Everyone has that playlist they love to hear while they’re high. But have you noticed in which songs cannabis is the hot topic? Here, we will tell you some curiosities about this!
That music and cannabis are great combo we’ve always known. After all, there are many national and international successes that deal with the theme, and range from artists such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, to Marcelo D2 and Armandinho. But what about those enigmatic songs, full of mysteries and metaphors, that we sing but don’t even know very well what they are all about?
Well, some of them are about our dear plant- and we are here to show you! Ready to be surprised? Let’s hear some hits that talk about cannabis and maybe you didn’t even notice!
Cannabis songs in English
D’Angelo – Brown Sugar
Rick James’ infectious rhythm brings numerous references to cannabis. In Brown Sugar, the title track of his 1995 album, he describes a girl named “Brown Sugar” with so many lovingly vivid details that it looks like he’s falling in love. “I get high with your love, I don’t know how to behave,” he says, occasionally switching to an ecstatic falsetto. The effect is so intoxicating that it is easy to lose sight of the metaphor and believe that he is, in fact, talking about a woman.
But don’t be fooled by that incredibly soft voice – contrary to what he says in the lyrics, his eyes are hardly red from sex.
Black Sabbath – Sweet Leaf
Tony Iommi’s cough at the beginning of “Sweet Leaf” already warns of what the band is talking about – after all, who never choked on the smoke of this sweet little plant? Throughout the song, Ozzy declares his love: “I love you, sweet leaf / although you can’t hear it.” He still says that this leaf introduced him to his own mind, and that, when his life was empty and sad, it was she who showed him a new vision that set him free.
Well, not everyone would expect such a romantic song from the Prince of Darkness, but we think it’s incredible that he made it – especially knowing that it’s for cannabis.
The Beatles – Got to Get You Into My Life
Released in 1966, this cheerful and cute song is generally considered to be one of the band’s most upbeat romantic songs. Not surprisingly, it was written with cannabis in mind – at least according to Paul McCartney. As he says, Got to Get You into My Life was the song he wrote when it was introduced to cannabis.
“I had been a very heterosexual working-class boy, but when we started getting into marijuana, it seemed very edifying. It didn’t seem to have many side effects, like alcohol or anything, like pills, which I practically avoided. I kind of liked marijuana. I had no difficulty with that and for me it was an expansion of the mind, literally, expansion of the mind. So ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ is really a song about it, it’s not for a person, it’s really about marijuana”, he told Barry Miles for the 1997 book “Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now”. Who would say?!
Bob Dylan – Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35
According to Dylan, he never wrote and would never write a song about drugs – but that’s not what popular wisdom tells us. In 1966, he released the song Rainy Day Women # 12 and 35, whose chorus says “everybody must get stoned”, and then everyone drew their own conclusions. The old school guys also point out that “woman on a rainy day” is a traditional slang for joints, while the guys from the new school say that 12 times 35 equals 420.
He, unyielding, maintained the version that “stoned”, in fact, did not refer to being high, but to being ACTUALLY stoned – and that it was a biblical question. But who do we believe in? The choice is definitely yours.
Cannabis songs in Portuguese
Tim Maia – Chocolate
This is a very ambiguous song, so to speak. According to the stories, back in 1971, Tim had his career in full swing. Therefore, several invitations for commercials, production of jingles and TV appearances appeared. At the time, he gets an invitation from the Brazilian Association of Cocoa Producers, asking him to compose a song to be the theme of a campaign to encourage the consumption of chocolate.
Tim, according to Nelson Motta, in the biography “Vale Tudo – Tim Maia, The Sound and the Fury of Tim Maia”, liked the idea and accepted the undertaking. And that was how the classic “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate / eu só quero chocolate” (translated as “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate / I just want chocolate”) was born.
However, on a not so conventional side of the story, this would be a reference not only to this delicious cocoa product, but to hashish – also popularly called chocolate. Unfortunately, we cannot ask the legend which version is right, but we can pull the wood for our roast! After all, our dear Tião defended the legalization of cannabis even on a TV show.
Erasmo Carlos – Maria Joana
A beautiful love song, right? But the muse is a little less conventional than others from the same era. From 1971, the same year as the previous song, Maria Joana has already shown the seventies climate in the world – the “peace and love” of hippy movements and, also, the rescue of cannabis. Even though it was launched during the dictatorship, the verses show that the plant found its means of making the minds of Brazilian artists.
“Só ela me traz beleza / nesse mundo de incerteza / quero fugir mas não posso / esse mundo inteirinho é só nosso. / Eu quero Maria Joana / eu quero Maria Joana / eu vejo a imagem da Lua / refletida na poça da rua / e penso da minha janela / eu estou bem mais alto que ela” (translated as “only it brings me beauty / in this world of uncertainty / I want to escape but I cannot / this whole world is ours alone. / I want Maria Joana / I want Maria Joana / I see the image of the Moon / reflected in the puddle of the street / and I think of my window / I am much higher than her”.)
After all, this lyrics is pure poetry.
O Rappa – A Feira (The Fair)
This song, released in 1996, was part of the life of any Brazilian who enjoyed listening to a radio – and was played fully since its release until the mid-2010s. The truth is that it became a classic of national pop rock, and every brazilian knows a lot about the letter. “É dia de feira, quarta-feira, sexta-feira, não importa a feira-a”. In english, it goes a bit like “It’s a fair day, Wednesday, Friday, no matter what the fair is”.
But have you ever stopped to pay attention to the other verses? Come on: “come crazy, come madame / come Maurício, come actress / to buy with me […] I’m selling herbs / that heal and soothe / I’m selling herbs / that relieve and season / but I’m not authorized / when Rappa arrives / I almost always escape / the one who provides me / earns the most / the clientele is vast / I know! / Because normal medicines / don’t always / relieve pressure ”.
In portuguese, it stands for “vem maluco, vem madame / vem Maurício, vem atriz / pra comprar comigo […] Tô vendendo ervas / que curam e acalmam / tô vendendo ervas / que aliviam e temperam / mas eu não sou autorizado / quando o Rappa chega / eu quase sempre escapo / quem me fornece / é que ganha mais / a clientela é vasta / eu sei! / Porque os remédios normais / nem sempre / amenizam a pressão”.
Well, I think we know what these herbs were, right?
Armandinho – Folha de Bananeira (Banana Leaf)
Okay, we admit that this is VERY hard for anyone to not have noticed the association. In 2002, Armandinho was best known in the south of Brazil, and his style of reggae and surf music started to gain more notoriety. It was in that year that he released most of the songs that are still famous today – like Ursinho de Dormir and Rosa Norte. On the same CD, we also had the song Folha de Bananeira:
“Smokes, smokes, smokes banana leaf / Smoke just for fun / Smokes, smokes, smokes banana leaf / Smoke just for fun / Guard, you can’t arrest me / It’s just a thin one that I just ‘ate’ / You’re late, what can I do? / I’m a minor and you can’t arrest me ”
In portuguese, the lyrics are “fuma, fuma, fuma folha de bananeira / fuma na boa só de brincadeira / fuma, fuma, fuma folha de bananeira / fuma na boa só de brincadeira/ seu guarda, cê não pode me prender/ é só um fino que eu acabo de ‘comer’ / cê chegou tarde, o que posso fazer? / Sou de menor e cê não pode me prender”.
Clearly, this song gains a new post-cannabis understanding. But, in the greatest innocence, I guarantee that many sang around (including me) without knowing the meaning.
So, did you like this theme? We love music, art and all expressions – cannabis or not. It is always interesting to see how much our plant permeates artistic relations and culture as a whole, showing that, even in the midst of prohibitionism, it remains alive!
Do you have any suggestions to increase this list of cannabis hymns? Leave it to us here in the comments!