Damian Marley On Creating ‘Stony Hill’ & Destroying Stereotypes With Medicinal Cannabis Line
Damian Marley’s uninhibited energy is a goal. His life path has taken him along many routes, including one in music, fatherhood and now an exemplary voice for the medicinal cannabis community.
Following the rollout of Stony Hill, his first solo studio album in over a decade, arrived #Medication. The documentary-style project is a direct homage to the track with brother Stephen Marley with testimonies from cancer and PTSD patients on how much THC and CBD oils have improved their lives.
“I’ll fully admit how wrong I was about cannabis,” Jenny Mai says. Her son Nate, who’s autistic and diabetic, was prone to lashing out towards his mother and even caused harm to himself. Looking for better treatments, Jenny uprooted her family from Wisconsin to California to engage in alternative medicine.
“We thought, ‘We have to at least try it, we have nothing left to lose’” she said. “Within seven months, he no longer had to take the 18 pills he was taking every day. We’re having three to four months of breakdowns instead of three to four hours. It’s nice to be able to walk up to my son and he gives me a kiss, as opposed to when he would come up to me and try to rip my arm off.”
Sierra Riddle shared a similar story about her son Landon, who was diagnosed with aggressive leukemia at two years old. “It’s not right that they’re keeping this healing away from our children,” Sierra says about medicinal treatment.
Like Jenny, Sierra moved her family from Utah to Denver to save her son. “Child Protective Services tried to take him from me,” she said. “They were going to force him to have chemotherapy. This child needs cannabis, he does not need chemo or oxy at 2-3 years old.” Landon is currently in remission after nixing pharmaceuticals and embarking in cannabis treatments. “The cannabis makes me feel good, I don’t want to go back to chemo,” Landon said. “One day, I am going to go to a war against them (doctors).”
Marley has stepped up to the battlefield for Landon and countless others with his CBD line, also named Stony Hill. The hemp-rooted company sells medicinal CBD products geared towards sleep deprivation like gummies, natural topical CBD lotions for pain and inflammation and dosing practices for newcomers.
His lowkey profound efforts truly place his LP in a new light. “Medication,” is not just a love letter to Mary Jane but a new admiration for life because of it.
“Whatever ideas came to mind, we just went along with it,” he said about the creative process of Stony Hill. “At the end of the day, we reflected back on what we played and take out certain sounds. It’s organic, it’s family based, I make a lot of my music with my brothers, we make music at home and we’re inspired by life.”
Another natural pairing was JAY-Z. Marley says their collaboration for 4:44 cut “Bam,” was just that. “From a fan standpoint, it was great to work on music with someone you’re a fan of,” he said. “Very organic, very down to earth. I was heading out to California to shoot a video and he was out there working on his project so he hit me up about working together.”
The two (with a blessing from Sister Nancy) filmed the video in Jamaica over the summer, with the song entering Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Songs chart last week.
Marley isn’t one to boast about his accomplishments but does wish for respect when it comes to reggae acting as a hit-elixir with non-Caribbean artists. In the past few years, artists like Justin Bieber, Drake, and Chris Brown have adapted dancehall sounds with positive reception from fans.
“We as musicians want our music to reach as many ears as possible, that’s how popular music is created,” he said. “When it comes to the heritage of reggae music, we as Jamaicans, love when people show homage. Outside of that, it’s great when you hear reggae influencing other genres. And other genres influencing reggae.”
Always thinking ahead, Marley notes that in time, genres won’t hold much meaning. “You rarely find any music these days that’s pure to the genre,” he said. “In this age that we’re living in with social media and the Internet, you can be here now and know what’s exactly going on in Jamaica, or Ethiopia. Cultures are blending, genres are blending and in the next ten years, you probably won’t have any pure genre. Everything will be mixed up. It’s just a part of the new way of life.”
Watch the rest of VIBE’s interview with Marley up top. Find out more about his line of CBD products here.