April 20, or 4/20, is cherished by citizens around the world as a day to celebrate marijuana use. Rallies are held throughout the United States, particularly in places like Colorado and California, where marijuana is legal.
Given the role that marijuana has played in popular music dating back to the 1930s, its no surprise that there are plenty of stoner anthems to choose from. So, to help enhance your 4/20 experience, we’ve chosen 10 classic songs for your 2019 playlist. Check them out below:
1. Luniz – ‘I Got 5 On It’ (1995)
Luniz will always be remembered for their stoner etiquette. “I Got 5 On It” doesn’t break lyrical ground, as it the duo rap about splitting a bag of weed with a friend; but their conversational flows, mixed with a haunting Club Nouveau sample, make this track a staple of 4/20 playlists everywhere. “I Got 5 On It” has also had a resurgence this year, thanks to its use in the Jordan Peele horror film “Us.”
2. Sublime – ‘Smoke Two Joints’ (1992)
While the Toyes’ original version is worth a listen, we decided to give the next spot to Sublime’s cover of “Smoke Two Joints.” The tracks weaves in tons of vocal snippets and samples of other artists to evoke its hazy vibe, all while lead singer Bradley Nowell wanders through the verses. “Smoke Two Joints” also gets bonus points for popping up in Kevin Smith’s Gen-X classic “Mallrats.”
3. OutKast – ‘Crumblin’ Erb’ (1994)
OutKast is so ubiquitous in popular music that its easy to forget the duo’s humble beginnings. Their debut album is packed with dense rhymes and old school beats that harken back to the rap of their youth. A perfect example of this style is “Crumblin’ Erb.” Big Boi and Andre 3000 wax poetic over a bubbly beat, urging the youth to sit back and smoke instead of kill each other.
4. The Byrds – ‘Eight Miles High’ (1966)
The Byrds were leading the folk-rock movement in the 1960s, but their most radical track remains the droning, psychedelic classic “Eight Miles High.” The track blended Indian sitar and American jazz with lyrics that explicitly referenced the drug experience. “Eight Miles High” was banned by radio stations as a result, but it went on to inspire dozens of like-minded bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Beatles.
5. Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg – ‘The Next Episode’ (1999)
Dre and Snoop broke out with an album titled The Chronic, so its no surprise they crack the list here. “The Next Episode” sees the duo spitting braggadocios raps over a beat that still sounds fresh two decades later. If that weren’t enough, the legendary Nate Dogg shows up to remind everything they should be smoking every day. A 4/20 must.
6. Mighty Diamond – Pass the Kutchie (1981)
You might be more familiar with the Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie”, but Mighty Diamond’s original version still holds up as a reggae standard. The track blatantly references marijuana throughout, with “kutchie” being slang for a certain kind of pipe. Ironically, Musical Youth’s attempt to censor the song with the word “dutchie” led to it being used as weed slang as well.
7. ScHoolboy Q & A$AP Rocky – ‘Hands on the Wheel’ (2013)
ScHoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky have made tracks about harder drugs before, but this 2013 collaboration remains a highlight for both of them. The rappers glide over a bombastic Kid Cudi sample, spitting verses about weed, brews, and the many women they pursue while under the influence. “Hands on the Wheel” never fails to get the party going.
8. Black Sabbath – ‘Sweet Leaf’ (1971)
“Sweet Leaf” is arguably the hardest ode to weed ever recorded. The track opens with the sound of guitarist Tommy Iommi taking a bong hit, before he fires up a thundering, earworm groove. Ozzy Osborne also gives one of his most passionate vocal performances, making this a perfect throwback for your 4/20 playlist.
9. Bob Marley & The Wailers – ‘Kaya’ (1978)
Bob Marley was an advocate for marijuana use, and he rarely sounded as blissful as he does on 1978’s “Kaya.” The reggae icon sings about his smoking habits, and how good it makes him feel, while the bouncy instrumental and background vocals gives the whole track a sing-a-long feel. It’s no coincidence that Marley’s album of the same name remains one of his most beloved.
10. Rick James – ‘Mary Jane’ (1978)
A 4/20 playlist isn’t complete with Rick James. The funk master has tons of hazy classics to his name, but one stands above the rest as perhaps his finest composition: “Mary Jane.” Between the wailing vocals, the guitar-laced intro, and the orchestral breakdown towards the end of the song, “Mary Jane” is musical bliss at the highest level.