Marijuana has been around forever. It's never been a time in recent memory where it hasn't had a presence in my life. Unlike alcohol (which I didn't learn to properly abuse until college), it was the one vice that I became familiar with personally, even before I indulged.
As early as middle school I soon learned that the "skunk" smell wasn't a rodent at all, but the sweet fragrance of the mind-altering flower. Dro, weed, loud or whatever your region calls it, it was never taboo to me. It was something I just accepted as an aspect of my culture—and in a lot of ways, it is.
My mom, and damn near everyone alive in the 70's, rolled it up. It has its own genre of music, and movies have properly reflected its influence on society. And all of this was before any of the recent lax in legislation in states across America.
So, that got me thinking... Who DOESN'T smoke weed?
Because celebs, especially rappers, have more access and resources to get their hands on the magical green leaf, I made it my personal mission to find out who doesn't partake, and why.
Let's see what I found.
1. Vince StaplesPhoto: G L Askew II
The complete opposite of his fellow Long Beach native Snoop Dogg, Vince Staples is actually a sober cat. No drinking or weed smoking. The MC, who first made his splash on the hip-hop scene rapping alongside Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt, says being sober is "underrated" and that if you're going to get high, you should go hard or go home. In this hilarious Over/Under interview he explains: "I'm all about the necessary and I'm all about going hard or going home. So if you're getting high and you're not off the crack rock, I got to worry about your commitment to the cause."
Touché Mr. Staples, touché.
2. Lil YachtyPhoto: Fader/Gunner Stahl
Not to be outdone by his 2015 XXL freshman class alum Vince Staples, 2016 XXL Freshman, Lil Yachty aka Lil Boat, has also decided to embrace the sober life.
I know what you're thinking: what about the broccoli he can't shut up about? But as he explains in his 2016 Road To Made In America interview, he attributes his success in large to being straight edge and staying in the studio. His D.R.A.M. collab was just that—a collab.
3. Tyler, The CreatorPhoto: Simone Joyner
It seems like Tyler the Creator does it all. He's the leader and co-founder of the alternative hip-hop collective Odd Future, he hosted his first fashion show last summer where he debuted his new shoe Golf Le Fleur and he's even eaten a cockroach. What doesn't the Cali native do?
His high energy, colorful personality and fan demographic (who indulges in drugs quite heavily) doesn't stop him from speaking on his commitment to the straight edge lifestyle.
And while y'all are rolling doobies
I be in my bedroom scoring movies
Why doesn't he? Well, apparently it was a bad experience with a weed brownie that ruined it for him. He tells the story in an interview with the Fader. "I've been high before. All my friends smoke weed. I know they buy eighths and pounds and shit, and they like Swisher Sweets. Last time was '09, New Year's Eve. Ate a weed brownie, the worst time in my life. Not for T. This mind shouldn't have anything in it. We was all at the studio, and I was like "Yeah, fuck it, I'll take a small piece of the weed brownie." I was fucked up, crying, wanted to die. This brain isn't supposed to have anything."
4. J. ColePhoto: Neilson Barnard
Although his freeform hair and unkempt beard may suggest otherwise, the 4 Your Eyez Only rapper, has been marijuana free since 2011.
In an interview with HipHop-N-More, Cole opened up about weed never really being his thing, and said that he really only talks about weed to relate to some of his fans. "I just had a phase toward the end of college," he said. "That was my phase, but it was never for me."
5. Kendrick LamarPhoto: KendrickLamar.com
One of my favorite Kendrick songs is "The Recipe." The smooth melodic chorus chants "women, weed and weather" in a continuous loop as K.Dot. and his big homie Dr. Dre, rap about California's greatest attributes. But the Compton native actually stays abstinent from the substance.
In a 2012 interview with Mr. Peter Parker, he talks about the habit and why he doesn't do it.
"I used to smoke," Kendrick said. "Smoking weed wasn't ever a dependency for me. A lot of people use it as a dependency. They wake up in the morning angry, and smoke. It never was a dependent for me, so it never was a crutch, really."
A GQ profile on Lamar went in depth on his decision to maintain sobriety, and in an interview with HardKnockTV, he talks about how, despite his TDE labelmates ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul smoking, he just never got into it.
I think he articulates his stance on weed perfectly on his 2010 Overly Dedicated album on a classic joint called "H.O.C":
I go in studio sessions and feel like a nerd
Cause I'm the only nigga there not smoking no herb
You telling me the kush make you think on level 4?
I'm on 5, you saying that I can level more?
6. Kid CudiPhoto: Kevin Winter
Personally, I think Kid Cudi has the greatest weed song ever. It's fittingly titled "Marijuana" and can easily be dubbed the smoking anthem of my generation. However, the bud loving Cudder called it quits in 2011. He announced on his Tumblr that he was giving it up because he was “happy being a new me.” On his Tumblr, he wrote:
“Give f— who thinks of me different, you didn't care about me in the first place if you can be proud and happy for me for growing and starting a new chapter. I'm not your puppet or your tap dancing drug addict here to be your miserable muse, I always made music for me to help myself find understanding. I have finally learned from the words in my songs. I love who loves me and who really cares about me.”
At least this was the tune he sang until he released “Just What I Am,” off his 2013 Indicud album, featuring weed rap veteran King Chip, where Cudi repeatedly rattled the bass with the simple melody, “I need smoke. I need to smoke.” and "Weed is what you made, God."
But as he clarified in a one-on-one interview with Complex in 2013, he was able to make a song about smoking weed because he stepped away from it in 2011. He was tired of being the "Stoner MC" and once he shedded that persona, rapping about it became easier. In other words, he still didn't smoke, but because he rid himself of the smoker stereotype, he could rap about it more freely.
7. EminemPhoto: hiphopgoldenage.com
If there was anyone who we should be proud of embracing sobriety, it is Eminem, who is arguably one of the greatest emcee's to do it.
Eminem, Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers, or whatever choose to call him, started off rapping about drugs, and the dark winding roads it can take you down, using harrowing lyrics that were both impressive, and disturbing.
However, today he’s sober. But the journey to sobriety was not an easy one. Over the years, Eminem has battled, going back and forth from stoned to clean, even recording an album called Recovery, where he spilled his guts out about his demons.
He even told VIBE magazine that he had to re-learn how to record songs while sober. To put it in perspective, he stopped mid-song during a concert in Detroit, just because he couldn't relate to his old music anymore. He told the crowd that he doesn’t do any of that anymore, and couldn’t fully connect with the content of the songs—which is definitely a good thing.
8. CommonPhoto: worldofblackheroes.com
This Chicago born and raised rapper is one of the few artists that has not only represented the genre of hip-hop in a positive light, but has been a model of consistency in both his artform and personal life.
The rapper turned actor, who recently won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song for his John Legend-assisted track “Glory” (off of the Selma movie soundtrack), has actually never touched the herb.
And while he's signed to Kanye's G.O.O.D music, where the majority of his labelmates indulge, Common has managed to stay away.
9. Andre 3000Photo: factmag.com
One-half of the super rap group OutKast, Andre Benjamin, or Andre 3000, grew up with the Dungeon Family, smoking weed and rapping in a dirt basement in Atlanta, until making it big and signing with L.A. Reid.
But in a 2003 interview with The Guardian, Mr. 3000 said that he quit smoking pot and drinking in 1998 after realizing that the drug had taken control of his life. “I was kind of abusing it. I wasn’t looking my best. I had a platinum album out and I would do stuff like go to [the] projects to buy weed,” he said. "I knew it wasn't too clever. I was putting myself in danger," he stated.
The talented musician has managed to be weed free ever since.
10. Pharrell WilliamsPhoto: Theo Wargo
If the ageless wonder himself were to announce that the secret to looking not a shade over 25 in your 40's was due to a sober lifestyle, I think a lot of people would start adopting that lifestyle.
Pharrell, is a Grammy winner, bonified hitmaker, a businessman with a clothing line in its 12th year in business, author and countless of other things that we honestly don't have time to sit here and name.
They say the mary jane slows you down, and if Skateboard P is a case study, there may be credence to that.
In a 2013 interview with Paper Magazine, Pharrell said he doesn't do drugs or smokes at all. "Everybody else can do what they want, but that stuff isn't for me. I've been drunk nine times in my life, and I ate some weed brownies once and passed out in a bathroom."