Hip-hop is to weed like pizza is to weed. Any will do just fine, but some satisfies better than others. Here is a list of 10 classic hip-hop albums, in no particular order, that never fail to make your session complete. There are many more gems, but these are outstanding in the field — the field of green. Like a cannabis sommelier, we offer suggestions of what strains pair best with each collection.
10. Das Racist, “Shut Up, Dude”
This collection of songs about weed sounds like it was written and recorded in a dorm room. And judging by the lyrics about Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and illicit products, it was. But, the hooks and samples are catchy and repetitive enough to remember after the smoke clears.
Best paired with: A vape pen of pure wax.
9. Outkast, “Aquemini”
The Atlanta duo’s third album is full of party tracks that are hybrids of reggae and southern stoner funkiness that make your eyes glassy just looking at the cover. They had bigger hits later, but tracks like “Skew It On The Bar-B” are more about partying in the street than the club.
Best paired with: A couple of your good-time friends and some nugs of Southern Lights Sativa and get ready to be happy.
8. Wu-Tang Clan, “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)”
The debut album by Wu-Tang made each member a bona fide hip-hop hero by combining more diverse super powers than the Justice League. Still original and innovative, this record is a whole album. It schools the mumble-rap artists of today who struggle to make a listenable single. Packed with low-fi beats, pop-culture references and a twisted sense of humor, this album is so dope, a strain of bud was named after Wu-Tang.
Best paired with: That aforementioned strain is exactly what you need to smoke when you hit play on this batch.
7. The Streets, “Original Pirate Material”
This batch of tunes created in an apartment by Mike Skinner is a commentary on the everyday life of a young British cannabis enthusiast. Half rapping and half singing verses about getting high, fit birds, PlayStation and Indian Food gives us a window into the UK version of hip-hop culture. It even offers an aural argument for the pros and cons of smoking weed versus drinking lager.
Best paired with: A hookah with a big bowl made for 3-4 flatmates.
6. The Pharcyde, “Bizarre Ride II”
Starting with the fun house meets Fat Albert cover, this collection of West Coast classics feels like a buzz creeping up on you as you exhale a hit. Every MC is on point, the songs are connected with skits and you get to enjoy the skills of Fatlip, who sounds like a man on Skid Row that makes sense instead of gibberish.
Best paired with: A bowl of sativa-based tree leaf as to not bring down the upbeat nature of this gem.
5. Wiz Khalifa, “Rolling Papers”
Khalifa’s third studio album is so dank, his face is made up of smoke on the cover. He even launched a line of rolling papers bearing the name of the title. The album’s collection of pop-rap hits went double platinum and made him a modern hip-hop household name at the sorting table. If the song “Roll Up” doesn’t make you want to get high even just a little bit, you probably like country music.
Best paired with: Indica joints in abundance.
4. Snoop Dogg, “Doggystyle”
After being the featured rapper on much of Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” this was Snoop’s moment to stand in the spotlight. So enduring in the genre, it was the second hit in a one-two punch that has launched many an imitator. “Doggystyle” has provided people a soundtrack synonymous with cannabis for almost 25 years. Today, Snoop has become the Juan Valdez of weed.
Best paired with: The strains suggested by his “Leafs By Snoop” line of medical marijuana.
3. Cypress Hill, “Black Sunday”
Upon its release, this one became an instant and enduring classic for kids into beats and buds and sold nearly 3.5 million copies. Listening to this back in the day without smoking pot might have gotten you branded as a narc. Tracks like “Hits From The Bong,” “I Wanna Get High” and the lyrics from “Insane In The Brain” let you know a movement was a-brewin’.
Best paired with: A batch of loose-rolled leaf dipped in oil – West Coast all the way.
2. Dr. Dre, “The Chronic”
From the zig-zag paper cover art to the title of the album, this is the turning point for hip-hop cannabis culture. It changed gangster rap to ganja rap almost overnight and sold nearly 6 million copies along the way. The T-shirt probably has gone platinum more than the last three Lil Wayne releases combined. It is in many top lists of best albums ever made in popular music and the production is designed to carry you through your sesh like a baby carriage with hydraulics rolling on 100 spoke Dayton’s. To this day, if you are within hearing distance of this music in a garage or park, you will smell weed.
Best paired with: A fatty of chronic, what else?
1. Beastie Boys, “Paul’s Boutique”
This is the “Mona Lisa” of marijuana hip hop albums. While “Licensed to Ill” made plenty of drinking references, this was all about getting high. On the first track “Shake Your Rump,” you hear samples of bong rips and rockets firing into space. “High Plains Drifter” gives a three-man narrative of a road trip while baked and the ensuing adventures. So dense with samples, complex rhymes and delivery, it will have your head spinning before you take your first hit. This album was so far ahead of its time, people are still tripping out on it, and the hip-hop world holds it in highest regard.
Best paired with: Different cannabis concoctions on each subsequent listen. Just like the record, use the “kitchen sink” theory and try it all. It’s guaranteed your ear will find something new every time.