out of an empty Coke can during my lunch break working at a movie theater, now there’s drops, fruit chews, and weed parties? What a time to be alive. There are a lot of weed strains named after Snoop, but only Leafs By Snoop is actually Snoop. Good to know.
I literally couldn’t think of a person who would be better at selling weed than Freddie Gibbs. Shit, with his ruthless, relentless business practices, I have a feeling he could move anything from weed to tacos to lawn chairs. Regardless of what he’s selling, whether it's rap, coke or weed, he’s dead serious. Take a look a what he told Vibe.
Vibe: Your Freddie Kane OG supply is taking off during a pivotal time for marijuana in America. Any words of advice for people trying to come up in the legal weed business?
Freddie Gibbs: Hell nah, because I want to get all the money. It’s just like the dope game, try to move in on me and you gotta get up. I ain’t telling you n***as how to do nothing. I’m gonna keep bringing the n***a fish. You bring a n***a fish, he’s gonna eat good. I’m gonna keep letting you n***as eat good, but I’m never gonna take you to the motherf**king water and show you how to fish yourself. My granddaddy taught me that. Never show another n***a where you fish. I’ll never show another n***a my fishing hole because he’s going to try to get my fish.
What? You think he’d suddenly turn soft because the product he's selling is legal? Have you heard “Rob Me”?
Anyway, it seems like he’s well on his way with his strain of Freddie Kane OG. Not only is it good enough for this professional weed reviewer (and I thought my job was awesome), but it’s good enough for Snoop, and if it’s good enough for Snoop it’s damn sure good enough for us.
Riff Raff’s weed strain origin is the most Riff Raffiest thing I’ve ever heard. We have Snoop making weed drops and then we have Riff Raff walking into a store, picking a very purplely weed that isn’t even all that good and renaming it “Jody Highroller.” Here's the story behind Riff's weed.
Turns out that Riff did not actually toil in the fields of Humboldt, or even procure a lab coat and a bunch of LED lamps to concoct it. As with everything to do with Riff Raff, the real story is a lot simpler: After perusing the shop's 50 some-odd types of product a few weeks ago, he simply picked a dank purple indica to rechristen Jody Highroller. The whole thing took less than 15 minutes. "I think he was just so high that he didn't realize, but he picked a $10 gram," says shop budtender Sam Titus. That's pretty cheap, especially compared to Black Rose's top-shelf strains, which go for as much as $25 a gram.
That story is kind of like his music. He gets really really high, goes into the studio, haphazardly presses buttons and then boom, an album is born. It’s a shame because I actually think he has some pretty good naming skills. “Jody Highroller” is a great name (would be better if the strain wasn't marginal), Neon Icon would be another great one, or how about Hologram Panda? There’s so much potential for real weedery here, but Riff Raff is half-assing it. A middling, below average, sloppily put together product from Riff Raff? Color me shocked.
So I know I said Snoop’s the king, but how much of that comes from just smoking copious amounts of weed? I think it’s more his rep than anything. When it comes to actually being a weed entrepreneur and businessman, B-Real is Donald Trump, only with more snacks and less racist beliefs. Snoop throws fancy weed parties, Riff Raff just renames a strain, but all the while the veteran Cypress Hill frontman is legitimately becoming a weed businessman. He’s going through the proper legal channels to create his very own dispensary in Cali.
He doesn’t just distribute it either. B-Real also has his very own strain—appropriately titled “Dr. Greenthumb—which actually won third place at the Cannabis Cup. B-Real is the rap king of weed. Time to call in the orchestra.
I thought Kurupt would be a good rapper to end on because his strain is arguably the most potent in existence; 51% THC! How does one create such a potent product? Kurupt takes the infamous “Girl Scout Cookies” strain, dips it in hash oil and covers it in Kief; “Yo dawg, I heard you like weed, so I dipped your weed in weed and covered it in weed.” These things look more like truffles than weed.
Honestly, I’m wondering if this is overkill. Like, can you even function enough to enjoy the high or will it just make you pass out? Like Freddie Kane OG, Moon Rock has graced the lungs of Snoop, so you know it’s official. Shit, he even put it in his Mouse Trap movie. Unfortunately, even Moon Rock isn’t potent enough to make the movie good.
Sure, it’s fun to make jokes and it makes for a good snappy headline, but seriously, with marijuana legalization spreading there's literally more money in weed than album sales, and rappers are finding it. I don't see that trend stopping anytime soon.
Maybe it's because I don't live where it’s legal to be a weed sommelier, but I’ve never cared about strains and the cute little names always felt arbitrary. But if I walked into a store and saw something from Snoop or Freddie Gibbs in the display case, how am I not going to buy it? That's the best kind of marketing when you know it’s schtick but you buy it anyway. Except for Moon Rock, which doesn't seem like a gimmick; I’m a little worried Moon Rock would kill me.
Move over soft drinks, headphones, and vodka, it’s weed's turn.
UPDATE: Isn't it insane that Method Man and Redman of all people aren't involved in (legal) weed sales yet? It looks like that's about to change as the founder of BlazeNow, a legal weed finding app, says he's close to a deal with the pair.
UPDATE 2: Don't leave Game out! The veteran west coast rapper is about to launch a line of pot edibles, starting with a THC-infused lemonade drink.