While not all Portland rappers smoke the legal leaf, cannabis consumption certainly plays a significant role in local hip-hop culture. Smoking blunts on the corner in between sets has been a happy ritual at Portland hip-hop showcases ever since the dawn of legalization. And hell, even before that.
But a 2015 article from Medium’s Cuepoint music magazine gave the world the impression that Portland has produced barely any cannabis-related music. And sure—some artists don’t want their art labeled (read: pigeonholed) as “stoner rap.” But it’s not uncommon for Portland hip-hop artists to slip sativa references into their rhymes, and there’s more than a handful of tree-smoking songs from some of the scene’s most talented artists. Here are five songs by Portland hip-hop artists that are worth adding to your “Get Lifted” playlist.
“Pickathon,” Myke Bogan feat. Khary
“Wake Up,” Stevo the Weirdo feat. Myke Bogan
The other essential figure in the marriage between weed and Portland hip-hop is Stevo the Weirdo. The rapper’s name has basically become synonymous with weed, and he’s even been known to smoke out dozens of audience members after his 4/20 shows. The 2015 track “Wake Up” is a song about not wanting to do just that, and features a verse from Myke Bogan. I’m partial to the song for its dope bass line and easygoing vibe. The music video shows a seemingly endless private smoke sesh/house party/naptime with a very apparently stoned Stevo laying in bed with three women, a Barbie doll in various compromising positions, and a couch-locked cameo from soul singer Blossom. Also see Stevo the Weirdo’s 2017 track “The Routine.”
“THX,” Danny Sky
Danny Sky’s clean-cut, radio-ready song about his relationship with weed is particularly sweet as he showcases his melodic style of rapping in the chorus: “I swear I died and I went to heaven/Thank you miss Mary Jane, I must say that you’re so amazing/Hell, won’t you light the way?” In the verses, Sky discusses how he uses cannabis as an escape from pain, to dull his emotions and keep a smile on his face in these dark times. The song is easily repeatable, but packs a deeper meaning: As Sky explained in a recent interview with
Vortex, he has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (an electrical pathway in the heart causing rapid heartbeat), so smoking weed could cause his heart to “short-circuit.” Despite the danger, the video for the track is super digestible and beautifully shot.
“Roll Up,” Maarquii
In this song and music video that’s largely about smoking Js with fly hunnies, Maarquii brings their queer body onto the very masculine space of a basketball court to entice a cutie-pie referee (played by Rakeem Salt) with their mad twerking skills. At the very beginning of the song, Maarquii is heard cheekily saying, “I just be like minding my own business, and fine-ass niggas just be trying to scoop me up, let me smoke their quarters, eighths, dimes....” They proceed to rap about how much they love it when he roll up, enticing Maarquii to go see these niggas’ cribs. My only wish is that the bass-heavy song was longer. The video includes Maarquii’s friend and stylist Kerry Yamaucci, and lots of cool artsy shots of singer Dom Blvd rolling up and pulling on a blunt, but Maarquii’s magnificent booty steals the show.
“Doja,” Tre Redeau feat. Dizzy Wright and Blossom
Featuring some background vocals from Blossom and a verse from Las Vegas rapper Dizzy Wright, Tre Redeau’s 2015 bop “Doja” is a true gem. It’s got subtle, whiny synths and a mellow hook. (“First we grow that doja, doja, doja/Then we roll that doja, doja, doja/Then we smoke that doja, doja, doja/’Til we high, high, high.”) But my favorite part is when the rhythmic and upbeat verses kick in. Also see Tre Redeau’s playful music video for “The Anthem,” featuring lighthearted verses from Manny Monday and Myke Bogan.