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Birds Flying High: 11 Stoner Anthems From Mixtape Weezy For 4/20

Puff, puff, pass. 

The day that’s known around the world as National Weed Smoking Day (April 20) – the ultimate stoner’s holiday – has arrived. Fun fact about 4/20: The origins stem from a group of five California teenagers called The Waldos and the exact time they used to meet up with each other before scoring some bud.

Throughout hip-hop’s existence the attitude toward marijuana in the culture and genre radically shifted from artists such as Dr. Dre famously saying, “I still express, yo I don’t smoke weed or cess” to the culture fully embracing the ganja with open arms. As the '90s came into full swing, weed smoking pioneers like Cypress Hill, Method Man & Redman, Snoop Dogg, Devin The Dude, Three 6 Mafia and OutKast broke down the doors for the marijuana culture to exist as we know it. These rappers also helped lay down the foundation to exist one of the most prolific and legendary lyricists and weed connoisseurs, Lil Wayne.

From the moment Weezy F. Baby (F.K.A. Birdman Jr.) stepped off the Hot Boys porch and began making solo albums, he was destined for greatness. However, his legendary mixtape run of the early and mid-2000s is what helped not only make him a household name (gotta give credit to his scores of genre crossing collabos, too, in that regard), but made him into an icon that will stand the test of time as one of the greatest and most unique lyricists of all time. And within thousands and thousands of records, he made some of the best weed smoking music on the planet. In fact, it’s safe to say that Lil Wayne is one of the significant artists that defines what 4/20 is all about because of his free-spirited nature as an artist, man and ganja smoker.

In honor of this glorious day we all know as 4/20, VIBE pays homage to his legendary mixtapes as we present 11 of Lil Wayne’s best mixtape songs to spark one up to. So without further ado… Happy 4/20 ladies and gents!

“Birds Flying High” (ft. Juelz Santana) | Mixtape: Blow

Best way to enjoy: While smoking a blunt in deep meditation in solitude. Back when the often-teased (but sadly cancelled) joint album with Lil Wayne and Dipset’s Juelz Santana was practically the hottest thing to never exist, fans were given Mick Boogie’s classic mixtape prequel, Blow to hold us down until then.  The two have recorded tons joints together over the years, but “Birds Flying High” is one of their greatest that will forever stand the test of time, especially as a stoner anthem. The slow, groovy magic they’ve made with the Nina Simone sample makes it a catchy and smooth song to smoke to.

“Kush” | Mixtape: Tha Carter III Leak

Best way to enjoy: While smoking at least blunts full of OG Kush with the squad. “Kush” is one of Weezy’s more playful stoner jams that showcases his stream-of-consciousness style bars and arguably one of his most memorable mixtape records of all time. His light-hearted randomness through the song fits the mood perfectly after smoking some good OG Kush with the squad. This also includes one of Wayne’s most hilarious bars when he randomly spits, “Cristal, please/Crackers with cheese/N***a please.”

"Swag Surfin’" | Mixtape: No Ceilings

Best way to enjoy: At the most lit 4/20 party you can find while faded. Wayne’s No Ceilings mixtape is arguably one of the greatest mixtapes of the 00s and bangers such as his take on F.L.Y’s “Swag Surfin’” is the very reason why. Listen to Wayne’s explosive introduction as he goes on a dizzying four-minute rampage on the classic K.E. On The Beat production. Especially as he spits high octane bars like, I'm talking big s**t, n***a/Join my hit list, ni**a/What's the matter?/Check your bladder/I'm the s**t, piss n***a/Shoot the witness, n***a/Hold court in the streets/And convict this n***a/Oh dickless n***a. Smoke one to that.

"I Feel Like Dying" | Mixtape: Tha Carter III Leak

Best way to enjoy: While smoking the last of your stash in bed. The beauty of Wayne at his deepest is when he’s in that mode, he often produces some of the most cathartic music a rapper could make. And this is highly evident on both his mixtapes and albums. “I Feel Like Dying” is one of his more releasing moments where the moody soundscape is highly stimulating in a way that can make listens feel like they’re on his same cloud, but without smoking anything. It also brings his off-the-cuff lyrics to life as they set the stage for a brooding, somewhat depressing, and releasing melody.

"Single" | Mixtape: No Ceilings

Best way to enjoy: When you smoke the first joint after a liberating break up. For all intents and purposes, Lil Wayne made one of the greatest, cathartic break up songs of this generation. It’s a very liberating song listen to after being in a long and tumultuous relationship and nothing has ever gotten better. And when you smoke that much-needed fat joint after breaking up with them on 4/20, the 40’s signature dreamy and mellow soundscape amplifies Wayne’s universal declaration of being single.

"Poppin" (ft. Curren$y) | Mixtape: No Ceilings 2

Best way to enjoy: While dabbing in the VIP at the and popping bottlesAny real Lil Wayne fan knows that his older collaboration with Curren$y back in the back in the early Young Money days were some of the most lit records of his career. But this one is significant because it was one of the first songs they’ve reunited on since Curren$y left YMCMB to build his name in the indie world. The two spit some heat together over Rico Richie’s original hit, “Poppin”. And because its Lil Wayne and Curren$y together, it would be a crime not to light one to this.

"Magic" (ft. Gudda Gudda) | Mixtape: Dedication 3

Best way to enjoy: While rolling up and you’re lounging. Lil Wayne and Gudda Gudda flips UGK’s classic “Wood Wheel” to give us another solid stoner’s anthem from Dedication 3. As the project served as a coming out party to the Young Money collective we know and love today, Gudda Gudda showed a lot of promise on their collabo together as the two traded solid flows. The smoky, funked-out soundscape creates a the much needed smoked-out vibe that’s reminiscent of the cloudy haze of a smoked filled room.

"You Song" (ft. Chance The Rapper) | Mixtape: Dedication 5

Best way to enjoy: While smoking pre-rolled joints of loud with bae on 4/20.  Before they linked up for their epic collabo “No Problems”, Wayne and Chance got together to create a beautiful “love song” that supposedly isn’t a love song. The poetically beautiful lyrics and chorus by Chance matches very well with Wayne’s blunt and nonchalant approach when rapping about love (or his own version of it). On April 20, today, save that nice moon rock joint you copped with the nice wax drizzled around it and save it for your that special stoner woman in your life, because like “You Song”, that would make her feel special

"Fingers Hurting"| Mixtape: Sorry For The Wait 2

Best way to enjoy:  While smoking fat joints of Lemon Kush at beach. Preferably at the parking lot or the sand. That or while rolling up. This song is the unofficial theme song for when you first get that bag of that “good” and you inhale that strong, musk aroma, break it down, and roll up on a nice sunny day on the beach. The light and glitzy production sets the scene for this, along with a solid Wayne verse (although not one of his top tier performances of all time). The vibe “Fingers Hurting” gives off is certainly a fun one that fits 4/20 perfectly.

"Get High Rule The World" | Mixtape: Da Drought 3

Best way to enjoy: While smoking some Grandaddy Purp out of a Swisher Sweet, think about your dreams and plotting for the future. Or Monday. “Get High Rule The World” is one of Wayne’s more focused freestyles as he spits some of his most clever, wittiest, and grittiest bars from his classic mixtape, Da Drought 3. Weezy masterfully reworks Nas & Lauryn Hill’s classic duet into a track that describes something that most of us want to do. And that’s get high and rule the whole world! Who wouldn’t want to do that with this song serving as the soundtrack?

"Pussy, Money, Weed" | Mixtape: The Drought Is Over 4

Best way to enjoy: During a late-night creep or a romantic night fill of ganja. Wayne trades in his usual abrasive bluntness for a more sensual and alluring flow. He a flips well utilized sample of Outkast’s “Jazzy Belle” into a smooth and dreamy ode to loving a woman a much as he does his favorite three things. It’s a mood setting song that captures not only Wayne’s very rare romantic side, but it’s the perfect theme song for chilling with bae.

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CIRCA 1980: Photo of Bill Withers
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Bill Withers' Greatest Hits: Remixed, Sampled And Covered

The recent loss of legends in jazz, soul and classical music have saddened the music industry and reminded us of their touching gifts to music. The passing of Manu Dibango, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Alan Merrill brought endless tributes from peers and fans with the recent loss of soul singer-songwriter Bill Withers doing the same.

With a mirage of hits, the iconic songwriter left his mark on music with the release of his debut album Just As I Am in 1971. "Ain't No Sunshine" put a spotlight on his songwriting while 1977's "Lovely Day" reminded the industry of his signature vocals. Withers released eight studio albums, one live album and garnered three Grammys for his powerful songs that gave hope and love to fans to this day.

Hip-hop and R&B have gained the most from Withers as his music went on to inspire records like "No Diggity" by BLACKStreet, "Roses" by Kanye West and other songs from UGK, Dr. Dre, Jill Scott and more.

Take a look at some of Withers' finest tunes covered, remixed and sampled below.

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8. “Lovely Day” | Menagerie (1977)

Sampled On: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999) LunchMoneyLewis - “It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day” feat. Aminè | Pets 2 Soundtrack (2019) Swizz Beatz - “Take A Picture” |One Man Band (2007)

Standout: T.W.D.Y., “Player’s Holiday” | Derty Werk (1999)

Short for "The Whole Damn Yay," the group used Withers' sample while throwing a splash of The Bay's laid back flavor. With cameos from future legends like E-40 and Ray Luv, the single already embodied the best of R&B and hip-hop with guest verses from Too Short, Mac Mall and Otis & Shug. The mimosas and yacht are also a great touch.

Covered By: Jill Scott, The Original Jill Scott from the Vault Vol. 1 (2011) Alt-J, This Is All Yours (2014) Robert Glasper Experiment, Black Radio 2 (2013) Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Standout: Kirk Franklin, The Nu Nation Project (1998)

Who was going to beat a chorus singing to the lordt? Franklin's take on the classic gives us stirring gospel and appreciation for Withers and God. There are plenty of covers that have lifted the same vocals as Withers, but the ones listed have put their unique spin on the track.

7. “Ain't No Sunshine” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001) Lil B - “Up And Down” | Based Jam (2012) 2Pac- "Soulja's Story" |  2Pacalypse Now (1991)

Standout: DMX - “No Sunshine” | Exit Wounds Soundtrack (2001)

"No Sunshine" served as the only single from DMX's film alongside Steven Seagal, which gave everyone the perfect backdrop to the movie and X's intricate storytelling. Both the original and flipped version points out the dark elements of our lives. Withers penned the song after watching the film 1962 movie Days of Wine and Roses, he pondered over the toxicity in his life. "Sometimes you miss things that weren't particularly good for you," he said in 2004 to SongFacts. "It's just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I'm not aware of."

Covered By: Soul For Real | Candy Rain (1994) Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972) The Boris Gardiner Happening | Is What's Happening (1973) The Temptations | Solid Rock (1972)

Standout: Michael Jackson | Got to Be There (1972)

At 14, the future King of Pop gave a riveting cover of Withers' hit for his debut album, Got To Be There. From his vocal control throughout the track to the instrumentation, his cover takes the song to another level of heartbreak.

6. "Grandma's Hands” | Just As I Am (1971)

Sampled On: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996) Big K.R.I.T. - “I Gotta Stay” | K.R.I.T. Wuz Here (2010) Brother Ali - “Waheedah's Hands” | Champion (2004)

Standout: BLACKstreet - “No Diggity” feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen | Another Level (1996)

R&B heads are well aware of BLACKstreet's neverending ballads and the genius of Teddy Riley. But the pivot of their sound for their sophomore album Another Level was due to Withers and the William “Stylez” Stewart. Speaking to Fact Mag in 2017, the creator of New Jack Swing gave credit to Stylez for bringing him the sample of "Grandma's Hands."

“If he hadn’t played that sample for me, there would never be a ‘No Diggity’ And if he didn’t write it according to the melody I gave him so it would sound that way because I wanted it to sound funky,” he said. “I wanted it to be appealing to everyone, but mostly to women. I wanted every woman to feel like they were the ‘No Diggity’ girl and that song was about them and it came across. And now, still, today, that song plays and people are on that dancefloor.”

Covered By: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981) Merry Clayton, Merry Clayton (1971) Barbra Streisand, Butterfly (1974)

Standout: Gil Scott-Heron, Reflections (1981)

Gil Scott-Heron's version of the soul classic reminded us of his versatile talents. From spoken word to his vocal abilities, the Godfather of rap music always came through with his own sound and style. Reflections was one of four albums the late artist dropped in the 80s with critics looking to it as one of his finest projects. Other cuts from the album included "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" and "B Love."

5. "Use Me" | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012) J. Cole- "Dollar And A Dream II" | The Warm-Up (2009) Leela James - “So Good" | Fall For You (2014) UGK - "Use Me Up" | The Southern Way (1992)

Standout: Kendrick Lamar - “Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst"  | Good kid, Maad City (2012)

Lamar's take on "Use Me" blended right into the themes of his debut album, Good kid, Maad City allowing the artist to create another world on the project. To make things even better, Lamar also sampled Al Green's "I'm Glad You're Mine" for the track.

Covered By: Grace Jones, Indigo Nights, Live (2008) Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit  (2004) Issac Hayes, Dr. Dolittle Soundtrack (1998)

Standout: Mick Jagger feat. Lenny Kravitz, Wandering Spirit (2004)

On his third solo album, Jagger linked with Rick Rubin to test his creative energy, allowing him to work with Lenny Kravitz on their version of "Use Me." Colliding worlds was one thing but to hear Kravitz's vocals come in on the bridge, set the track apart from the rest.

4. “Kissing My Love” | Still Bill (1972)

Sampled On: J. Cole - “The Cut Off" featuring kiLL Edward  | KOD (2018) Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992) Masta Ace- "Movin On" | Take A Look Around (1990) Master P- "Bastard Child" | The Ghettos Tryin To Kill Me! | 1994

Standout: Dr. Dre - "Let Me Ride" featuring Snoop Dogg, RC and Jewell | The Chronic (1992)

"Kissing My Love" is one of most sampled from Withers catalog, thanks to its feverish drums. It's also why it fits into Dr. Dre's single and the G-funk era.

3. Grover Washington's “Just The Two of Us” featuring Bill Withers | Winelight (1981)

Sampled/Covered On:  Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997) Eminem- "Just The Two of Us" | Slim Shady EP (1997) Keri Hilson- "Pretty Girl Rock" | No Boys Allowed (2010)

Standout: Will Smith - “Just The Two of Us” | Big Willie Style (1997)

Touching and soulful, Smith's dedication to his eldest son Trey is just too cute for words.

2. “Let It Be” | Just As I Am  (1967)

The Original: The Beatles - “Let It Be” | Let It Be (1968)

"Let It Be" is a pretty special record. Aretha Franklin recorded a version a year before the release of The Beatles' version and Withers gave his take on the record in the 70s. Slightly faster, his upbeat take on "Let It Be" just hits different.

1. “Rosie” | Menagerie Re-Issue (1977)

Sampled On: Kanye West - “Roses” |  Late Registration (2005)

As the somber part of Late Registration, "Roses" brings us into Kanye's world where he contemplates the mortality of a loved one. It's a sentimental take on the sample and one of the artist's most underrated songs. It's also a hidden gem for Withers as it isn't featured on Menagerie's LP. It was added as a bonus track on

Enjoy the jams in playlist form below.

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Remain Calm: 5 Ways To Curve Negative Effects Of Coronavirus Isolation

Self-isolation during the coronavirus outbreak seems to be best practice in keeping our families and peers safe but it's also a shift in our normal social behavior. As millions of families around the country get adjusted to self-isolation, the state of our mental health and how our bodies react to the practice are changing by the day, especially lower-income and marginalized groups.

Speaking with Wired, John Vincent, a clinical psychologist at the University of Houston, shared how apathetic behavior can rise to the forefront, making space for anxiety and depression.

“People start getting lethargic when they don’t have positive inputs into their small worlds,” Vincent says. “We can expect depression to kick in, and depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

But the biggest reason behind the uneasiness isn't the self-isolation but just how long it will last. Details of COVID-19 are changing by the day with the most cases now coming out of New York. Yet, there's still little to no information on what happens next.

“Open, transparent, consistent communication is the most important thing governments and organizations can do: Make sure people understand why they are being quarantined first and foremost, how long it is expected to last,” Samantha Brooks of King’s College London told the outlet. “A huge factor in the negative psychological impact seems to be confusion about what's going on, not having clear guidelines, or getting different messages from different organizations.”

Uncertainty hitting low income and marginalized groups is also a problem within itself. As virtual parties and celebrities opening up on social media happen on a daily, there are people who might not access fun distractions on the web.

“Some people have posited technology as a means of connecting people, but lower-income groups might not even have FaceTime or Skype or minutes on their phone,” Thomas Cudjoe, a geriatrician researching the intersection of social connections and aging at Johns Hopkins University says. “People take that for granted, using their devices can be a strain on people’s incomes.”

To make self-isolation less than a bore or a daunting task, experts suggest creating a schedule to dictate control in your home.

1. Work It Out

Gyms are closed, but your home can be transformed into a personal training center. Use heavy bags for weights and if you can, create a playlist of workouts on YouTube. For those who have memberships for Blink or Peloton, the platforms have streamed their workouts on apps.

2. Mindful Meditation

Meditation isn't about dumping your thoughts, it's about staying aware and mindful. AQUA has developed online that leverages the power of "Mindful Meditation and Mobility Movements" for flexibility and fluidity in the body. Classes are free of charge but feel free to donate.

3. Take It Back To High School

Give your friends a call or indulge in a FaceTime party. Feel free to use the Wifi in your home to reduce the amount of data used on your phone. Lala Anthony held a too-cute FT birthday party for writer Kiyonna Anthony with a 70s theme. You can also find creative ways to hop on the phone with friends and family instead of constantly chatting about 'rona.

 

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We made the best out of our quarantine situation🎉‼️FACETIME 70s Party💃🏽🎉HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY NIECE @kiyonnathewriter ❤️❤️💃🏽💃🏽SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY ARIES ♈️ MAKE THE BEST OF IT!!!😘

A post shared by ℒᎯ ℒᎯ (@lala) on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:14pm PDT

4. Start A Journal

Journals just aren't for kids. The practice not only gives you something to do, but it fuels creativity and a new level of self-awareness. Former First Lady Michelle Obama recently developed Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice, with over 150 inspiring questions and quotes that connect to key themes in her memoir. The journal will also help bring readers to terms with the importance of family and personal reflections as well as the goals they'd like to make a reality.

5. Have a Dance Party or Enjoy Lo-Fi Beats To Quarantine To

If you don't have data or battery power to watch a virtual DJ party, make your own. If you have to pull out your record player, do it! You can also hop on your favorite streaming service and create a playlist all your own.

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From Teen Sensation To Vocal Bible: Brandy's 15 Best Songs

September 27, 2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the multiplatinum self-titled debut album by one of R&B’s greatest voices, Brandy Rayana Norwood, or simply Brandy. She was already well on her way to stardom prior to her debut as a background vocalist for Immature and one of the stars of the short-lived ABC series, Thea. However, it was the album Brandy that set her on the path to tremendous success.

Since officially bursting onto the scene in 1994 sporting her well-known braided crown of glory, she has been a force to be reckoned with. She was handpicked by her idol, the late Whitney Houston, to portray the role of the first Black Cinderella in the 1997 film Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. Her show Moesha was one of the longest-running black sitcoms. Brandy was also a CoverGirl in 1999 and became a friend of Barbie that same year when Mattel released the Brandy Doll. In music, she’s released six studio albums, sold more than 40 million records worldwide, headlined three world tours, and won more than 30 awards including seven Billboard Music Awards, a Grammy and the Soul Train Lady of Soul Award. Brandy deserves her flowers.

Let’s check out the top 15 songs that helped solidify Brandy as your favorite singer’s favorite singer (just ask Solange) and earned her the title of the “Vocal Bible.”

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