Ye Ali x FrankHaveMercy-37(1)

Ye Ali Talks 'TrapHouse Jodeci,' Love For Toronto and Bryson Tiller Comparisons

Ye Ali is nothing like what you may assume.

Ye Ali is nothing like what you may assume.

Born and raised in a Muslim household in Hammond, Indiana, Ali first gained his affinity for music from his father. Though he was banned from listening to the genre he peppers now with his hazy cuts these days, back then, he drowned his young ears in ‘70s and ‘80s music. “My dad’s a country fellow from Chicago, who grew up on a farm, so he appreciated music,” he says of his first introductions to melodic tunes. “[I listened to] a lot of country and a lot of old soulful music. Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Anika Baker, George Jones, and a lot of Dolly Parton. I grew up listening to Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.”

As any normal child would, Ali eventually snuck to get his first taste of rap, copping Ludacris’ Back For The First Time, Word of Mouf and hitting a Lil Wayne show. From there, he was hooked.

Nowadays, an earful of the former English teacher’s Soundcloud-accessible R&B loosies, like “Cashin Out,” “Thigh Kisser” and “LateNightFlex”––which were eventually compiled into his 16–track effort Private Suite––could force any casual listener to draw hasty comparisons to the handful of artists situated neatly in the melancholy genre of rap-singing. (See: PartyNextDoor, Bryson Tiller and Tory Lanez.) But according to the self-proclaimed southern boy outta Indiana, he’s been carving out his piece of The Weeknd’s sonic frontier long before anyone else rode the subdued, vibey wave. “I’ve been making my brand of music since 2011,” he says. “You can trace that back to any artists’ timeline. See what they were doing then and then see what I was doing. I was TrapHouse Jodeci before anybody was anything else.”

With the release of his long-awaited 12-track project of the same name, TrapHouse Jodeci––a moniker birthed from his Kappa Alpha Psi party days––the now L.A.-based rap-singing songwriter offers more cuts best fit for drug-induced after-parties, bedroom foreplay or sunny days riding around in a drop-top but with added introspection. “As you listen to the project, I give you a real sense of who I am, where I am right now and where I’m headed.”

On the anniversary of Aaliyah’s death (R.I.P. Baby Girl), VIBE picked up the phone to rap with Ye Ali about Static Major’s influence on his life, his affiliation with The 6ix and how he shrugs off comparisons.

VIBE: There’s this misconception that you’re from TO. Why do you think that is?
Ye Ali: I’ve always had a stronghold in Toronto in a weird way just because of certain artists I worked with early in their careers, producers I’ve worked with since 2011. Since Toronto’s boom, a lot of those artists and producers got bigger and we pretty much stayed cool. You wonder how somebody from Indiana could have so many people over there, but it’s kinda like extended family. My engineers are over there, my producers, my younger brother. So, I’ve always had a family thing in Toronto. They always showed me love early in my career when I was mainly doing songwriting and features here and there, so they just love me over there and I love ‘em back. I actually worked with some of these best producers from Toronto on this album.

Which producers?
Co-production for the intro track “Ammunition” was done by Neenyo. He did a lot of work on that Drake and Future collab album [What A Time To Be Alive]. He works mainly with the guys over at the OVO camp and he reached out to me on Twitter. He heard a snippet of a song I was previewing and he hit me up like, ‘Yo, I wanna add something to this.’ I was like, ‘Dude, definitely. You’re a legend.’ My homie G.RySls isn’t from Toronto, but he works really exclusively with those guys over there, and he did “Autograph” off my album. Then, my last homie’s name is Jordon Manswell. He produced “Songs About You.”

It’s just a small world. My name over there has a pretty good reputation so people don’t mind reaching out and working with me knowing that they’ll get fully credited and properly championed when the release is here.

You’re originally from Hammond, Indiana. How did your Midwest upbringing shape your sound?
My childhood was a fun one and my dad always challenged me to push myself and choose to understand what’s around me and what I listen to. He wouldn’t let me listen to rap until I essentially went to college, so I used to have to sneak and listen to rap. Rap had a lot of negative connotations to him and he didn’t see why I had to listen to music with cursing in it and why I couldn’t appreciate other forms of music. On many drives home, my dad wouldn’t let me listen to songs with words in it. He always expressed that I needed to appreciate instrumentation more than words, even from me watching Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes, stuff that had classical music in it. He just made sure I was in band, choir and acting classes to get me familiar with the art and how to appreciate it.

Who were some of the first rap artists you listened to? You’ve been very vocal about being a Lil Wayne fan.
Yeah, Wayne is where I get my confidence. I freestyle a lot of my stuff after seeing Wayne freestyle, hearing how crazy he was with the bars and how creative he was. He didn’t limit himself by necessarily structurally writing everything out. He just said what he said. So I got my recording process from Wayne. I’ve watched every documentary and interview on him and how he records and how he can make so many songs. It’s just because of his recording process. My first concert I ever went to and one of my only concerts is a Lil Wayne concert. I stood out there for like six hours to see Lil Wayne when I was in high school. Tity Boi opened up for him before anybody knew who he was, when he was back with Playaz Circle. I became a huge 2 Chainz fan that day and I became a bigger Wayne fan.

Now, you were locked up at one point? How did catching a charge change your art and you as a person?
It put me in a tough position. I got kicked out of school and then I lost financial support from them. My dad wasn’t too pleased obviously ‘cause he was the one that bailed me out. That was the first time he ever told me that he thought I could do [music], but he just told me that it was the only choice I had. Either get a shitty job with a felony or just go to L.A. and figure it out. I opted for the latter. Even though I didn’t think I did that much wrong, it was a federal thing. It looked worse than the actual act, but there was no way for me to escape that just because it was a federal thing. Unfortunately, me and one of my friends got in trouble, but it just gave me a fork in the road.

Can you elaborate on what you were charged for?
Actually I cannot. When I did it, I didn’t know it was a federal thing, so it was one of those things that you don’t think about that much. But the Feds are watching, so kids, keep your nose clean.

You’ve mentioned making a song in 10 secs, 5 minutes — Is your songwriting process typically that rapid?
The way I write a song is I get into the booth and record for like 10 minutes. After so many takes, I have the engineer piece together the words that I want him to keep and delete. Now, the hook is the first thing I write. That usually takes about five to ten minutes at the most. I just go through melodies and usually the production is so good that it’s 50/50. The beat speaks to me. I talk back to it, and we meet in the middle. I never really think of it in the sense of time. I do like five or six songs a day. Of those five or six, there’s always one that I put in a folder and build on it the next week or next month. Ninety percent of the songs on TrapHouse Jodeci were started a year or before. It’s just stuff that I kept going back to and didn’t finish and finally realized I liked.

Since you’ve been working on these songs for some time, do any of them feel old to you?
Nah. Even though I wrote parts of the records earlier, it’s all new production. So it all sounds new to me.

Which was the easiest song to make on this album?
I would say “Ammunition.” It’s the first time I let just anybody play with me in the studio with their instruments and not knowing them too well, and we jammed out. First, the guitarist laid his part, then I laid the melody, Then the saxophonist came in and we blended it all together. It turned out to be one of my favorite songs. Just because the process and what I’m talking about is such a relatable topic to talk about on the first song.

On “Fulla Diamonds,” you mention your uncle’s death. Do you feel you’re being more vulnerable with this project?
“Fulla Diamonds” was just like three minutes of therapy for me. My uncle had just died so I just had to talk about it at least. I tried to pack [the song] full of the stuff I was going through in the past year. I don’t even tell my homies stuff like this, so it was just good to get it out. With this one, I was able to just let it all go and it was very therapeutic for me.

Is that something you want to do more of in the future?
It depends. For instance, the song “Dedication” is me opening up ‘cause I’ve never had an ode to someone. Usually I never really think about it because everything I say is about me in some way.

Now, some R&B purists would argue that this new wave of R&B is watering down the genre. What are your thoughts on the new sound?
Music as a whole is in a good place. There are purists in every genre. You have hip-hop purists, rock purists, so I don’t think about it too much. If people understood that they don’t have to like everything, they would feel better in life. I’m not a fan of polka music, but you’ll never hear me tryna push onto people that I don’t like polka music. I say that to say that if you like something, further understand it. If you don’t like something, you shouldn’t give it spotlight in the universe. They’re just saying, ‘Hey, I’m not sure what this is. I’m not sure if I like it, but I’m gonna say I don’t like it.' When people are uncertain of new things and they’re used to the norm, they’re a little hesitant. But to those people, I say listen to what you like and we’ll all be fine.

Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of Aaliyah’s death and her music still influences sounds today. That whole vibe, including Static Major, who you’ve credited as a major influence, continues to seep into today’s music. How are you still influenced in your music and your personal life?
First of all, his image was pretty cool. He looked thugged out, but he was a nice guy, well-spoken songwriter. That’s why I got the braids. I just liked his approach and how he could seem menacing to the unsuspecting eye but was just a songbird who people looked up to. On a personal level, when he made that Pretty Ricky album [Bluestars], that was the first time I could appreciate him because essentially he got me laid [laughs]. All those songs were so fun and raunchy but had that soul to it, which is the element he brought.

Hearing him and his camp gave me a sense that I did not just have to do one thing. You can look one way, sound another way, feel a different way and everybody in that camp rapped, sang, produced, wrote. And it’s not like they were skipping genres. They understood that music is music and it’s universal. Whether you’re rapping, singing, playing guitar, it’s pretty much the same thing. That is something that I adopted in my approach to songwriting.

The first singer I ever heard rap was Missy Elliott. A lot of people don’t know, but most of her earlier work was singing. She was in a group doing a lot of singing stuff. My dad’s girlfriend’s son worked for Coca-Cola doing jingles. He gave me this Missy CD one day––I guess they were working on a jingle or something––and it was a bunch of R&B stuff. It just sounded so wavy, and I saw Timbaland was making the beats. Mind you, I wasn’t making music then. It just sounded really cool to me. At the time, I was listening to Bone Thugs and Crucial Conflict and Twista, so I always heard rappers sing. To me, I didn’t know there was a difference between singing and rapping. All rappers do is sing faster and singers rap slower. That’s why Chris Brown raps so well. Trey Songz raps so well. Those guys can rap cause those guys can sing and write.

You said there may be an original track with Static coming soon. Is that still in the works?
This producer I work with produces for Beyoncé, J. Lo and Selena Gomez, and he happens to know Static Major’s family. He was able to obtain some unreleased vocals from his family, so I’ve heard it. He put it in a beat before and it sounds crazy. It’s one of those things that I’ll probably approach a little more when I’m established. Maybe [around] the second project, because I wanna make sure I do it right. When all eyes are on me and I create a Static Major feature, if that happens, I want to make sure it’s represented right. I wanna have the best producers, the best writers and the best engineering on the track before I give it to the world.

What’s the producer’s name?
I cannot say.

With more eyes on you with every release, how are you adjusting?
When I was in college, I dated a girl that used to work for Birdman. She was like a video model so I would always kind of be around certain people and situations. Tiara Thomas is one of my friends from college and she got famous and blew up. We did a lot of work together early in my career and she was the one who actually convinced me to not only rap but to incorporate singing and other aspects, so big shout out to her.

I like to just record and watch Seinfeld when I’m not recording. When I have to do something other than that, it’s an adjustment just because my intention isn’t just to be known. I just want to make good music. I think when the money comes and I start spending it and buying shit, maybe I’ll answer this question a little differently. But my life is still regular.

Are you tired of comparisons?
The reason people in Toronto fuck with me so heavy is because in their eyes, they realize I was one of the first artists post-The Weeknd who got into that sound pretty early. That’s why you’ll never hear a Toronto artist or person criticize me in that respect because they know I was in the trenches, doing this early before these guys were these guys. I can’t tell you how many DMs I would get from poppin’ producers telling me, ‘Yo, you’re the real guy.' I don’t know what would make them say that but people aren’t stupid. So, I don’t get mad at comparisons as long as the music’s good that you’re comparing me to, I have no problems. I’ve always been me and I leave it up to the audience to do their research and question if their favorite artist has always been who they are.

Okay, so I can’t end this interview without asking... Are you single?
I work so much that.. I don’t know. Somebody might be dating me, but I’m single. [Laughs]








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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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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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A post shared by Russian Cream (@dutchmasterscigars) on Apr 15, 2019 at 5:31pm PDT

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

A post shared by RAW Rolling Papers (@rawlife247) on Feb 10, 2019 at 5:10pm PST

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 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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