Freddie Gibbs
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

Freddie Gibbs Is Making Bigger Business Moves Than You Think

Don't worry about Freddie Gibbs, The Businessman. He's winning.

Rapper Freddie Gibbs has made a pretty penny flipping street sales into big business.

 

Freddie Gibbs doesn't like seeds in his weed. Even more importantly, Gibbs' right hand man, Diego, doesn't like seeds in his weed. A cozy trailer parked behind Bonnaroo's The Other Tent has become Gibbs' backstage birthday pre-game spot. Plastic cups, ice bags, wine, champagne, an assortment of juices, sodas and energy drinks, and a half full bottle of Patron (the rapper will take the rest to the face during his debut performance an hour later) crowd the countertop. Gibbs is coolly seated on top of the cooler housing all the cold beers and water. His manager, Pun, is leaning back in a cushioned recliner playing DJ with his iPad, rattling the room. Madlib—the producer, DJ and Piñata collaborator who linked with Gibbs thanks to mutual friends, good marijuana and a musical chemistry that just clicks—is posted up against the wall, passing an already lit blunt to another one of Freddie's L.A. homies. And a stressed out Diego is interrupting Freddie's VIBE interview to point out all the seeds in a batch of weed they copped.

"Aye, shut the f**k up, I'm doing a motherf**king interview, dog!," Freddie jokingly snaps at his childhood friend, hardly bothered. "Can you just roll the weed? I know it got seeds but don't complain right now." Instead of fussing over the problem, he's looking at a solution he can easily provide. "Don't nobody grow no weed like us, n***a. I'm about to put you onto that Freddie Kane strain." ESGN Records' head honcho is referring to one of his moneymakers besides his gift of gab. Gibbs made a name for himself spitting firsthand street narratives of dope sales, robbery and violence, but the budding businessman doesn't intend on gangster rap being the end-all be-all of his legacy.

"I grew up a drug dealer. So now I can deal drugs legally," the Gary, Ind. native says of going the legit route with his strain of indica weed. Originally, Gibbs partnered with Northern Cali's Loompa Farms to grow his product, but business is expanding fast. "We're about to open up a new dispensary. And I'm paying taxes on it. In 2012, the IRS tried to get at me and take a n***a to jail. But f**k them. Now I got sh** in order."

Those who've already sampled the green can vouch for its potency. One Nugs.com toker wrote that Freddie Kane OG could either "[put] your day on smooth cruise control" or "result in skipping a day of the week" depending on how much is consumed. Although Gibbs hasn't specified just how many customers are lining up at the door, his biggest co-sign is telling of his business' success. Gibbs insists that when herbal enthusiast (and his number one favorite rapper of all time) Snoop Dogg tried the strain, he was seeing double. "If I impressed Snoop, f**k everybody else," Gibbs says with a satisfied shrug. "Snoop told me I got good weed and that n***a told me I could rap. I don't give a f**k about what another n***a says.”

SEE ALSO: Snoop Dogg On Taking A Dab And The Nate Dogg Record That Almost Made ‘BUSH’

The same nonchalant attitude he exhibits towards his seedy weed spills over to his way of banking off a finicky music industry. Eyeing a future as an A&R or major music exec a la L.A. Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, he knows how to pimp the system in more ways than one. First of all, the music streaming giants, namely Spotify, Pandora, TIDAL and SoundCloud, that have a bad rap for gypping artists are his friends, not his foes. There’s no one he likes over the other. When we question whether or not he makes substantial funds from Spotify & Co., he bursts into laughter. “F**k you mean? Gangsta Gibbs gets a check,” he says. “These motherf**kers don’t want you to know you get money off of this.”

In an era where record sales are dwindling and performances are primary streams of revenue, Gibbs has found a cozy spot in the festival circuit and touring for his niche audience. “These n***as’ whole careers are predicated on if they can make a radio record or not,” he says of mainstream rappers. “I don't gotta be the n***a at the tippy top. I'm gonna get money like this for the next 20 years. I'll be at these festivals and Europe and American tours for the next 20 years of my life.”

SEE ALSO: First-Time Dad Freddie Gibbs On The Toughest Lesson He’ll Teach His Daughter

After making self-investment his top priority, the new dad—his fiancée Erica Dickerson (formerly of Fuse’s scripted series, The Hustle) recently gave birth to Irie Jane—will always be able to spoil his daughter the way he wants. Even more so than building a loyal fan base from the ground up over the past seven years, Gibbs takes pride in doing it all independently with no machine behind him. “I did that all on my own, so when my check comes back… [It's mine],” he says. “We're getting money. I always got a check. My daughter always has a check because I did that sh** myself. I'm gonna make money off this sh** I made with [Madlib] for the rest of my life. A millionaire off one record.”

Here, the booming entrepreneur details his plans for longevity, the root of his business acumen, how he can breathe new life into dying record labels and why Freddie Gibbs is doing much better than the world thinks he is. —Stacy-Ann Ellis

VIBE: Your Freddie Kane OG supply is taking off during a pivotal time for marijuana in America. Any words of advice for people trying to come up in the legal weed business?
Freddie Gibbs: Hell nah, because I want to get all the money. It's just like the dope game, try to move in on me and you gotta get up. I ain't telling you n***as how to do nothing. I'm gonna keep bringing the n***a fish. You bring a n***a fish, he's gonna eat good. I'm gonna keep letting you n***as eat good, but I'm never gonna take you to the motherf**king water and show you how to fish yourself. My granddaddy taught me that. Never show another n***a where you fish. I'll never show another n***a my fishing hole because he's going to try to get my fish.

Can't be too mad at you for that. Have you tested Freddie Kane on other rappers?
I just tested it with the number one rapper of all time, Snoop Doggy Dog. He smoked that Freddie Kane and he said I thought Freddie Kane was another n***a. Shout out to Snoop. He's the Godfather. The Doggfather. Much love always and respect. Once Snoop Dogg gave me the plug, the stamp, it's all love.

Me and my uncle smokin that #FreddieKane @loompafarms all we smoke #ESGN

A video posted by Frederico Soprano (@freddiegibbs) on

Getting a thumbs up from Uncle Snoop is huge.
I got much love for Snoop. He brought me on GGN and it was an honor and a pleasure. I grew up on that sh**, man. I was a little n***a, maybe second or third grade, I don't know, bumping that "Lodi Dodi." I used to be on some gangsta sh** walking to school with that. And that Chronic.

Were you rocking with N.W.A., too? Because Straight Outta Compton is about to come out.
I grew up on N.W.A, Geto Boys. My dad was listening to that. My mom had me at a young age, like 20, and she was the oldest child. All her brothers were seven and 10, so I was like a younger brother more so than the oldest child. I was the younger brother to all my uncles, so they were going through their childhood and their teenage years and I was right there. Everything that they were loving, I was loving. I wanted to be a gangsta from birth, not because of the music but moreso what I was seeing. What my uncles were doing. I was just fascinated with the street lifestyle from a young age. Of course I wanted to do other sh**. I wanted to be in the NBA. I wanted to be in the NFL. I went to college to play sports, but I got kicked out because that street sh** is just always a part of me. Looking back in hindsight, I used to go through a period in my life where I used to regret it. I used to be mad at myself for not doing the right thing, but I don't feel that way anymore.

Because you still became successful.
Yeah, I became successful and because all of that. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be where I'm at right now. When I got over that and feeling bad about all of that sh**, I became a new me.

And you can't dwell on ill thoughts.
If you've seen the sh** that I've seen, it's a lot of sh** to dwell on. F**k it though, I'm here. You're interviewing me. I'm an interesting ass n***a.

True. Switching gears, given all that's going on in society right now, what would your State of the World address be right now?
You know what, I could say a lot of my thoughts about society right now, but it might f**k me up with my money. There's a lot that I want to say about sh** but I can't say it because I don't want to f**k up my paper. I think a lot of motherf**kers are going to hell in a hand basket with gasoline drawls on their ass. But I ain't gonna call them out. It is what it is. If you turn the mic off, I'll tell you exactly what I'm talking about. The world is some bullsh**. They're gonna try to fool you with money. They're gonna try to f**k you up with religion. They use religion to f**k your whole world up. They'll use religion to have you give you all your money and have you doing some sh** that you don't even want to do. It ain't just Christianity, it ain't just Islam. It's all that religion stuff. I believe in God. I'm not no atheist. I believe in God all day, from all types and kinds of different perspectives. I read the Quran word for word, front to back. I read the Bible like twice. I like to read.

What's one of the latest books you've read?
Scarface's book. That's one of the best books I've ever read. And that's my homie too. So as I'm reading the book, I'm calling him. He had to tell me like, man, just finish the book. So when I got done, I called him and we were on the phone for like an hour. It's a lot of layers to Scarface. That's probably why he's one of my favorite artists. When you peel all those layers back you really get Brad [Jordan]. He's a close friend of mine, so to be able to get that knowledge from him is priceless and helped me get through the last five years of my life and career.

What's the best piece of advice he's given you?
To just always be my own boss. You see the trials and tribulations of what he went through with his career and when you read the book, you see the timelines during the course of the book, when he was happy and the times when he was sad. It seems he was happiest when he got that Dej Jam job. But then that peaked and went down when they wouldn't really sign nothing that he brought. Then Ludacris brought him back up and that made him happy. You can tell his emotions from the book. When I write my book, y'all ain't ready. The sh** that [Scarface] was talking about with crack houses and bleeding n***as blocks out and moving them. I was listening to his sh** as I was doing it. There's probably another n***a out there listening to my sh** as they're doing this sh**. When Jeezy came out, he was telling it to a T. The stove, bricks, these are the measurements. He was breaking it down. That's what made Jeezy so special. He was giving you a clear cut vision of the kitchen and that dope boy lifestyle. Then 'Face talked about it too. He was talking about it in the early '90s. The way Jeezy did it, he made it like… damn. And then Ross compounded upon that and so on. From that you got a whole genre of trapping rap. Me and dude ain't on the same page but I definitely can respect that.

You mention Jeezy, who's well-established and widely known in the music game. What are your thoughts when people refer to you as underrated?
I like it because when you're underrated you always got room to grow. If I'm overrated then I can fall down, but when I'm underrated then I always have room to grow. [Pun: He makes more money than n***as that's overrated though.]

How so?
A n***a can have a hit on the radio and he doesn't make as much money as me. Name a person with a song on the radio and we can run the bank accounts. We can run the checks. I guarantee I get more for a show than most of them n***as on the radio.

And festivals like Bonnaroo are major. It means middle America knows and loves you.
Because it's an organic growth. It was never fake. Ain't no label come behind me with no $100,000 behind a single and put it to the radio. Every place that I've gotten in my career, I've gotten on my own from real growth. I didn't go pay DJs for radio. I was like, I'm just going to grow a fan base. I think everything that happened for me happened organically. That's why I say I'll last longer than the next n***a. I'll be around longer than them because I have classics under my belt thanks to [Madlib].

It sounds like you know exactly what you're doing.
These record labels need to hire me. There are a couple big record labels that want to hire me as an A&R. I'm about to do that. That's going to be the transition of my career. I mean, come on, man, I kept Freddie Gibbs relevant for the last seven years with no label. So imagine if I apply those tactics to another artist with a label's money? I can do that. I kept Freddie Gibbs relevant with dope money. My own money. I ain't never take a check from a label. I ain't never take a dollar from Young Jeezy, contrary to popular belief and contrary to what that n***a said on Hot 97. I never took a dollar from him. That's our discrepancy. But back to that label head sh**, that's definitely in the works right now. I definitely have tactics that a label doesn't have. I took a meeting with a couple labels and they were asking me questions. They don't know what the f**k to do. Major labels are about to be obsolete. They hire young Gibbs in there and they can last another 20 years. They put me in the office and they can do it. But they gotta pay, because we've been doing it on an independent level so smoothly. Now the labels are asking the successful artists questions.

If I'm overrated then I can fall down, but when I'm underrated then I always have room to grow.

So with your business acumen being what it is, what would you tell Lil Wayne with the Cash Money situation he's going through?
Sign with ESGN, let's make this a partnership. Tell him YMESGN. [Laughs] You know what, Lil Wayne is still one of the best rappers of all time. I definitely want to do a record with that man. I definitely respect his pen game and respect his records. I'm not in on their whole business shit, I don't know how that shit is and how it goes.

What are your thoughts on TIDAL and its battle between the rest of the streaming world?
We getting checks off that streaming.

That’s crazy, because several artists have said they don’t make much money from Spotify.
They’re lying.

<So all of them are giving you checks? And do you prefer any over the other?
I don’t discriminate. I got all them apps on my phone. SoundCloud, y’all give a n***a a check now. SoundCloud just monetized. These n***s don’t know. They let the media perpetuate some sh**, ‘Oh, you don’t get money off of this.’ They don’t want you to get your money. They want you to be stupid so they can go get your money. F**k that. I sold dope. You think I’m gonna let a n***a get my money for me? I was in all their faces.

Is it because you’re independent?
Yup. Shout out to the labels. 360 deal killers. We don’t get 360s. Freddie Gibbs doesn’t do record deals with a label. We’re gonna do a partnership if we do some sh**. We’re gonna be partners. You’re gonna have to make me L.A. Reid.

That’s the new way?
That’s my way. That’s the only way. [Pun: If a n***a isn’t independent, he’s lazy.]

Really?
He’s lazy, scared to get out there and scared to use his own motherf**king money. If you ain’t gonna use your own money, how are you gonna get another guy to use their money? Go to radio with your own money. Do this sh** with your own money. Quit depending on a n***a. Quit being a b*tch.

Photo Credit: VIBE/Stacy-Ann Ellis

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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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4/20: A VIBE-Era Timeline Of Hip-Hop's Relationship With Cigars And Rolling Papers

Hip-hop's relationship with Mary Jane has always been a beloved one. From song from artists like Styles P, Curren$y and Snoop Dogg, laying back and enjoying nature's herbs is a coveted pastime in the game.

But we wouldn't be able to enjoy it all without the inclusion of cigars and rolling papers. Sure, we have vapes and other creative ways to reach aerial heights, but the OG accessories bring a different element to the table. The herb holiday might be a perfect time for enthusiasts to light one in the air, but VIBE was inspired to pay homage to hip-hop's love for the preroll.

Only keeping the VIBE-era in mind (starting from 1992), we analyzed companies like Swisher Sweets, Phillies and more, along with its ambassadors throughout the game like Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill and Wiz Khalifa.

Enjoy the brief timeline of Hip-Hop's relationship with cigars and rolling papers below.

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___ 1. Zig Zag

 

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A post shared by Zig-Zag World (@zigzagworld) on Apr 15, 2019 at 1:06pm PDT

Established Since 1855

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1992-1996 / 2009-2013

Most Popular in California

Top Ambassadors: Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Juicy J

In 1988, N.W.A. founder Eazy-E established Zig Zag as the official rolling paper for west-coasters after referencing the brand on a song from his solo debut, Eazy-Duz-It. In subsequent years, Zig Zag would appear on songs from legends like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2Pac, and B-Real, resulting in the brand becoming synonymous with the west coast.

The decline in west coast rap's popularity during the latter half of the '90s would result in a decreased amount of nods to Zig Zag within hip-hop, as other brands continued to dominate the conversation. In 2009, Zig Zag's standing among rap fans would receive a jolt when Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y teamed up for their collaborative mixtape How Fly, which included numerous references to the brand. However, as other brands of rolling papers began to dominate the market, Zig Zag's approval rating faltered slightly, but continues to transcend generations and will forever be remembered as the O.G. smokers utensil.

2. E-Z Wider

Established Since 1972

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1992-1996 / 2008-2011

Most Popular in New York

Top Ambassadors: Wiz Khalifa, Chris Webby

The east coast's affinity for blunts is well-documented, but for a brief period during the '90s, EZ-Wider became the alternative for a select group of rappers out of New York City. Introduced into to hip-hop lexicon by A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg on "Scenario (Demo 2)," EZ-Wider enjoyed a short run among smokers in the hip-hop community before losing its luster by the mid-'90s.

After more than a decade of sporadic mentions in rap songs, EZ-Wider made a comeback. This was largely on the strength of rappers like Wiz Khalifa, who brought the brand back to prominence in the late aughts during his transition from rolling cigars to smoking using paper. Over the past decade, EZ-Wider's popularity has been eclipsed by competing brands in the market, but its place within hip-hop history is secure.

3. Phillies Cigars (Known as Phillie Blunts)

 

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A post shared by Phillies Cigars & Tobacco Fans (@philliescigars) on Oct 7, 2018 at 1:19pm PDT

Established Since 1910

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1992-1999

Most Popular in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta

Top Ambassadors: Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., Redman, Big Pun, Big Boi, N.O.R.E., Big L

The first cigar to truly reign supreme in hip-hop is the Phillie blunt with a history that runs deep. Referenced as early as 1989, the Phillie came to prominence during the early '90s, with rappers like Redman, Nas, and The Notorious B.I.G. becoming unofficial ambassadors of the brand.

Found in some of the most memorable rap songs of all-time, the Phillie blunt was the cigar of choice on the east coast but began to spread to regions like the south and midwest, with artists like Big Boi of Outkast, and Twista singing its praises. By the end of the '90s, the popularity of the Phillie blunt began to wane, and while it still receives the occasional mention for nostalgic purposes, has never regained its stature as the go-to cigar in hip-hop.

4. Swisher Sweets

Established Since 1959

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1993-Present

Most Popular in California, Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, Louisiana

Top Ambassadors: Three 6 Mafia, UGK, 8Ball & MJG, Scarface, Kid Ink, Lil Wayne, Freddie Gibbs, Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa, The Game, Lil Durk, Fat Trel, Ab-Soul, YG, Danny Brown, Fredo Santana, Machine Gun Kelly, Wale, Mac Miller, G-Eazy, G Herbo, Kevin Gates, Jeezy, 21 Savage

During the early '90s, Swisher Sweets emerged as the cigar brand of choice among marijuana enthusiasts in the south and western regions of the country. Since as early as 1993, when rap group Souls of Mischief helped put the brand on the map, Swisher Sweets cigars have become a staple in hip-hop, maintaining their popularity for the better part of a quarter century.

Over the years, Swisher Sweets has been name-dropped in songs by rappers from all corners of the country, but rap legends UGK and Three 6 Mafia were among the brand's most fervent supporters. Today, artists like Gucci Mane and Lil Yachty continue to keep Swisher Sweet in the public consciousness and recognized as one of the legacy smoking utensils in hip-hop culture

5. White Owl Cigarillos

 

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A post shared by Gotham Cigars (@gothamcigars) on Sep 9, 2014 at 8:29am PDT

Established Since 1887

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1993-1997

Most Popular in New York

Top Ambassadors: Wu-Tang Clan

One cigar that caught traction among marijuana aficionados during the early-mid '90s was the White Owl, which became one of the leading brands on the east coast at its peak. Initially popping up on the rap radar via a mention by Gang Starr member Guru in 1992, White Owl would be championed by a number of rap artists out of New York. One act that helped solidify White Owl's standing within hip-hop culture was the Wu-Tang Clan, as numerous members of the Staten Island-based collective paid homage to the brand until its sudden decrease in popularity during the latter half of the decade.

6. Optimo

 

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A post shared by | Cigars (@optimocigars) on Feb 24, 2019 at 5:02pm PST

Established Since 1898

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1997-2001

Most Popular in Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee

Top Ambassador: Juicy J

The Notorious B.I.G. may have immortalized the brand after referencing their cigars on his hit single "Big Poppa," but Optimo's lineage in hip-hop can be actually traced back to the southern region of the country. As rap acts out of the south began to reach a national audience during the latter half of the '90s, Optimo's approval rating skyrocketed as well, quickly becoming the cigar of choice for many of the region's star talent.

This particularly proved true in states like Texas, Louisiana, and Tennessee, where Optimo was considered king among blunt smokers and mentioned at a seemingly constant clip. Optimo cigars are not as prominent in rap lyrics as they once were, but remain a legacy brand in the south and have earned their rightful place in the annals of hip-hop history.

7. Garcia Y Vega

 

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GO GET #1882 BACKWOODS AT YOUR NEAREST SMOKE SHOP!!! #1882s

A post shared by Garcia Y Vega 1882 Cigars (@1882_backwoods) on Jun 22, 2015 at 10:57am PDT

Established Since 1882

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop):1995-2001

Most Popular in New York, California

Top Ambassador: JT tha Bigga Figga

One cigar brand that had a brief, but noteworthy run within hip-hop was Garcia Y Vega, which was touted by various rap artists on the east coast in beyond. Finding its way into a rap song as early as 1994, the popularity of the Garcia Y Vega cigar was largely relegated to the east coast during its peak years in the latter half of the '90s.

The brand's popularity reached all the way to California, where rappers like JT the Bigga Figga helped give Garcia Y Vega its cultural clout. Today, a Garcia Y Vega cigar is largely considered a relic, but its recognition within the hip-hop community as one of the defining brands for blunt-gut spillers is well-deserved.

8. Dutch Masters Cigars

 

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#DutchMastersCigars

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Established Since 1911

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1996-2008

Most Popular in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia

Top Ambassadors: Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, The Lox

In terms of sheer dominance of the market, Dutch Masters was once at the top of the list of cigars among marijuana smokers. Introduced by members of the Wu-Tang Clan during the group's rise to power, Dutch Masters would quickly catch on with fellow New Yorkers, including like-minded rap acts Mobb Deep and The LOX.

By the time the smoke from the cigar wars of the '90s cleared, Dutch Masters was the clear victor, as the brand extended its dominance into the next decade. While Dutch Masters' stronghold on the lungs of rap artists and fans alike began to dissipate by the end of the aughts, the brand still receives nods til this day and remains the go-to cigar within the hip-hop community.

9. Backwoods Smokes

 

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Rate these 1-10 and why? #exoticbackwoods

A post shared by Backwoods Cigars (@backwoods_cigars) on Mar 26, 2019 at 3:41pm PDT

Established Since 1973

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 1998-2005, 2013-Present

Most Popular in New York, Philadelphia, California, Texas, Atlanta

Top Ambassadors: Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Mac Dre, Travis Scott, Lil Yachty,

One cigar that has transcended regions and managed to sustain its standing among marijuana smokers is the Backwood, which has a history that is as rich as any brand in hip-hop. Referenced in a rap lyric as far back as 1994, by the turn of the century, Backwoods saw a spike in popularity, with rappers from the east coast and west coasts singing its praises.

After finding equal footing with the competing cigar brands at the time, Backwoods' visibility within rap dipped during the latter half of the aughts, before returning to prominence the next decade. This was due in large part to the influx of a new generation of rap stars gravitating to the brand, resulting in it regaining its reputation as the unofficial cigar of hip-hop as of 2019 and moving forward.

10. RAW Rolling Papers

 

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A few cones a day.. : @ganjawitness #rawlife #natural #rollingpapers #alcoyspain #rawpapersovereverything

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Established Since 2005

Peak Years of Popularity (In Hip Hop): 2012-Present

Most Popular in North America

Top Ambassadors: Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, 2 Chainz, Mick Jenkins, Chris Webby, Z-Ro, Futuristic

As the new kid on the block, RAW Rolling Papers may lack the rich history of other brands in the market, however, its place as the current smoking utensil of choice in hip-hop cannot be denied.

Establishing itself right in time for the cultural gravitation to rolling papers during the late aughts, RAW Rolling Papers capitalized on early cosigns from marijuana mavens like Wiz Khalifa and Curren$y to infiltrate the culture. With about a decade since its first mention in a rap song, RAW Papers have become a cultural institution in their own right, partnering with various rap artists and connecting the dots between hip-hop, culture, and marijuana.

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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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