2012 Rock The Bells Festival Press Conference And Fan Appreciation Party
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A Look At Prodigy's Career As Defined By His Lyrics

Equally effective as a soloist as within the confines of a group, Prodigy's legacy as one of the greatest to ever pick up a mic is surely intact.

The purest form of hip-hop is reality rap, which is when an artist is fully transparent and bears their soul or touches on life as we know it, sans a filter. Many rappers have tried their hand at speaking from the heart and without concern for putting on airs, but few have done so in quite the fashion that Prodigy has throughout his career, during which he gave listeners a piece of himself on various occasions.

The author of the lyric: "I put my lifetime in between the paper's lines/I'm the quiet storm n***a who fight rhyme" has surely lived up to that billing. The Queens rapper's pen accounts for some of the greatest contributions to hip-hop music, his first being The Infamous, the 1995 classic he released as part of Mobb Deep alongside rapper-producer Havoc. The Infamous, which announced Prodigy as an anti-hero and an instant star due to singles like "Shook Ones Pt. 2," and the album cut "Survival of the Fittest," would land Mobb Deep on the map and be the first of a trilogy of albums that would cement them as East Coast deities, and Prodigy as a top-tier wordsmith.

Equally effective as a soloist as within the confines of a group, which he proved with efforts like his H.N.I.C. trilogy, Return of the Mac, and The Bumpy Johnson Album, Prodigy's legacy as one of the greatest to ever pick up a mic is surely intact. Although his death after a lifelong bout with sickle cell anemia has served as tragic news and placed the hip-hop community in a state of mourning, it's also an opportunity to remember what he and his music meant to the culture as a whole.

Below, revisit 25 of Prodigy's lyrics that best define both his artistry and his career.

1. Mobb Deep - "Survival of the Fittest"
"There's a war goin' on outside no man is safe from/You could run, but you can't hide forever/From these streets that we done took/You walkin' with your head down/Scared to look, you shook/‘Cause ain't no such things as halfway crooks"

2. Mobb Deep - "Give Up The Goods (Just Step)"
"Ayo, Queens get the money long time no cash/I'm caught up in the hustle when the guns go blast/The fool retaliated so I had to think fast/Pull out my heat first, he pull out his heat last/Now who the f**k you think is living to this day?/I'm tryna tell these young n***as crime don't pay/They looked at me and said "Queen's n***as don't play/Do your thing, I'll do mine kid stay outta my way"

3. Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones Pt. 2"
"A Q-U soldier/From Lefrak to Rockaway back to Queensbridge/Black it's only crack sales makin n***as act like that/Back in the days we could scrap, now you lay on your back/As things changed with time I traded in my knuckles for a Mac-10/And rather live the life of crime"

4. Mobb Deep - "Drop A 'Gem On 'Em"
"when you see my clique you need to run behind s**t/You got a gat you better find it/And use that s**t, think fast and get reminded/Of robberies in Manhattan, you know what happened/60 G's worth of gun clapping/Who shot ya? You probably screamed louder than an opera/New York got ya, now you wanna use my mob as a crutch/What you think you can't get bucked again?/Once again"

5. Mobb Deep - "Hell on Earth (Front Lines)"
"Blood on my kicks, s**t on my knife/You's the wild child, kid cold turnin' men into mice/I was born to take power, leave my mark on this planet/The Phantom of Crime Rap, n***as is left stranded/Shut down your operation, closed for business/Leave a foul taste in your mouth like Guinness/POW n***as is found MIA/We move like special forces, Green Beret"

6. Mobb Deep Featuring Nas - "It's Mine"
"I got the style of a still-born child, I'm ill/If it's beef, poke him with the fork, make sure he's done well/The streets raised me crazy, now I'm immune to it/So when they start shootin, we don't stop the music/Keep it moving that's how we do it/Been through more drama than the Baldwins, you still crawlin/Apply street rules to the office, high performance"

7. Mobb Deep Featuring Kool G Rap - "The Realest"
"Never prejudge, it be the humble that squeeze slugs/It be the ones standin' still that'll peel guns/Spill blood for my duns thuggin' for me/Man you don't wanna get involved f**kin' with P/I spent more nights illin, less nights chillin/The more shots they hold the better they feel it/What be the deal"

8. Mobb Deep - "Where Ya Heart At"
"S**t gets hot like a ill pot of grits spilled on you/Spit fire with nines but never squealed on you/I understood you should try to take my life/If I was you I would too damn right/If I had drama with a n***a like such as myself/I couldn't even sleep at night until I made things right/Pull out guns exchange a fight/Be the first to let off mines ignite the pipes.../And never let the daylight deceive/During the suns' hours n***as do bleed"

9. Prodigy - "Keep It Thoro"
"Rhymes cocky, crazy ill, mad rowdy/Did a buck off of my s**t and wrapped your Audi/Temperamental, I snap quick, very touchy/Ayo my attitude is all f**ked up and real s**tty/I rap like no one out there can f**k wit me/You feel different, nigga, see me/I throw a TV at you crazy, b***hes say 'P, you crazy'/A +Pain in Da Ass+, nah but +F**k you, Pay me+"

10. Prodigy - "Can't Complain"
"Lean my seat a taste, lumbar support/On the belt doin' 90 or more/Debatin' on the latest rhyme wars where units don't count/But your rap pay add up to large amounts/Get my thrills puttin' other n***a's skills to sleep/Catch chills off'a infamous beats/Swing the trees doin' one-handed u'ees/Blowin' on the ouwee cause we can't have the medicine canoein'"

11. Prodigy - "You Can Never Feel My Pain"
"Nineteen seventy-four, motherf**ker I was born with pain/My moms and my pops pass it down to me/So don't talk to me about can I feel yours/Cause I ain't feelin you at all, your pain isn't pure/You cryin cause you broke from the projects/That's not pain, that's emotions, you a b***h/Im talkin bout permanent, physical sufferin/You know nothin about that/You just complain cause you stressed/N***a, my pain's in the flesh/And through the years that pain became my friend"

12. Tony Touch Featuring Prodigy - "The Basics"
"Let me start from the beginning at the top of the list/P-Double dispose of rap garbage/Expose novice, trash style, n***as try hardest/Clowns attempt to rep get slapped the farthest/I'm P/pee like the stink of urine in your staircase/N***a, from me stay the most distant, you outta place/Grime rhyme, my story too foul for primetime/So I don't give a f**k about MTV/Or any radio station, they won't play me/They own kids give me spins on tapes and cd's"

13. Mobb Deep - "Clap"
"Y'all better protect that boy, I'll murder that kid/You got jokes but ain't nobody over here laughin/All you get is standin ovation with mack 10's/45ths and more shit we applaud it/N***as runnin wit cops, scared to go to war with/Some real rap n***as, we'll catch you at the Source Awards/From gettin at this n***a, pardon my force/You better get from around that n***a or you catchin it too/Your power is no match for my strength of wolves"

14. Mobb Deep - "Got It Twisted"
"And they can't stop us...they too scared/They know our caliber of thugs shoot at heads, n***a/QB drop you off of that bridge/Show you how we do it in Queens where murder ain't s**t, n***a/This is P talkin, show you where I live/You can come right to my crib and get it for shiz/You bein manslaughtered, right in front of my kids/A little blood get on my daughter, it's nothing, she'll live"

15. Prodigy - "Rotten Apple"
"In real life you're puss', neva pulled no juxe/Neva pull no trigger and let the blood gush/As for my 'lil cousin over here; n***as get booked/You p***y come back for his s**t, the p***y get douche/We the ultimate Thug N***as, The Grand Goons/Majesty and E Money Bags already told you/If 'Pac was still alive we be on the same team/We got bigger fish to fry then that b***h supreme"

16. Prodigy - "Stuck On You"
"Even get me outta drama, or put me in a locker/Y'all gon' have me wind up in that chair with the tires/Stab a n***a like Myers/But I'd rather put fire to your ass like Pryor (Damn!)/'Cause I prefer the iron/Shoot at b***h ass n***as and do 'em like Bison/I got big jump-off that fit down my pants leg/'Lil jump-offs, your dunn know/A damn thang"

17. Prodigy - "Bang On Em"
"Projects f**ked me up, made me strong as an Ox/Made the n***a cold blooded ain't no friends on the block/This the comrades and coldies, the crooked ass police/Playin' cracks in the pocket send you up in creek/Look don't ask me why Queensbridge can't stick together/If you don't know the answer then you don't know the ghetto/Everybody don't get along and that's what it is/We either shootin' when we shoot them n***as or we gon' get hit"

18. Nas Featuring Mobb Deep - "Live Ni**a Rap"
"Yo, NYC, U-N-I-verse, seriously/Havoc and P, Queens n***as so it seem to be/Monopolize, strategies of war, exercise/Mega got word back from Noreaga/The D.A. got video cassette taper/The god with the God-U-Now, pullin' a caper/Runnin' up in the spot, mask and duct taped up/Pig-tied they motherf**kin' wrists to they ankles"

19. Big Pun Featuring Prodigy & Inspectah Deck - "Tres Leches"
"My rhymes, get Ruger endorsements/My song boost/Intertec sales through the ceiling/Let's talk with guns, convo til the po-lice come/Give you a red shirt with the wet hat to match/First max like it's Hamburger Hill for real/It's Red Dawn when the Mobb get it on, my outfit/Stuck on some wild out s**t, all about it/We move gambit, through the overcrowded"

20. LL Cool J Featuring Keith Murray, Prodigy, Fat Joe & Foxy Brown - "I Shot Ya (Remix)"
"I conversate with many men, it's time to begin again/Forgot what I already knew, ayo, you hear me friend/Illuminati want my mind, soul and my body/Secret society, trying to keep they eye on me/But I'm stay incogni', in places they can't find me/Make my moves strategically, the G.O.D/It's sorta similar but iller than a chess player/I use my thinker, it coincides with my blinker"

21. DJ Clue Featuring Mobb Deep & Big Noyd - "The Professional"
"Yo you catch chills, P stimulates your eardrum/Tastebuds, more higher than drugs, my song take em/I blast off on the track, lord/My s**t is pure satisfaction, what more could you ask for/Wit facts like an answer, I pour fire on earth, I been to hot raw/Do Queens tires get burnt, let's peel through the real slide through my terrain, take a ride wit me/Check out my lifestyle, it's a off-road course, I stay challenged/But that's a good thing cause it creates balance"

22. Pete Rock Featuring Raekwon, Prodigy & Ghostface Killah - "Tha Game"
"Vintage rhyme division got the globe listening/My rap scroll belittled your goals and visions/Prohibition got my whole block pissing Christians/One-fifty-one Dunn'll have you off balance walkin/Don't let your emotions get involved, talkin/To the wrong culprit, the killer be the soft spoken/So what's ya intentions, you want to glow for the moment?/Throw on your two pennies, then you bolting/I rock for the few chosen, who got their third minds open"

23. Prodigy - "Real Power Is People"
"Live from the belly, they got me behind the fence/I run s**t from the inside of the f**king President/Of the Infamous Gang - get whiff from my stank/I got that iky-iky cotton picky s**t that have you dazed/I'm a quadruple O.G., a O so call me/The reincarnation of the Pharaoh with an Olde E/The barrel full of hot lead; shoot a pot head/Talking that s**t about Hip-Hop dead"

24. Prodigy - "Young Veterans"
"You're a plant fool; I'll put your flesh in the dirt/I tried to be polite, but you wanna be a jerk/Tried to prove a point; the only thing that you proved/Is people get killed simply for being rude/You thought you was the man, turned out to be a chump/You thought something sweet, believe Jay[Z] if you want/Ga'head believe Nas or whoever you choose/You come on over here and you gon' see the truth/It's nothing out the ordinary, this is what we do"

25. Mobb Deep - "Win or Lose"
"It's like ahh, s**t it's on, time to go shopping/For cars not fashion, my whips be the bomb/My clothes be the same s**t that we had on/And f**k looking cute, save that for the broad/And we the only n***as you know, that f**k they P.O.'s/They push our files to the top, you still on parole/We got, money to roll, no time for penitentiaries/Too much dollars to fold, it's bulging out our jeans"

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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.

Made with Visme Infographic Maker

___ 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 thebomb.com for your skin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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