Did you guys know it was Kanye West’s birthday yesterday? I did not find this out until about 2am last night because yesterday, weirdly, I did not spend a lot of time fucking around online. My dog has this thing with her knee where if she gains weight she might get arthritis so I’ve been taking her on long walks lately, which cuts into my internet time, plus my apartment was really dirty so I had to clean my apartment, plus I was writing all of this column except for the introduction. But yeah, Kanye’s 40. Who knew?
What’s cool about Kanye is he’s the only famous musician left who is immensely famous, immensely talented, and immensely erratic. His intensity and insanity inform his music, and his music is so intense and insane that making it must make him even more insane. In 1974, David Bowie gave a legendary interview to Dick Cavett in which he was visibly coked out of his mind and more or less speaking in word salad, except when he was talking about art stuff. It was equally cringe-worthy and brilliantly postmodern, as if he’d parachuted in from an alternate dimension and was vibrating on a slightly different frequency, bemused and utterly above that simplicity that was occurring around him.
While I’m not saying that Kanye’s on drugs or is like David Bowie, it’s true that he’s basically the only celebrity capable of the same sublime weirdness that Bowie displayed with Cavett. And like Bowie, it’s not like it’s an act –– he’s just brazenly bizarre, and in a celebrity landscape dominated by PR-facilitated myths that our favorite stars are just regular people, there’s something kind of amazing about that. Anyways, onto the weed stuff:
Pothead One: The Feds
Earlier this week, our fellow weed website (weebsite?) Leafly posted a link to my absolutely new favorite thing on the internet: The DEA’s May 2017 list of suspected drug slang terms. “Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented,” the report’s Executive Summary says. The report then lists off every conceivable nickname for every major drug imaginable, many of which seem like they definitely aren’t real. The government thinks LSD, for example, is referred to as Pizza, Bart Simpson, Dental Floss, and Purple Haze. I’m not exactly Timothy Leary (another of the government’s names for LSD, by the way), but I’m pretttttttty sure no one refers to acid as those things. The entry for marijuana is longer and even funnier –– among the 250 or so weed slang terms listed, there’s Jon-Jem, Bambalachacha, Bernie, Cotorritos, Dinkie Dow, Green Mercedes Benz, Guardada, Hairy Ones, Mafafa, Marachafa, Mowing the Lawn, Queen Ann’s Lace, and my personal favorite, Smoochy Woochy Oochy. Clearly, there are two lessons here. One, the government thinks that people who smoke weed really like making baby noises, and two, if you utter a noun of any sort in front of a cop, they’re going to think you’re talking about drugs.
Pothead Two: People Who Like Pizza (Actual Pizza, Not LSD)
Honestly, I fucking hate edibles. I have had them twice. Once was in college, when my friend and I made a batch of weed brownies and then ate them at Rock the Bells, which is a now-defunct festival with a focus on real hip-hop. Given that we’d made them ourselves in our kitchen, I’m pretty sure we somehow fucked up and they didn’t actually work, but my friend swore that Tech N9ne’s hype man’s eyes made him start hallucinating. The second time I had an edible, it was in the form of a weed tea that I’d bought at a dispensary in California. The clerk at the dispensary told me I only needed to drink a couple sips to feel its effects; however, emboldened by the time I ate potentially non-psychoactive weed brownies, I drank half of it. Three hours later, I went full Maureen Dowd. On that fateful day, I vowed never to consume an edible again. I say all that to say that they’re selling cannabis-infused pizza in Massachusetts now, and no matter how much I love pizza, I am one hundred percent confirmed not going to eat weed pizza.
Pothead Three: J.D. Daniels
I don’t know if the writer J.D. Daniels actually smokes weed, and in fact, I’d guess he doesn’t. But I do know this: His barnstorming, completely uncategorizable book The Correspondence details pilgrimages to Brazil to get the shit beaten out of him in a jiu-jitsu ring, Kafkaesque stints as a night watchman for nothing, and hellacious group therapy gone awry, whose strange turns –– of both phrasing and events –– unspool with a sort of dreamlike logic that can tickle the brain in the exact same way that a hit of the ol’ Green Mercedes Benz can. He recently published a new piece in The Paris Review that you should read right now. It’s called “Rules for Consciousness in Mammals,” and I don’t want to spoil anything for you other than to say it’s probably the most gonzo bit of writing about psychology ever written.
Pothead(s) Four: UGK
“International Players Anthem,” the fourth-greatest song of all time, turned 11 on Tuesday. Produced by DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia and featuring absolutely fantastic verses from UGK and OutKast, the track is basically the southern rap version of The Expendables, except if The Expendables hadn’t been a pathetic cash-grab of every aging action star ever and was instead a celebration of perpetual pimpery, a covenant of country-rap royalty. “Once we got it, we knew [the song] was special,” said UGK’s Bun B to XXL, referring to Andre 3000’s legendary, drumless opening verse. “Everybody knew it was special.”
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