Rappers like Cypress Hill, Method Man and Redman have spent much of their careers crafting tracks dedicated to marijuana. Songs like Cypress’s “I Wanna Get High” (1993) and Meth & Red’s “How High” (1995) are just two of hip-hop’s more popular cannabis odes. Dr. Dre even went as far as to dedicate entire albums to smoking weed, with 1992’s The Chronic and 1999’s 2001.
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Chronic, dro, purp and haze are just a few of the terms used by MCs for their weed, but these days it’s all about the kush, an indica-dominant strain of cannabis that is known as one of the highest qualities of pot—hip-hop’s latest favorite name-drop.
The word kush, which means “happiness” in Hindi, is grown in Afghanistan, northern Pakistan and northwestern India. With hip-hop’s elevated-tax-bracket lifestyle, rapping about anything less than the best takes a backseat. That’s where kush comes in, costing almost twice the amount, per gram, as other strains of weed, in some instances more than $30 a gram. The types vary, including OG Kush, Bubba Kush, and even “flavored” hybrids, like Cranberry Kush. “I think kush is the new gangsta rap,” says rapper and kush enthusiast Curren$y, who even has a song called “Lemon Kush.” “When [rappers] wanna rap about cars, they rap about old-schools and Ferraris and Lamborghinis, because that’s that gangsta shit. When you gonna talk about weed, you gonna talk about the best, whether you have it or not. That’s why so many people talkin’ about [kush].” Kush has become one of the more popular topics rhymed about in hip-hop lately.
There’s Lil Wayne’s “Kush” (2007), Dame Grease’s “OG Kush” (2009) and Dr. Dre’s “Kush,” with Snoop Dogg and Akon. Wiz Khalifa even named his critically acclaimed mixtape Kush & Orange Juice. And folks can’t forget Gucci Mane’s 2009 record “Kush Is My Cologne,” featuring Bun B and Devin the Dude.
So why are rappers so high on kush? “I’ve written raps sober, but I get ’em done quicker when I’m on my kush,” says Curren$y. “I mean, I hate to say it, but I feel the music a little bit better. That’s what the kush brings to the creative process.” He must wear kush cologne. —Kathy Iandoli