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VIBE Summer 2014 Cover Story: Mack Wilds

MR. NICE GUY

Mack Wilds got his start as a good (stickup) kid in The Wire's mad city. Now he’s looking for his next come up: R&B heavyweight. Can he steal your heart?

STORY: Clover Hope | PHOTO: Sarah McColgan

Up the stairs, past the main pole and the women with strings for clothes, Mack Wilds is in the VIP section of Club Lust doing his job—reintroducing himself. He’s wearing a grey sweatshirt with black-and-white LeBrons on his feet. A black bandana hangs from his back denim pocket. He greets me with a grin (he’s a smiler) and a tight hug, as if we’re cousins at a family function and not a Sunset Park, Brooklyn strip club during graveyard shift hours. As DJ Self plays a soundtrack of sinful staples, from Juvenile’s “Slow Motion” to Chris Brown’s “Loyal,” Wilds works the room, posing for pics and exchanging daps with men in camo and women in leggings. They can’t quite put a name to the face, but they recognize him as that kid from The Wire.

A dancer in a black thong, a Pam-from-Total hairdo and an ultra-cropped white tee that hugs her boobs saunters up next to his bodyguard, Brick. Mack is seated. She looks at him quizzically, and then leans in, her ass inches from the Cîroc bottles on the table.

“You rap? Or sing?” she asks, with a little hood in her voice.
“Sing...” says Wilds.
“What song do I know?”
“‘Henny’?”
“Oh!” She does a little shimmy. “Heh-nuh-see! Heh-nuh-see!”

Wilds nods and ignores the slight. On HBO’s The Wire, Tristan Wilds, as Michael Lee, looked like the kid worth saving from Baltimore’s criminal corners. Mack Wilds, the 25-year-old R&B singer, still looks like a boy in the face, though he no longer needs saving. He’s on to his second act—convincing us that he’s not just a singing actor. And he’s aiming for a career track that might place him in the company of actors who’ve made that improbable (and profitable) leap into music—Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez, instead of, say, Eddie Murphy. So for the past year, Wilds has been the Waldo of New York events. Club Lust is one of his many appearances.

It’s hard not to dismiss his recording pursuits as mere recreation. Drifting into music from Hollywood (his respectable post-HBO roles include the George Lucas-produced Red Tails and The Secret Life of Bees) generally attracts skepticism. But Wilds surpassed low expectations with his debut project, 2013’s New York: A Love Story. A stream of soft, moody ballads and club tracks seasoned with East Coast rap beats (from legends Pete Rock, DJ Premier and Salaam Remi), the album earned him a 2014 Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album, which surprised everyone, including him. “I’m still in awe by this whole process,” he says. “It’s nuts.”

The mainstream validation upped Wilds’ stock, and his summer schedule now includes an opening spot on the Under the Influence of Music tour with Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa and Tyga. “People don’t even realize there’s an album out—and that it’s actually kinda good,” says Wilds, only mildly frustrated. “It’s that initial feeling, like, Why would he do this? I can’t be mad at that. Like with Justin Timberlake. When he jumps into acting, he’ll have actors like, ‘Oh my god, what is he doing?’ But he’s good. And he’s not just good. He’s brilliant and he’s funny and has charisma.”

Mack knows that JT’s evolution from Mickey Mouse Club to boy band star to pop icon-slash-reputable actor is incomparable. But he’s quick to stress his own work ethic. His peers are easily classified as either vocalists posturing as hardcore rappers (Ty Dolla $ign, his covermate August Alsina), ethereal penmen (Miguel, Frank Ocean) or Chris Brown. Mack is the ’round-the-way guy. He’s the gentleman in the strip club. He’ll toss singles and entertain the dancers at Lust, per expectations. But when a particularly aggressive stripper shoves a set of dimpled cheeks in my face, he extends a hand, Prince Charming-style, to rescue me. He doesn’t abuse the bottle service—he only drinks “for celebratory occasions.”

Actors are masters at deflecting and playing faux humble, but Wilds is the instantly likable type whose unpretentiousness seems genuine. It’s hard to imagine him as an undercover jerk, and those who’ve worked with him will corroborate that the modesty is real. “He’s not putting on for the crowd, trying to portray something he’s not,” says Ne-Yo, who co-wrote Wilds’ single, “Own It.” “I like the raw, realness of Mack’s album. It’s New York to its core, which is what he exudes, yet not in a typical way. The music is comfortable in its own skin.”

In actuality, being a double threat is a minor handicap (Wilds auditions for film roles regularly “to keep it sharp,” he says). But perception is everything. “I’m a realist in a sense,” he says. “Like, where am I gonna survive in a world of 2 Chainz and Drake? Frank, Miguel and all of these guys. I remember coming across them in my travels and being like, ‘Yo, bro, I got some music coming up.’ And they’re like, ‘Okay, cool, how’s that movie going?’”

***

Two days after Lust, Wilds hosts a Saturday afternoon block party for the Fashion Institute of Technology. The gig involves a short performance of “Own It” and “Henny,” plus emcee duties for the school’s amateur fashion show. The sparse crowd consisted of no more than 50 students and passersby in the street. “Dixon is performing on stage right now. He sings,” says a blonde girl over the phone.

Afterward, Wilds hops in a SUV with his two road managers and Brick. He cues the original version of his album cut, “The Sober Up”—a dreamy morning-after tune written by James Poyser—and taps his customized, paint-splashed Timberlands to the beat. Love Story is primarily self-written and was released through Salaam Remi’s Sony Music imprint, Louder Than Life. The album closes with “Duck Sauce,” an ode to hood Chinese spots. So naturally, we’re headed to Mack’s favorite Chinese restaurant, Wo Hop, in Chinatown, a place where collages of police badges and photos of patrons litter the walls. “It’s like walking into an old Kung Fu flick,” he says.

Wilds is from Staten Island, a borough that means little to most New Yorkers. From first through 12th grade, he went to a predominantly white school outside of his Stapleton Projects zone—Michael J. Petrides School—where he hung in creative circles. Hearing his older brother and high school friends brag about acting auditions made him anxious to follow suit. His mom, a beautician turned stockbroker (“It was something she fell into,” says Wilds), gave him money for a MetroCard and professional headshots to get started. “She always made sure we were super independent,” says Wilds. “She’d say, ‘If you make it, it’s your fault. If you fail, it’s your fault.’”

His first commercial, a spot for a toy car, involved running around a supermarket. Wilds got The Wire at 17, after a role in the Spike Lee production Miracle’s Boys, a TV series on the little known network, The N. The show co-starred Julito McCullum, another kid from The Wire. No one remembers it. Everyone remembers The Wire’s 2008 series finale, in which Wilds’ good-kid character shoots a shop owner in the knee and becomes the new stickup man. “The Wire was eerily comfortable because it was so similar to my neighborhood,” says Wilds. “I was in the streets one day with Snoop [played by Felicia Pearson] and the producers were like, ‘You can’t do that. These kids will kill you, thinking that they’re killing Michael.”

If not for The Wire, an indisputable top-five greatest show ever, a shot at music would be less probable. Salaam Remi was a fan of Tristan, the actor, before meeting him at the BMI Awards and signing him in 2012. “People liked his character’s integrity on The Wire, which wasn’t too far from the integrity that he has himself,” says Remi.

Wilds’ five-year run as the clean-cut Dixon in the rebooted 90210—a role he chose over playing Lil Cease in Notorious—made him even more of a suburban household name. In between shooting, Wilds sat in on studio sessions with Remi, playing apprentice. Every time he sang, people were surprised. “He’s not doing the play-play Auto-Tune singing. He can do a lot with his voice,” says Remi. “When we were recording ‘Don’t Turn Me Down,’ I left the room and came back in and Mack nailed the falsetto. [Producer] Rico Love looked at me, like, ‘Wow, I ain’t think he could do this, but this is special.’ Most people hear it and they’re like, ‘Who’s the girl on the record?’ And then they realize, it’s actually Mack.”

In his music, Wilds is the sensitive humble-bragger with a slight edge who’ll say things like, “You’re the only one I let see this side of me”; the guy who might not realize when a girl is really feeling him. Standing on the sidewalk outside Wo Hop, Coke can in hand, Wilds carries cartons of leftover fried rice and wings. Besides socializing professionally, he dates (not Sevyn Streeter, as rumored), and he’s open to a ’round-the-way chick. Maybe someone like Yaya, his childhood crush, the girl who all the boys wanted. Even then, Mack was modest about his charms. “I remember thinking, she doesn’t like me, and tried to leave it at that,” he says. That changed one day while they were playing Skully—a game with bottle caps—in the street. “We were all joking around, kicking each other’s bottle caps,” he says. “Next thing you know, while everyone else is play fighting, she grabs me up, throws me up against the wall and kisses me. That was my first love.”

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Then & Now: The O'Jays Highlight Their Rich Discography, Trump And New Album 'The Last Word'

Soul legends The O'Jays have seen a lot throughout their time in the game and displayed the state of the world through 31 albums. Their latest and final album The Last Word is no different as the trio dedicates tracks like "Above the Law" towards social injustice and callings of a love movement on "Enjoy Yourself."

For this session of VIBE's Then & Now series, group co-founders Gerald Levert and Walter Williams take a trip down memory lane with their biggest hits. It wasn't easy as the group has a slew of Top 20 Billboard hits like "Love Train," "Used Ta Be My Girl" and the stirring "Backstabbers," but the duo made sure to share how the tracks were made with spiritual undertones thanks to Philadelphia songwriting icons Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

"That song had a big fat message of love, the bible speaks of love throughout it," Williams says about their 1974 hit "Love Train." "It was an idea when we went in the studio. They had the track and we recorded the background but no verses. But [Kenny] Gamble wrote the first and second verses and we went in the studio and tried it out and went on to do the adlibs. Because of the lyrical content, you can feel where it was going."

The two also showed love for those who have sampled their work like Angie Stone and Drake. The rapper cleverly interpolated 1972's "Backstabbers" in his 2016 hit, "Fake Love" while Stone lifted the track for her 2002 single "Wish I Didn't Miss You."

"I like him, I like his message and I liked his delivery," Levert said about Drake's approach to the sample. "I like where he's going in his music. There's not a lot of profanity and cursing and saying a lot of negative words. There's a message in his music."

Often praised for their political undertones, Williams and Levert say their ability to stay consistent allowed them to make some of the most timeless music in R&B.

"It's tough to get around but you have to be persistent," Williams said. "You have to go after what you want today. You have to stay relentless and then you get action."

Levert notes that today's artists are holding back when it comes to speaking up against the political machine. "I think the younger artists are too afraid to hurt their fanbase by taking a stand," he said. "They're too afraid to offend or think, 'It's not my fight. Things have changed, we don't need to address that.' Things are not gonna change as long as you don't speak out on it. If you just keep letting things go on and you never have anything to say, they will continue to go that way."

Watch Then & Now with The O'Jays up top.

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Scott Harrison

Music Sermon: The Divinity Of Luther Vandross

“There are voices in this world and once they sing, it’s a stamp on everybody.” Bravo producer and personality Andy Cohen was asking Patti Labelle about her dear friend Luther Vandross on talk show Watch What Happens Live. “Luther’s done that.”

Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. was the preeminent urban pop singer; the essence of ‘80s quiet storm R&B. He was called “the velvet voice” and “the Black Pavarotti,” but there’s not really a male predecessor he compares to because he didn’t pattern himself after the soul men like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, or Teddy Pendergrass. He studied the divas. Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Patti Labelle were the voices that fascinated and inspired a young Luther. Seeing Dionne Warwick live at the Brooklyn Fox Theater made him realize he wanted to sing. “She came on stage and just killed me; the music was more serious, the song value was more serious. 'Anyone Who Has a Heart' was a masterpiece,” he told The Washington Post. “I decided at that point that I wanted to do something in music."

The difference informs the distinction between him and most other men of R&B. Luther sang from a softer space, topically and tonally. He usually sang from a gentle, easy place. Not urgent. Not aggressive. Never suggestive. His first greatest hits compilation was titled The Best of Luther, The Best of Love because his entire catalog was love. Romantic and devoted love, not sex or lust. Adoration. And while his voice is appreciated–he’s featured on every greatest vocalist list of note–the full range and depth of Luther’s vocal craftsmanship are not. He was a writer, producer, and one of the greatest vocal manipulators in the game, as well-known and sought-after from early in his career for his vocal arrangements as his singing. The New York Times once described Luther as having an “obsession with the human voice, bordering on clinical.” Some people’s gifts are leagues beyond the old talent-plus-preparation-equals-opportunity equation. Some are truly called, anointed even. Luther was divinely appointed.

The world was officially introduced to Luther in 1981, but he was already an established singer’s singer on the professional circuit. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, teenaged Luther was part of youth performing arts group sponsored by the Apollo Theater called Listen My Brother. Their music was largely social commentary, and they performed in and around New York, including on the very first episode of Sesame Street.

In 1974, Luther accidentally landed a gig as a background singer and arranger for David Bowie. He visiting a friend in Bowie’s band at the studio, and talking about an idea to improve the hook for “Young Americans,” unaware that the singer was standing within earshot. Bowie loved the idea, hired Luther, and quickly became a champion for the young singer’s budding career. Luther handled vocal arrangements for the entire Young Americans album, and additionally wrote the album cut “Infatuation.” He also performed a 45-minute opening set of his own material each night on tour, at Bowie’s insistence.

Luther’s singing here on the far left.

Bowie then introduced the crooner to Bette Midler, who took him on tour, and Luther’s career as an in-demand background singer and arranger was underway. His study of great female vocalists helped him develop an ear that set him apart. “One of the contexts you have to understand was that the background singing has always been a female-dominated area,” Luther explained in an early interview. “I was bringing stuff on my own to the sessions that was kind of unique in terms of how to do background vocals. And later I learned never to give away anything you can sell, so I started charging for this extra bit of approach, which was fine, because by this time everyone wanted it so bad that they were willing to pay for it.”

Over the years, Luther sang with Carley Simon, Chic (“Everybody Dance”), Average White Band, Chaka Khan, and Roberta Flack, who chided him for getting too comfortable as a background singer and encouraged him to finally put a demo together. Due to his own intimate relationship with excellence in backing vocals, Luther was famously known to always use the top talent in the business for his albums. A read through the personnel of his catalogue will reveal names including Cissy Houston, James Ingram, Darlene Love, Tawatha Agee (lead singer of Mtume), premiere professional backing vocalists like Fonzi Thornton, and Lisa Fischer, who Luther pushed to get out of her comfort zone and record as Flack did with him.

During a recording session for Quincy Jones, Luther was introduced to a commercial producer, who then helped him break into the jingle-writing business. He’s always been credited with his ability to write an infectious hook–that talent was honed with jingles.

Before Luther took the solo leap, he tried the group route. He briefly had a deal as part of a group called, appropriately, Luther. They recorded two albums, but neither made any noise. Then, he joined disco group Change as their frontman and had two hits, including one of my favorite mood-boosting, make everything right anthems.

Luther had a little money in his pocket from commercials and background singing, and from writing and producing a song for the Broadway musical-turned-major motion picture The Wiz.

Oh, you didn’t know Luther wrote “A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)”?

He had the means to record and produce his demo himself, and assembled what became his career dream team. While in the group Listen My Brother, Luther met pianist Nat Adderly, Jr., son of jazz trumpeter Nat Adderley and nephew of saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. As a session singer, he met bassist Marcus Miller and recommended him to Gladys Knight, and the two bonded while on tour. He recruited them both to put together the songs that eventually became Never Too Much, and they were key contributing architects to Luther’s signature sound.

Miller is responsible for those slappin’ basslines that were prevalent in Luther’s early work, and for most of Luther’s uptempo cuts. “I never had any official responsibilities with Luther because we used to just work,“ Marcus shared in an interview, “but I felt like one of my (unspoken) responsibilities was to make sure Luther had tracks on his album that could be played on the radio during the day time.”

Adderley’s genius came through in Luther’s trademark covers. In Luther’s case, “remake” is a more apt description than “cover,” because he and Nat would take the original songs apart, stretch them out, invert them, slow parts down, add sections, reverse some sh*t… it was a whole different composition when they were done. The lush string and woodwind arrangements in Luther ballads are Nat’s handiwork. Incredible piano flourishes and solos, also Nat.

When both Miller and Adderley worked on the track, magic ensued, starting with Luther’s forever-a-bop solo debut “Never Too Much.” Coming out of the funk band driven ‘70s landscape, labels were doubtful of Luther’s smooth solo style. Epic finally took a chance, and it hit just as popular urban music went through its next evolution, which happened to be right in Luther’s sonic pocket.

“Luther, Marcus Miller and I had a real musical connection,” Nat has said. “We saw stuff the same way. We thought of things in the same way. When we came together, we really learned about each other and fed off of each other.”

Luther knew who he was as a singer and an artist. He wrote and produced the majority of his early material, and continued to co-write and co-produce through most of his career. He was clear on what worked for him both vocally and formulaically. Marcus Miller shared, “One of the things I used to hear him say was ‘I don’t need to compete with any other singers. Other singers sing hard, high, and with a lot of riffs. That’s not me. That’s not my thing. I’m just going to style these people to death.’” And he styled us to death, honey. Luther was the king of melisma and dramatic effect, but without oversinging. Where most vocalists would build towards a climax in the song, Luther’s structure was often reversed. He’d start easy, build during the middle, and come back to a soft, light, but emotional close.

This careful, deliberate singing was part of his genius. There’s a reason Black folks yell “Take your time,” to soloists when they’re in their bag–mastery isn’t rushed.

As I mentioned before, Luther was also a transformative cover artist. Would straight Deebo your song – that was his song, now. And artists didn’t even mind, because he elevated it so incredibly. Some of Luther’s biggest hits are covers: “Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me” (The Carpenters and Aretha Franklin), “Anyone Who Had a Heart” (Dionne Warwick), “Since I Lost My Baby” (The Temptations), “Bad Boy/Having a Party” (an interpolation of Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party”), “If Only for One Night” (Brenda Russell), “Creepin’” (Stevie Wonder). He was a repeat offender with Dionne Warwick’s material from Burt Bacharach and Hal David, jacking not just “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” the song that blew him away at a young age, but also “A House is Not a Home”–on the same album. And she didn’t even care, look at her.

Luther’s capabilities as Mr. Steal-Your-Song also translated to his strength as a duet partner. He knew how to blend voices so perfectly, he was outstanding when paired with another strong vocalist. Luther produced Cheryl Lynn’s 1982 album Instant Love, and took the opportunity to use a Tammi and Marvin classic to showcase the singer’s strength beyond uptempo dance hits.

One of my favorite Luther duets and covers is an album cut with the tragically uncelebrated Martha Wash. Their version of the torch song standard “I Who Have Nothing,” is a little heavy on production in some places, especially the early ‘90s R&B sax, but their voices are perfect together. And the breakdown at the end? Whew. All the feels. All of them.

But Luther could also do very sweet and simple arrangements, like his duet with Gregory Hines. This song always makes me wish Gregory had done more professional singing after he left musical theater.

Don’t get it twisted, though, Luther specialized in controlled vocals, but he could act a fool when he wanted to. Especially when playing off the energy of another singer, like his dear friend and my favorite Auntie, queen of extra just because she can, Patti Labelle.

Jenifer Holliday and Luther messed around and pushed poor Paul Simon out of his own damn song.

Luther was a balladeer of elite caliber, but he’ll also get an uptempo jumpin’, literally. When Aretha’s career was in a lengthy lull and facing the challenges of a new musical era, Clive Davis called Luther to write and produce for her. Luther, who once called himself an "Arethacologist," was thrilled to work with one of his biggest idols and inspirations. But Luther was a very exacting producer; he would tell vocalists specifically what and how to sing. Auntie Re wasn’t playing that at first, and even stormed out of the studio at one point, but the end result was her biggest hit in seven years.

Luther himself has several cookout and red cup party classics. Tunes that me, you, your mama and your cousin can dance to. That’s part of the beauty in Luther’s music; there’s no content too mature–or too immature–for anyone. While recalling Luther, Marcus Miller remarked, “There is no greater feeling in the world than walking down the street in New York City and hearing a Luther song blasting in the street.” I can personally confirm, as someone who’s heard Luther blasting while in these New York City streets.

What I don’t believe is acknowledged enough is Luther’s longevity. A 20-year career is a rare feat for any artist, but especially for a core R&B singer who started in the ‘80s. Luther did have pop hits–“Here and Now” was one of the biggest wedding songs of the ‘90s–but he was always a core R&B artist, and always stayed on brand and on topic. He was somewhat inactive in the latter ‘90s after ending his contract with Epic Records; he released one album with Virgin records in 1996, but it’s not usually included in his definitive material. Whispers and speculation about his health began, as he’d spent much of the ‘90s going up and down dramatically with his weight. But he made a fierce return in the early aughts. His final two albums, with Clive Davis’ J. Records, were two of the biggest in his career, with material that was relevant and contemporary without sounding contrived.

This song makes me want to put on some white linen and go on somebody’s boat ride.

As secure as Luther had always been in his artistry, he still felt overlooked as a writer and producer and longed for critical recognition beyond R&B. Out of 33 career Grammy nominations with eight wins, only two were in the Pop category. It wasn’t until his final album, 2003’s Dance With my Father, that Luther earned the elusive Song of the Year nomination and subsequent win he’d been longing for, for the album’s title track. But he also suffered a debilitating stroke in April 2003, before the project’s release. Since he was unable to shoot a video, artists who loved him stepped in with their children or parents as a tribute. Warning: this video may cause severe allergy flareups.

I have no doubt that barring health issues, Luther would at minimum still be touring. He was one of the most thorough live performers I’ve ever seen, with production simple enough to keep the vocals as the centerpiece, but extra enough so you were visually entertained as well (lots of sequins). Luther was touring in 2003 until his stroke (do yourself a favor and listen to his Live at Radio City Music Hall album, his last live appearance), and was scheduled to perform at Essence Festival that year. Can you imagine Luther at Essence Fest?

When news of Luther’s death broke, my mother and I–both huge fans–were driving to a family reunion, and we played and sang along to his music for about four states. I still play Luther when I need a boost, or when I want to burrow deep down into my feelings. When I want to go into chill mode, or when I want to dance around the house. Luther is all-purpose. He is all-emotion. He is everything. He was a gift.

--

#MusicSermon is a weekly series by Naima Cochrane that highlights the under-acknowledged and under-appreciated urban artists and sub-genres from the '90s and earlier. The series seeks to tell unknown and/or forgotten stories that connect the dots between current music, culture and the foundations of the past.

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Issa Vibe: The Best Songs To Fit Your Different 4/20 Sessions

April 20th isn’t a national holiday, but it might as well be.

Although recreational marijuana use is only legal in 10 states, the U.S. is home to approximately 35 million regular users of cannabis, according to a survey done by Yahoo News and Marist University. That's 10.6 percent of the American population and while that may seem minuscule, the numbers are growing daily and it's understandable.

Weed has now become a staple of American culture; it's become a legitimate business in the states where it's legal, it's now part of the way people socialize, and better yet it's a theme in some of the hottest music out today. "Kush" has been included in some of the hardest verses that millennials and generation-z kids have heard in their lifetime.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, amazing emcees in their own right, are also widely known for their love of the green plant. Wiz's biggest album, Rolling Papers is clearly influenced by weed and along with the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Young, Wild & Free" is all about that green positivity.

There's an endless list of hits about rolling up a joint, hitting it and passing it, but what about moods? Whether it's a bowl, a blunt or an edible weed, can leave people feeling a variety of ways and that all can be traced to a certain strand of weed someone's inhaling, or the mood they're already.

Regardless, it's important to be prepared and have music ready to match whatever feelings marijuana concocts; and that's why VIBE compiled an adequate list of songs for each of the main pot moods.

So on this 4/20, sit back, relax, smoke and find the songs that suit the vibe.

___

The "Let Me Chill Out" Mood 

Sometimes the best way to come down from an over the top high is to play some tunes with a soft beat and a light voice. The best artists in the game right now, like Jhené Aiko for instance, have created that sound that's perfect for when relaxation is needed, so of course, she made the list.  These are the top four songs that can help anyone kick back and relax if a pull from a joint just isn't hitting the right way.

"Blue Dream" by Jhené Aiko "Muse" by Afro Nostalgia "Summer Games" by Drake "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar (feat. Zacari) The Bad B*tch Hours or "Top Two and I'm Not Two" Mood 

You look around the room and realize: you're top two and you're not two in it. All it took was one or a couple of puffs and then a pass to make you feel pretty good about yourself. One of the main upsides to smoking that's constantly mentioned in the media is that it can help alleviate chronic pain, well, another positive to it is that it can leave you feeling sexy, sensual and everything in between.

This is that high that can make you feel that you're significant other is lucky to have you, and subsequently makes you hit them up, that tells you: you're single and ready to mingle. It's a smoking session that lets you know: if you shoot your shot now, you'll score and it's a session that you want music playing that only affirms how sultry and seductive you feel. If this is how 4/20 leaves you feeling, putting on some RiRi or even Young Thug can effectively get you 'in your bag.'

"Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis (feat. Jorja Smith) "Worth It" by Young Thug "Smoke Break" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Future) The "Head in the Clouds" Mood 

More often than not, edibles have the power of leaving people spaced out and speaking slowly, after consuming them. Sometimes smoking weed, or hotboxing with friends is a silent event. Either everyone's consumed by their phones, or every other person has been looking at a nonexistent spot on the wall for the past 15 minutes.

Regardless this isn't the high where people want to hear "Act Up" by City Girls, no matter how much they love them. No, this is the high where people need music that takes them on a journey. Songs where the production is out of this world and it seems like the artist specifically made the song for a smoke session like no other. Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is full of tracks with that vibe, and Lil' Wayne, a weed connoisseur of his own, has songs that fulfill that need too. Smoke a bit and let the weed do its thing.

"ASTROTHUNDER" by Travis Scott "I Feel Like Dying" by Lil' Wayne "Hyyer" by Kid Cudi "St. Tropez" by J. Cole The "Got the Giggles" Mood 

This is when the blunt hits perfectly and there's nothing wrong in the world or when the bowl did its' job and leaves everyone feeling silly. A "feel good high" is the best way to describe and the best way to live through that kind of smoke session is to listen to some "feel good music." These are the songs that can have people swaying unknowingly to its' beat, or the tracks that leave people smiling from ear to ear. This is the session that lets people know that "this is it chief," and here are the best songs to go along with it.

"Pass the Vibes" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment "Dreamcatcher" by Metro Boomin' (feat. Swae Lee & Travis Scott) "It's a Vibe" by 2 Chainz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko) "Binz" by Solange
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