Day 210: "Cali Dro" feat. Tha Dogg Pound – Birdman and Lil Wayne, Like Father Like Son, 2006
An interesting side effect of going back and listening to older rap in our current marijuana climate is realizing how rapidly the industry has expanded in scope and variety. Even just ten years ago, rap about weed tended to focus on the broad concept of the plant rather than specific strains. You might get a few hints—references to purple or kush, say—but that was about it. People didn't really know what kind of weed they were smoking, so it was harder to rap with much specificity.
Even here, on a song called "Cali Dro," featuring the motherfucking Dogg Pound, you have Daz bragging about having AK-47 and White Rhino, along with Lemon, Orange, and Purple Kush, which he defines as "million dollar, top grade." He's not wrong, per se—these are all classic weed strains with high ratings on Leafly, the industry source—but by 2017 standards they are hardly cutting edge strains. Kurupt says he has doctors asking him about his weed, but today that probably would not be the case for something like AK-47, which according to Leafly is a 25-year-old hybrid and whose popularity would make it akin to your doctor asking you about Ambien. It's much more fashionable now to smoke strains like Girl Scout Cookies or Gelato, just to take two recent examples from Migos. Weed strains aren't typically the way we chart the passage of time in rap songs, but, increasingly, as weed becomes more aboveground, it might be, the same way clothing or alcohol brands have been in the past. Someday soon, we will have whatever the weed strain version of Hypnotiq is, and then you will come back and read this and marvel at my foresight.
Anyway, today is day 210, which is halfway to 420, and it's also part of Weed Week, so what better time to talk about "Cali Dro," a song that has been included on lists of the best weed/stoner songs in recent years by the likes of both Complex and Rolling Stone? That evaluation is accurate: This song absolutely rules and is also complementary to a weed-smoking lifestyle, if you can't tell by Birdman opening it with a monologue about smoking by the pound. Wayne opens up his verse rapping, "I get my kush from California, get my dro from Arizona / I can get it 'cross the border, got a rider named Winona," and it just sounds sharp as hell. His best line, though, is "I smoke that kill, y'all blowin' on begonias / and I keep a field of that grass like a farmer," which wins points not only for using the word begonias but also for being real #horticulturegoals. Finally, he closes out his verse with a purple/Prince and Morris Day reference, which is both a great line and topical for this post given that this week marks the one year anniversary of Prince's death (RIP).
It's Birdman who runs away with the weed lines, though, and it's also Birdman who gives us the most revealing biographical info about Wayne. He raps, "I smoke it in a paper, Weezy smoke it in a leaf," which is a reference to Wayne preferring blunts to Birdman's joints. This is a good fact to keep in mind if you ever have the opportunity to smoke weed with Lil Wayne, which, wish on a Death Star, you someday will.
Photo by Mark via Flickr
Follow Kyle Kramer on Twitter.