The album R&B fans have anxiously awaited is here. SZA, Top Girl of TDE, released her highly-anticipated debut CTRL on June 9, and the 14-track record is a bona fide beaut. Featuring lyrics that give Frank Ocean a run for his money, lush production that will make you nostalgic for the first time you heard Baduizm, and appeaerances by other TDE MVPs Kendrick Lamar and Isaiah Rashad, this may very well be the R&B album of the year.
Since the start of her music career, SZA has been open about her various relationships, romantic or otherwise, including her ties with cannabis. In a 2013 interview with Complex, she told an interviewer, “My freshman year [of college] I got high and failed out, I was just high everyday. I never had that much weed in my face before and it was free.” SZA briefly touches on this on “Go Gina,” a track off CTRL inspired by the ‘90s sitcom Martin. “I’ve been dropping out/ and I’ve been hanging out with my high friends/ and we too stoned to pay attention now,” she sings. Aside from her college stoner phase, SZA credits cannabis for “helping her stay grounded,” and says it even motivates her to get out of bed early to record.
Other lyrics on the new record nod at weed culture, too. In the lead single “Drew Barrymore” SZA sings, “Somebody get the tacos, somebody spark the blunt/Let’s start the Narcos off at episode one.” And on the James Fauntleroy feature “Wavy” she opens with, “I think I’m bad as hell/ I got issues, out of line/ Sayin’ tomorrow I’ll get the dishes/ Never come/ Easy bake, easy wake/ I’m gone.” After all, she told Entertainment Weekly in another interview that “I’m talking a lot of grimy shit [on CTRL], but it’s truth.”
SZA is only the latest musician to fearlessly put herself out there and challenge the cookie cutter pop sensation-type the music industry is accustomed to. She’s a badass who unapologetically focuses on whatever subject matter is personal to her, but she’s not the only female R&B artist to broadcast her love of bud. In celebration of SZA’s next-level LP, we wanted to shout out some other talented ladies who sit in the cannabis-friendly family tree. The following seven musicians are equally talented and equally keen on getting ripped off the green goddess.
Ari Lennox is an eclectic soul singer from D.C., and the first female artist signed to rapper J.Cole’s label, Dreamville Records. Lennox released her EP PHO late last year, featuring the steamy single, “Backseat.” She describes her EP as “modern, relaxed, turned-up soul” music, and credits musicians like Kanye West, Minnie Riperton, and Ella Fitzgerald as artistic inspiration. During a live performance in LA, the singer compared the anxiety of heartbreak to her experience having a bad reaction to weed saying, “I spazzed out like cray and went to the hospital; nothing was wrong.” Her song “Backwood” from PHO provides a glimpse into Ari’s world.
Lyrics: “I said me and my backwood/ Ooh we be vibing so good/ I roll it like sushi, such a beautiful tease/ You gon’ when I count to three.”
A songstress known for expressing raw, unfiltered emotions in her music, Jhene Aiko is another female R&B artist to publicly open up about her relationship with weed. In a 2014 interview with Buzzfeed, she said, “Getting high isn’t a thing [only] boys do.” Aiko also revealed that consuming cannabis helps her become more creative, and admits some of her best ideas have arisen while coming down from a high.
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“Bed Peace” featuring Childish Gambino is Jhene Aiko’s lead single off of her 2013 EP Sail Out. The visual to “Bed Peace” pays homage to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous “Bed-ins for Peace” protests. Aiko revealed during an interview she and Childish Gambino “were high” on set. “There’s a part in the video where we pass the vape...After we hit that [a] couple of times, we were like, ‘We’re in bed together all day? Wait a minute,’” Aiko said.
Lyrics: “If I had it my way I’d roll out of bed/ Say ‘bout 2:30 mid day/ Hit the blunt then, hit you up to come over to my place/ You show up right away/ We make love and then we fuck/ And then you’d give me my space.”
You may not immediately recognize her name, but Bibi Bourelly has written songs for some of today’s biggest names in music, including Selena Gomez, Usher, and fellow cannabis aficionado Rihanna. Bourelly even co-wrote Rih’s savage track “Bitch Better Have My Money” and the ballad “Higher” from her latest album ANTI.
Her hit single “Ballin’” off EP Free the Real (Pt. #2) continues to climb Billboard charts and receive radio airplay. The song “Flowers” is also from her latest EP, and in it Bibi blatantly sings about smoking a lot of weed and not being ashamed of it.
Lyrics: “Boy you should’ve got me flowers/ Man you should’ve held the door/ I know I smoke a lot of marijuana/ But I’m not your little whore.”
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Lead vocalist of the Grammy-nominated band, The Internet, and former frontwoman of Odd Future, Syd has been in the music scene for quite some time. But today, more than ever, the spotlight has shifted its focus on to the artist, thanks to her debut album Fin. While Syd has talked about cannabis in interviews and even makes weed references in songs “All About Me” and “She Got Her Own” off Fin, The Internet’s song and visual for “Get Away” — performed by Syd — is too good to pass up.
Lyrics: “Roll up an L and light it/ Let’s go to space/ Be my co I’ll be the pilot/ Let’s get away.”
The 22-year old musician released her debut studio album SweetSexySavage earlier this year and is currently on tour. Kehlani is a self-proclaimed “real smoker,” staying true to her Oakland roots. The singer isn’t afraid to publicly speak out about her consumption of cannabis and is an advocate of legalization, too. “It’s not just smoking weed, you can use cannabis to make anything… There’s actually kids with cancer out there that are using cannabis as a tool to soothe their symptoms,” she said in an interview with Vibe. One particular verse in Kehlani’s chart-topping song “CRZY” references a joint, also referred to as an “L” in cannabis culture.
Lyrics: “Lit, lit, lit, lit/ Only L I take is to the face.”
In the past few years, Solange has been pretty transparent about her relationship with cannabis. During her performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival in 2013, she encouraged fans to spark up during her set. “I smell a little bit of herb out there. If you have any, now is the perfect time to light it.” Beyonce’s woke younger sister also recently uploaded a weed-inspired Nina Simone cover featuring Moses Sumney on Instagram. In other words, it’s no secret Solange enjoys some good tree every now and again. In 2008, she even released an ode to cannabis titled “Champagne Chronik Nightcap” featuring Lil Wayne, in which the two refer to weed as good “ooh-woo.”
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Lyrics: “Light the dro/ sip on mo’, let’s just go/ We’ll have a champagne chronic nightcap/ Listen baby, yeah/ Listen I don’t wanna feel no pain, no baby/ The trials of another day just seem to fade away/ When it’s just me and you, good ooh-woo/ Maybe a drink or two baby.”
It should come as no surprise to see Rihanna on this list. Besides the fact she’s one of the most successful musicians of our time, she’s also a huge cannabis enthusiast and proponent of legalization. Do a quick image search using the keywords “Rihanna” and “weed,” and you’re likely to find images of RiRi on vacay with a blunt in her mouth, in the studio passing weed to her clique, or rolling up on top of her bodyguard’s head.
There’s no doubt about it: the world’s most notorious pop star is also one of the world’s most entertaining weed aficionados. And, in case you weren’t convinced, Rihanna’s double-platinum ANTI includes a heartfelt song called “Higher” where she talks about sparking a joint in the midst of heartache.
Lyrics: “You take me higher, higher than I’ve ever been, babe/ Just come over, let’s pour a drink, babe/ I hope I ain’t calling you too late, too late/ You light my fire/ Let’s stay up late and smoke a J/ I wanna go back to the old way/ But I’m drunk and still with a full ashtray/ With a little bit too much to say.”
Any other female R&B/ Soul artists we missed that reference cannabis and cannabis culture in their music? Let us know in the comments.
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