Lady Leshurr Lady Leshurr
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

NEXT: Lady Leshurr Is Birmingham, UK's Dose Of Rap Girl Magic

From Brumtown to the across the Atlantic, Lady Leshurr is ready to make the world her own, one comical quip at a time.

Murphy's Law has a way of creeping its way into a situation at the last possible moment. In addition to soaking up the balmy heat and festivities of New Orleans’ French Quarter during Fourth of July weekend, Lady Leshurr, England’s quick-spitting banter rapper, spent three days taking in her first ever Essence Music Festival. For the most part, as both a visitor and a performer, things were going fine. In one of four Superlounges erected in each corner of the Mercedes Benz Superdome, Leshurr stepped out onto the stage and, juiced up from the warm welcome beyond the barricades, commanded it.

Leshurr seemed to outrun her own shadow up there. As her petite frame propelled from one side of the stage to the other with each song, her teased, waist-length tresses played catch-up behind her. Snarky punch lines launched from her lips like a rain of gunshots. Audience members, most of whom hail from the Americas, recited every word with their own posh renditions of her accent. “I hold it down like a Snapchat/Go over your head like a snapback/Uploaded a pic, double tap that/And your flow's so old, granddad,” Leshurr rapped to the crowd before they screamed the memeable “Queen’s Speech 4” refrain, “Brush your teeth, brush your teeth,” back to her.

By her own admission, the debut performance was great (London singer Estelle intro’d her set and she rubbed shoulders with Queen Latifah, an idol, in the backstage area). However, during her moments of reflection the morning after, she’s visibly “shattered.” Her eyes are heavy and all that prior vibrant energy is subdued. NOLA was one blip on a non-stop international tour that, by the first of October, would have taken her from Spain’s Sónar Festival to Oslo’s Oya Festival to New York’s inaugural Roots Picnic at Bryant Park. Her manager, Natasha, says that for a whole year, they hadn't really taken a break, so New Orleans was a pleasant escape amongst pleasant people. That is, up until roughly three hours before her 4 p.m. flight to Vienna.

There's a high probability that one of two very important travel documents have been swiped from her room at one of the crowded Canal Street hotels while she was down the street doing this very interview. Panic has set in on all sides, and as I wait in the hallway outside her hotel room, chest heavy with guilt, she triple checks the room and waits on security personnel to arrive while simultaneously throwing the rest of her suitcase together. If she hadn't ignored her checkout time to make room for this hour-long chat, she'd be good to go.

After about 15 minutes of muffles behind the door, a shockingly relaxed Leshurr emerges from the room with a new camouflage dress on (our cafe-side interview found her in a simple red bodycon dress to match the replacement red lipstick she purchased at Walgreens, and crisp white Air Force 1s), two armfuls of luggage and a question: "Do you still want to go outside to snap some photos?" It’s a baffling inquiry given the circumstances. Are you sure? I ask. The predicament would leave the average person less-than-enthused to do a mini shoot without being 100% certain they'd be able to board their plane set to leave in two hours. "Everything will turn out okay," she says after reading my face, newly calm. "I have faith." Hours later, she uploaded an Instagram video from her hotel room in Vienna, chocked full of jokes as if the prior 24 hours hadn't even happened.

Lightening the mood is Melesha O'Garro's expertise.

The Birmingham native has always had a way with words. Since age six, the outspoken, charismatic youth frequently penned rhymes and poetry, but it was the birth of 2015's comical “Queen’s Speech” rap saga that turned heads, pushing her lyrical gifts and unique comedic style beyond the confines of her home. In the comical six-part series, her heavy puns and jabs are so facetious you have to laugh at them—“Don't think you're buff cause you're wearing contour/‘Cause I’ll wipe your brows off/I’ll snatch your wig and your nails off,” she quips. The biggest viral splash came from “Queen’s Speech 4,” the source of the latter quote, garnering over 34 million views on YouTube and enabling her to finally cover her mother’s mortgage, a major feat. The various three plus minutes of jest and clowning her haters are all memorialized in simple, one-take videos that show off the core of her whimsical personality.

She credits her roast-session sense of humor to cracking jokes with her older sister (she's confident that, by now, she’s surpassed her big sis' bantering ways), but insists she was the stranger sibling growing up. “I'm a bit more on the weird, crazy side than them,” she says. “I post weird stuff, sometimes things I know I shouldn't post. That's just me, that's just the person I am. Some people can't handle too much of me because I'm expressive.”

Expressive is one way to put it, but a more fitting adjective for the Lady Leshurr we see onstage is explosive. Her stature is dialed down and unassuming in the wings, but the mic in her hand acts like a match to a wick. “The crowd needs energy,” she says in between sips of her noon cocktail. “You just can't stand there and perform your song. You have to be energetic, you know? You have to be interactive, connect with the crowd and win them over.” Her youthful appeal and energy—her age falls anywhere between 19 and 30, and she likes that no one can pin it down—never dials down from 100 percent. Rare moments of rest come when she runs back to the selecta, or DJ to non-Caribbeans, to ask them to run the track back. Her high-octane performance ritual is a nod to her upbringing.

Although she’s never been to the country of her roots, the child of Kittitian parentage grew up in Brumtown’s (a local nickname for Birmingham) tight knit Caribbean community. Aside from saltfish, dumplings, plantain and stew chicken, her favorite dishes, she was spoon-fed a musical palate that spanned from Jamaica’s Vybez Kartel to New York’s Big L to London’s Shystie as a youth. From the Americas, she was an eager student of hip-hop heavyweights like Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Busta Rhymes, Ice Cube, Big Pun, Biggie, Tupac and Lil Wayne, with Eminem being at the top of the totem pole. “[Eminem’s] ‘Hi, My Name Is’ is the reason I do what I do now,” she says. “I started to take on music seriously when I heard him. His flow, his technique, how he puts certain syllables in certain places. I rapped like him, I wanted to be him.” On her side of the Atlantic Ocean, however, she pulls from the homegrown British sounds of garage and it’s evolved genre grime, where big names like Wiley, Skepta, Stormzy and Kano now reign supreme. Musically, Leshurr occupies the gray space in between the internationally divided but similar genres.

“I wouldn't say I'm a grime artist, and I wouldn't say I'm a hip-hop artist. I need to create my own category because I’m influenced by so many genres of music that I can't really place myself in one or the other. I'm me,” she says, jokingly labeling her lane “Shurr style.”

For a long time, the rap game excluded her hometown from the narrative. Birmingham is England’s second largest city (coming second to London, which has them beat by six million people) but it feels like a tiny bubble to Leshurr, especially for the lady rap scene. London is home to Shystie and Lioness, some of Leshurr’s favorite femcees, but in her own streets, she’s alone in the game for now. “There's no female rappers coming from Birmingham, and just being able to take the Birmingham sound global, like to America, to Europe, and they can understand it… It's like the UK is so powerful, we have got control and a lot of the Americans are looking at us now, seeing what we're doing, seeing what sounds we bring to the table.”

She pauses to relish in her accomplishments, which seem to have come tumbling in these past couple years. Prime billing at worldwide music festivals. Nearly selling out New York's Gramercy Theater, her first headlining show in the state. Working with Deputy, Bangladesh and Scott Storch, the producers responsible for Rihanna's "BBHMM," Lil Wayne's "A Milli" and Chris Brown's "Run It!," respectively. Meeting Kool Herc, the Bronx DJ widely known as hip-hop's founding father, and attending his 61st birthday party. Getting personal phone calls from Busta Rhymes and having Timbaland say he sees a little bit of Missy in her.

'Pinch me' moments for sure, but the journey to get to this point was one of great difficulty given the proverbial barriers propped up within the UK. Take her accent. Although it's considered endearing in the U.S., on her home turf, just an hour and a half train ride away in London, her sing-songy lilt was the stuff of joke. “At a point, I stopped using my accent,” she says. “But now, I'm not gonna lose my integrity for anybody. I'm gonna try and make it through just being myself, and I feel like being yourself will set you free.”

Add her tongue on top of just trying to make her way through as the underdog without much support. In the U.S., a cosign can make the world of a difference in boosting status and creating access to opportunities for a rising artist. Even though Leshurr has appeared in some of the same "one-to-watch" lists as her regional counterparts, she says that same camaraderie is hard to come by.

"I see it as tiers in the grime scene," she explains. A hint of weary frustration blankets her voice. "If you're at the bottom, you don't really get shown any love. If you're at the middle, you don't get that much love, but if you meet these people at the top at places, they'll say hi to you, but they won't support your music or tweet your music. I've been grinding, grinding, grinding to get into that top tier, where people will finally accept me. But for now, I'm just like you know what? I don't care if you don't accept me or support me. I'm just gonna be doing me."

Lady Leshurr is going for the gold on her own, with the intention of reaching back to pull other bubbling lady artists up when she gets to that level. "I just wanna change the game, man," she says, excited. "I wanna be the first British female rapper to be globally known and work with different types of people. American artists, producers, and yeah, just wanna take over."

With her next batch of material, she hopes to get some more traction going. For starters, she's got "Where Are You Now?," her festive single featuring Wiley, arguably one of the godfathers of grime, already under her belt. Quietly, she's been clocking in 15 plus hour days at the studio, readying the next Leshurr wave.

“My album is not gonna be like ‘Queen's Speech.’ [That] was just to grab enough attention to drop my album to show people what I actually can do… It's a new project of my dark side, you know, the old side.” A good indication of that old sound is her 2011 cover of “Look At Me Now,” where she goes toe-to-toe with Chris Brown, Busta Rhymes and Lil Wayne’s original verses. Or better yet “Unleshed,” her freestyle to Desiigner’s sinister breakout hit, “Panda,” and a response to people who call her Queen's Speech raps sellout material. In it, Leshurr is ruthless, going for the jugular with machete sharp raps defending her lyrical abilities.

Wagwan, what's happening?
When I was in the lab, just cookin' up
You were somewhere in the club daggering
Man, I'm savaging
Done with the talk, through, javelin
Yeah, I might have big teeth on a rabbit ting
But I'm still here, and I'm still managing
And you're where? Look - panicking!
I don't care! Shrug, ain't havin' it
My whole year's booked, travelling
You're nowhere, stuck, stammering
You see me, shook, MC Hammering

"There's just a few things I had to clarify for people who were really putting me down for something that has helped me and my family," she says. Though not the intentional subject matter for her songs, Internet trolls and their bristling opinions about her talent and looks provide ample ammunition for clap back season. Confrontation IRL isn't really her steez. She's a firm believer in karma and turning negative moments into positive ones. Instead, channeling her frustration into catchy and commotion-worthy songs leads to more revenue and, more importantly, more respect.

"You know what? I don't care if you think I look ugly," she says. "I don't care if you don't like what I'm wearing. I'm gonna make sure my music does the talking."

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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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