A pair of joints rolled with sheet music
Image by Marina Kozak

What Does Weed Music Sound Like Now?

In this episode of The Pitchfork Review podcast, our critics celebrate 4/20 by talking about the relationship between weed and music throughout history and what it means today.

Our weekly podcast includes in-depth analysis of the music we find extraordinary, exciting, and just plain terrible. This week, Editor-in-Chief Puja Patel and Reviews Director Jeremy D. Larson host Contributing Editor Andy Cush to talk about how the perception of weed within the world of music has changed over the decades, from Cab Calloway to Sublime and beyond. They also discuss Cush’s story on how modern artists like country singer-songwriter Margo Price and noise rockers Chat Pile use weed to enhance their creativity, and pick their go-to 4/20 songs.

Listen to this week’s episode below, and follow The Pitchfork Review here. You can also check out an excerpt of the podcast’s transcript below. 

Puja Patel: Weed is often associated with stoner rock, but do you have examples of artists or albums that feel exciting to listen to while stoned that are like the opposite of that? What comes to mind for me is the new 100 gecs album, 10000 gecs. It’s so deeply chaotic, a producer’s dream of samples and references and little sonic tics, so it’s fun to just listen and be like, ah ha, 20 times in the span of four minutes. 

Andy Cush: One that comes to mind for me is MF DOOM. There’s a certain train of thought in his lyrics that is so virtuosic and amazing, and also feels indebted to the thought process of being high, and your brain making unlikely connections or totally absurd jokes that might not occur to you if you’re sober. It really feels like your internal monologue when you’re high—but of course, no one else’s internal monologue is that funny or that good.

Jeremy D. Larson: In a similar vein, I’ll propose an album by the Avalanches called Since I Left You, which is a genre of music called sampledelica or plunderphonics. Because part of the fun of those albums are the cornucopia of sounds that you get, and hearing someone orchestrate samples and arrange them in incredibly unique and strange ways. It’s very stimulating in a way that’s very different from listening to stoner rock like, say, Sleep’s Dopesmoker, which is just like one thing over and over again. 

Patel: What will you personally be playing in honor of 4/20? You get one answer.

Larson: That’s the thing, is it cool to celebrate 4/20 in 2023? 

Patel: Yes. [laughs]

Cush: I think it’s come back around. 

Larson: OK, great! Well, then I’m going to take a 2.5 milligram edible and listen to a formative album for me growing up: Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters. It gets at everything I love about music and composition and playing, and it’s one of my favorite albums, with or without weed. 

Cush: I’ll give my canonical answer, which is OutKast’s “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.”

Patel: I literally have that as my song too!

Cush: It’s the perfect song.