In case you haven't notice, today is 4/20 - a day the internet has decreed should be devoted to the celebration of weed.
Now, we aren't ones to openly encourage the tokin' of a fatty boom batty, the blazing up of a spliffy J, but looking over our record collections it seems that a lot of our favourite musicians certainly do.
Like it or not, weed has been used in creative endeavours since time immemorial, and pop culture certainly isn't immune to its charms.
So in honour of Sweet Mary Jane herself the Clash team have rounded up the most stoned albums of all time...
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Wiz Khalifa – ‘Kush & Orange Juice’
A cult classic, particularly amongst smokers, Wiz Khalifa broke through and changed the hip-hop landscape with his 2010 ‘Kush & Orange Juice’ mixtape.
Without the need of a label (he’d been dropped from a deal with Warner) or major league co-sign (this just features his friends), the Pittsburgh rapper organically farmed his own green-fingered fanbase and had kids all over the world going nuts for his music and the worry free wake-n-bake lifestyle that it advocates. Though it wasn’t his first, the tape saw Wiz breaking through to a bigger audience than ever before, kickstarting a career that would boast number one singles, his own label imprint and even "Khalifa Kush"; his own strain of medical marijuana.
While the subject matter here rarely ventures from his two favourite topics, weed and women, his ear for smooth funk-infused instrumentals make this perfect 4/20 listening material. (Words: Robin Murray)
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Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’
Much has been made of heavy metal’s origin in the Midlands, of the genre germinating from the clanking, grinding (post) industrial heartland. Drug use, too, had an impact, with Black Sabbath’s primordial ur-metal riffing fuelled by little more than cheap speed, hefty marijuana joints, and a seemingly unlimited supply of exploitative horror films.
The band’s ganja fixation reached sublime heights on ‘Sweat Leaf’, the ‘Master Of Reality’ album track that utilises grinding, down-tuned guitar, throbbing bass, and caveman drums in praise of, well, the sweet leaf.
We’ve gone for 1970’s ‘Paranoid’, though, primarily for its fugged out, Satanic overtones, its sense of hash-pipe doom, and finally for the drawn out interstellar travel of ‘Planet Caravan’. With vocals recorded through a Leslie cabinet, it feels as though you’re inhaling second-hand smoke from the back of Black Sabbath’s tour bus. (Words: Robin Murray)
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Sleep – 'Dopesmoker'
Sleep literally emerged from the deserts of California, a place that has – since pre-historic times – been utilised as a base for intra-dimensional spliff-inspired wandering. Signing to London Records in the mid 90s, vastly influential doom crew used their advance to pay off substantial debts before firing up numerous record-breaking spliffs and heading into the studio.
London refused to release the results, arguing that the ‘music’ was simply unpalatable in any form. Clearly, though, the record label suits didn’t twig that ‘Dopesmoker’ was designed to be consumed as it was no doubt made.
A vast, overpowering experience, it’s akin to inhaling a nine-foot bong while mysterious robe-clad knights crank their Marshall amps up to eleven and ring out power chords for all eternity. (Words: Robin Murray)
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Spacemen 3 – 'Dreamweapon: An Evening Of Contemporary Sitar Music'
For a long time drugs were viewed as ephemeral objects within rock ‘n’ roll mythology – Spacemen 3 literally placed them on the altar. Famously ‘Taking Drugs To Make Music To Take Drugs To’ the band’s lysergic apotheosis occurred one night in 1988 when the group performed in the unlikely confines of an arts centre in Brentford.
What followed has gone down in Spacemen lore. 45 minutes of sheer droning magic, it’s little more than guitar chords and rumbling effects, with the occasional spaced-out, spider-like notes for flavour.
Very slowly treading down an expressway to yr skull, Spacemen 3 first break down the note of a ‘song’ before exploding definitions of music itself – no doubt with a toke on their lips and a glint in their eyes.
Bass player Will Carruthers was there that night, and penned a memorable depiction of the show in his autobiography. He should by rights appear on the subsequent live album, but sadly his bass wasn’t plugged in. No doubt as he was so stoned. (Words: Robin Murray)
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Cypress Hill – ‘Cypress Hill’
Perhaps the foremost purveyors of weed-based innovation within hip-hop, Cypress Hill’s hashish adventures have virtually spawned an entire sub-genre of immitators. Sure, their hash-pipe-LOL schtick grows a little tired at points, but there’s little doubting that their opening batch of spliff-laden albums represent a curiously creative Latino driven aspect of hip-hop’s Golden Age.
The band’s debut is packed with early favourites, from ‘Born To Get Busy’ to ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man’, but it’s their outspoken devotion to weed that earns them a place on this list: ‘Something For The Blunted’ is a virtual career manifesto. (Words: Robin Murray)
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Flatbush ZOMBiES - '3001: A Laced Odyssey'
The NYC trio aren’t ones to beat about the bush on their penchant for getting blazed: Zomby Juice described himself as one of “top five best motherfucking weed lyricists ever”, and the group’s lyrics tend to revolve around big blunts and bong rips. ‘3001: A Laced Odyssey’ arrived in a cloud of weed smoke — but the Brooklynites didn’t just drone on about the sweet Mary J mindlessly, instead they sprayed hyperactive rhymes over pitched-down beats courtesy of Erick The Arc.
Packed full of laugh-out-loud lines and bad taste gags (e.g. wanting head “like Isis”) ‘3001…’ is a bit like having a smoke with the trio, in musical form. (Words: Felicity Martin)
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The Bug - 'London Zoo'
Mutated dancehall, digitised ragga and reverb-drenched dubstep; Kevin Martin’s third album as The Bug highlighted the Jamaican influence on the sound creeping out of London in 2008. Featuring a host of distorted voices to make you prang out and the whispers of foggy underground raves, ‘London Zoo’ is magnificently dark.
Though it might be abrasively noisy in parts, its hollow and echoey framework — plus the thought-provoking lyrics from the late Spaceape on ‘Fuckaz’ alongside the presence of stoner anthems ‘Skeng’ (with Flowdan and Killa P) and ‘Jah War’ (with Flowdan) — make it a safe bet to roll up to. (Words: Felicity Martin)
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