FYF Fest 2016 - Day 2
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When You Weren't Looking, Blood Orange Delivered The Album Of The Year

Blood Orange's 'Negro Swan' is an exploration into the duality of the black man with art that transcends the norm.

Blood Orange may not be looking to change the world, but his music strives to change conversations surrounding mental health and masculinity. The British singer-songwriter's latest studio album, Negro Swan, was an underrated release in Aug. 2018 and an ode to black depressives with an anxious tale of the marginalized black life and the strife that lies within it.

Enclosed in a 49-minute project, the playlist screams from its belly with angst, clocked in soft voices and live instrumentals. No one wants to be the odd one out at times/No one wants to be the negro swan,” Blood Orange cries on "Charcoal Baby," a track positioned toward the album's center and the first single released in promotion of the new LP.

His single "Hope" is a reluctant battle with love and expectations mastered by Diddy and Tei Shi. A first for the music mogul, Orange captures the Bad Boy producer in a rare mood — vulnerable.

Negro Swan listens as an organized free-flowing thought that hinges on vulnerability, bringing you to the pits of adolescence where you once navigated your position in the world. Blood Orange — also known as Dev Hynes — gives raw expression and a broadening definition of the black man. Masculine and fluid, the long play is not just for queers or people of color; it's for anyone who needs to feel comfortable. 

Speaking to VIBE, Blood Orange opens up about expanding the understanding of a man and masculinity and the creative process behind Negro Swan.                                                                                                                                         ---

VIBE: First I want to congratulate you on your album Negro Swan. I want to start with one of your songs, "Charcoal Baby." You played it a year ago before you released it at The Meadows.

Blood Orange: Yeah, I did.

What made you decide to wait almost a year before releasing it?

For me, especially those songs, I felt like the context of the album and everything around it would serve it better. I felt that the content of the album would help to serve it with the artwork and the video of the song. I felt it would make more sense that way.  

In the video, you open with the definition of family, so what does family mean to you?

To me, it's definitely not a case of blood, it's whatever you choose. That is my interpretation.

Do you think that your core values come from your chosen family, or what has been instilled in you since you were a child?

I would say a mixture of both. I feel like I was given some very good models as a child that are definitely ingrained in me. But you know experiencing life also led me to people that have helped to expand those core beliefs. I am very much informed by people whom I trust.

I really liked your visuals for “Jewelry” and that Janet Mock was in it, and the mosh pit style of all of the black masculine-presenting people. I really loved that you had on this rainbow belt in the middle of all of this.

(Laughing) The belt.

I wanted to know what was your inspiration for the video? How did Janet Mock being in the video come about and then the mosh pit of course?

The song to me is the center of the album. Personally, I feel like every aspect of the album is well-represented in that song. It was important for me to have that put out visually. Out of all the songs on the album, that's the one that moves about more. I thought it would be good if the video was more of a visual rather than a music video, so it could ground the music and make it easier to understand.

You have one image for each section that's somewhat strong. Each of the sections, I tried to visualize each as its own image. It’s interesting because I did not have an album cover at that point, and my label was asking me because time was running out, and I told them no matter what happens, the album cover will come from that video. I always knew that video, to me, summed up the album, so I didn't know what it was going be, but I was just going to take tons of photos while shooting and directing, and I knew that there would be an image for it from the album.

The "Chewing Gum" video with A$AP Rocky — I think it is very interesting because both of you have very different styles and ways you do music and present yourselves. What was it like working with A$AP Rocky being that the dichotomy between you two is so different?

It was good. One thing that is interesting about our video is that I actually shot it before the song was finished. I shot that video nearly two years ago, which is kind of crazy? That happens a lot with different videos that came out, I actually did years before. I am always working on these things at the same time, and then they kind of melt together, but that one was basically a couple of nights.

I was staying at his house at that period and working on music. Worked on the song, had started a verse on it, and I was still trying to work on imagery with the album. Then, I had this vision with us two that I felt would, in a way... I'm always just working out things. The scene that is a group of us in "Jewelry" kind of mobbing is the same tone as what I was working on in the “Chewing Gum” video. It's hard for me to use words because I use visuals. I don't know delicate masculinity.

I think overall, the imagery that you have created does a really good job at capturing a masculine presence in a very delicate way. You do very well at providing different layers to black men.

That's cool, yeah that's sick, that’s all I'm trying to do. So, that's what that video is. I just felt like it was a place that we could meet, Rocky and I. I was trying to create this world where it worked.

What is your favorite video that you created?

There are a lot. I think "Jewelry" and "Saint." It captures something. I think “Jewelry” captures the mood of the album and "Saint" captures, I don't want to say “behind-the-scenes,” but it captures the energy of when I am making stuff because that is actually my studio in the video.

Oh really?

Yeah, nothing is staged in that. I had my friends be there and we planned all the shots but that is my studio that is the view. That's it in Chinatown (NYC). Nothing was moved. I didn't move keyboards. That is literally it. To me, that was kind of a special one because it had that energy. So that (“Saint”) and "Jewelry."

Recently, I saw on your Instagram that you worked with Mariah Carey on her Caution album. That must have been a very interesting moment?

Yeah, that's wild. We worked on that song before Negro Swan came out actually. We really connected, I don't need to say, but she is real. Her music knowledge is so crazy, and I mean it's wild, not just in terms of what she knows discography-wise, but everything. Just her actual music intellect. It was just an insane learning experience. I still can't quite believe it happened actually.

That's amazing, because she is considered a music legend and a vocal legend, so being able to work with her must be really affirming in the fact that you are a talented artist and people are interested in hearing you.

I guess I should start looking at it like that. It's still really hard for me to take stuff like that in.

Why do you say that?

I don't know. I just still feel really personal. I still make stuff the same way I made it when I was, like, 14. Everything is still pretty much the same. I mean, some techniques have changed and I keep to myself quite a bit. I haven't read a review in like nine years.

I've seen that you identify as being fluid, and I wanted to know how your fluidity transfers to your music?

I think it transfers in the way that is kind of interesting. I never really feel like I am working on music. It's always like I am just doing things and living life and while I do that I work on music. So everything in my life goes into my music.

Because of that, it's more journalistic or just driving into. It's like this thing that is a constant that is happening, so I think because of that, and because it is so personal, and because it is really just me and what is on my mind, I don't really write songs. But especially, like, I can honestly say the entirety of Blood Orange stuff, there have maybe been three times I have written a song. As in, I sat down and wrote a song from start to finish. It's more like a bunch of tapestries or pieces that I am always working on at the same time and weaving in and out of, which is why sometimes lyrics repeat and melodies repeat.

I finish all the songs at the same time and then the album is done. So everything that is going on in my life and how I am feeling. I feel in my life the freer and easier making music is. It's essentially like fluidity and my sexual preference is like a part. It's as important as me singing about my childhood and my day-to-day. It kind of goes right inside.

So being that you identify as fluid, do you also consider yourself to be masculine?

I don't know. It may sound kind of crazy, but I kind of leave that stuff up to whoever wants to think about it. I don't think about it, because to me I am just being me. I don't ever really think about those tags or things. For example, I play a crazy amounts of sports — my whole life, I always have. I guess in the world that has set up the idea of "boys play sports" that can be seen as masculine, but because I don't really view the world that way I don't know if it's masculine.

You have spoken out about being harassed for being fluid, how do you find serenity in yourself when hate comes your way?

I've learned to really take it as something has been triggered inside the person that is giving the hate. I have learned to understand that more. Rather than it being about me, it's about the person who is projecting, which is obviously an easier said practice than it is done. I learned to go there and to still keep myself and think of myself and stay somewhat positive. I mean, it is tough but I've had to work on that, and I am still working on that, really.

Do you think you openness about being fluid has affected your perspective of being a black person in the music industry?

I don't know, I don't think about this. I don't know if that is good or bad, but I just really believe in everyone being themselves and everyone being themselves without judgment, which I feel is really important.

Especially in a world nowadays where it seems like nobody is allowed to make mistakes- which is strange because literally, no one is perfect — and I think this pressure will make people not be themselves. It's kind of counterintuitive, I find that a little sad. So, I don't know.

I am turning 33 next month, and I think about my life, and having to work things out by myself, and the place that it took me, and the places I don’t understand, and maybe the mistakes I have made. It just kind of... I feel like it's a journey I would never, ever want to replace, because it has made me who I am, and made me sure of who I am without feeling any shame within that. I feel like it’s a positive thing.

I tried to say it a couple of times when people would ask me about the album, and I would try and say I have a view of what I think this album is about and the title can be taken anyway people want. But the most important thing for me is that no one feels like they can't reflect on that. I want everyone to be able to listen to it and take something from it, and not feel that it is not for them. It may be somewhat specific because it's my point of view making it, and I know what I was thinking about, but I want every single person who wants to take something from it to be able to take something from it, regardless if that is queer, non-binary, or cis or anything. I want people to feel comfortable in being those things.

How do you think you got to the point of you being so comfortable within yourself?

Honestly, from going to a very dark place. I've gone to some very dark places in the last few years, and I think, again, that the only way out is when you are just left with yourself. It's almost like going to the end of extreme pessimism and nihilism, and the outcome is that of "I don't know a negative optimist." Something like that.

If for some reason there was a time machine and you could give young Dev advice, what would you tell yourself?

Probably just to keep going. I mean, I say it to myself now, so I would have probably said it back then too. Just keep doing you. All that matters in life is yourself and family and people you love, and trying to make others and yourself happy and living life. That's kind of all I care about.

READ MORE: Divine Intervention: Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes Shows What It Really Means To Be Young, Gifted & Black On ‘Freetown Sound’

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Then & Now: The O'Jays Highlight Their Rich Discography, Trump And New Album 'The Last Word'

Soul legends The O'Jays have seen a lot throughout their time in the game and displayed the state of the world through 31 albums. Their latest and final album The Last Word is no different as the trio dedicates tracks like "Above the Law" towards social injustice and callings of a love movement on "Enjoy Yourself."

For this session of VIBE's Then & Now series, group co-founders Gerald Levert and Walter Williams take a trip down memory lane with their biggest hits. It wasn't easy as the group has a slew of Top 20 Billboard hits like "Love Train," "Used Ta Be My Girl" and the stirring "Backstabbers," but the duo made sure to share how the tracks were made with spiritual undertones thanks to Philadelphia songwriting icons Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

"That song had a big fat message of love, the bible speaks of love throughout it," Williams says about their 1974 hit "Love Train." "It was an idea when we went in the studio. They had the track and we recorded the background but no verses. But [Kenny] Gamble wrote the first and second verses and we went in the studio and tried it out and went on to do the adlibs. Because of the lyrical content, you can feel where it was going."

The two also showed love for those who have sampled their work like Angie Stone and Drake. The rapper cleverly interpolated 1972's "Backstabbers" in his 2016 hit, "Fake Love" while Stone lifted the track for her 2002 single "Wish I Didn't Miss You."

"I like him, I like his message and I liked his delivery," Levert said about Drake's approach to the sample. "I like where he's going in his music. There's not a lot of profanity and cursing and saying a lot of negative words. There's a message in his music."

Often praised for their political undertones, Williams and Levert say their ability to stay consistent allowed them to make some of the most timeless music in R&B.

"It's tough to get around but you have to be persistent," Williams said. "You have to go after what you want today. You have to stay relentless and then you get action."

Levert notes that today's artists are holding back when it comes to speaking up against the political machine. "I think the younger artists are too afraid to hurt their fanbase by taking a stand," he said. "They're too afraid to offend or think, 'It's not my fight. Things have changed, we don't need to address that.' Things are not gonna change as long as you don't speak out on it. If you just keep letting things go on and you never have anything to say, they will continue to go that way."

Watch Then & Now with The O'Jays up top.

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Music Sermon: The Divinity Of Luther Vandross

“There are voices in this world and once they sing, it’s a stamp on everybody.” Bravo producer and personality Andy Cohen was asking Patti Labelle about her dear friend Luther Vandross on talk show Watch What Happens Live. “Luther’s done that.”

Luther Ronzoni Vandross, Jr. was the preeminent urban pop singer; the essence of ‘80s quiet storm R&B. He was called “the velvet voice” and “the Black Pavarotti,” but there’s not really a male predecessor he compares to because he didn’t pattern himself after the soul men like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, or Teddy Pendergrass. He studied the divas. Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Patti Labelle were the voices that fascinated and inspired a young Luther. Seeing Dionne Warwick live at the Brooklyn Fox Theater made him realize he wanted to sing. “She came on stage and just killed me; the music was more serious, the song value was more serious. 'Anyone Who Has a Heart' was a masterpiece,” he told The Washington Post. “I decided at that point that I wanted to do something in music."

The difference informs the distinction between him and most other men of R&B. Luther sang from a softer space, topically and tonally. He usually sang from a gentle, easy place. Not urgent. Not aggressive. Never suggestive. His first greatest hits compilation was titled The Best of Luther, The Best of Love because his entire catalog was love. Romantic and devoted love, not sex or lust. Adoration. And while his voice is appreciated–he’s featured on every greatest vocalist list of note–the full range and depth of Luther’s vocal craftsmanship are not. He was a writer, producer, and one of the greatest vocal manipulators in the game, as well-known and sought-after from early in his career for his vocal arrangements as his singing. The New York Times once described Luther as having an “obsession with the human voice, bordering on clinical.” Some people’s gifts are leagues beyond the old talent-plus-preparation-equals-opportunity equation. Some are truly called, anointed even. Luther was divinely appointed.

The world was officially introduced to Luther in 1981, but he was already an established singer’s singer on the professional circuit. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, teenaged Luther was part of youth performing arts group sponsored by the Apollo Theater called Listen My Brother. Their music was largely social commentary, and they performed in and around New York, including on the very first episode of Sesame Street.

In 1974, Luther accidentally landed a gig as a background singer and arranger for David Bowie. He visiting a friend in Bowie’s band at the studio, and talking about an idea to improve the hook for “Young Americans,” unaware that the singer was standing within earshot. Bowie loved the idea, hired Luther, and quickly became a champion for the young singer’s budding career. Luther handled vocal arrangements for the entire Young Americans album, and additionally wrote the album cut “Infatuation.” He also performed a 45-minute opening set of his own material each night on tour, at Bowie’s insistence.

Luther’s singing here on the far left.

Bowie then introduced the crooner to Bette Midler, who took him on tour, and Luther’s career as an in-demand background singer and arranger was underway. His study of great female vocalists helped him develop an ear that set him apart. “One of the contexts you have to understand was that the background singing has always been a female-dominated area,” Luther explained in an early interview. “I was bringing stuff on my own to the sessions that was kind of unique in terms of how to do background vocals. And later I learned never to give away anything you can sell, so I started charging for this extra bit of approach, which was fine, because by this time everyone wanted it so bad that they were willing to pay for it.”

Over the years, Luther sang with Carley Simon, Chic (“Everybody Dance”), Average White Band, Chaka Khan, and Roberta Flack, who chided him for getting too comfortable as a background singer and encouraged him to finally put a demo together. Due to his own intimate relationship with excellence in backing vocals, Luther was famously known to always use the top talent in the business for his albums. A read through the personnel of his catalogue will reveal names including Cissy Houston, James Ingram, Darlene Love, Tawatha Agee (lead singer of Mtume), premiere professional backing vocalists like Fonzi Thornton, and Lisa Fischer, who Luther pushed to get out of her comfort zone and record as Flack did with him.

During a recording session for Quincy Jones, Luther was introduced to a commercial producer, who then helped him break into the jingle-writing business. He’s always been credited with his ability to write an infectious hook–that talent was honed with jingles.

Before Luther took the solo leap, he tried the group route. He briefly had a deal as part of a group called, appropriately, Luther. They recorded two albums, but neither made any noise. Then, he joined disco group Change as their frontman and had two hits, including one of my favorite mood-boosting, make everything right anthems.

Luther had a little money in his pocket from commercials and background singing, and from writing and producing a song for the Broadway musical-turned-major motion picture The Wiz.

Oh, you didn’t know Luther wrote “A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)”?

He had the means to record and produce his demo himself, and assembled what became his career dream team. While in the group Listen My Brother, Luther met pianist Nat Adderly, Jr., son of jazz trumpeter Nat Adderley and nephew of saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley. As a session singer, he met bassist Marcus Miller and recommended him to Gladys Knight, and the two bonded while on tour. He recruited them both to put together the songs that eventually became Never Too Much, and they were key contributing architects to Luther’s signature sound.

Miller is responsible for those slappin’ basslines that were prevalent in Luther’s early work, and for most of Luther’s uptempo cuts. “I never had any official responsibilities with Luther because we used to just work,“ Marcus shared in an interview, “but I felt like one of my (unspoken) responsibilities was to make sure Luther had tracks on his album that could be played on the radio during the day time.”

Adderley’s genius came through in Luther’s trademark covers. In Luther’s case, “remake” is a more apt description than “cover,” because he and Nat would take the original songs apart, stretch them out, invert them, slow parts down, add sections, reverse some sh*t… it was a whole different composition when they were done. The lush string and woodwind arrangements in Luther ballads are Nat’s handiwork. Incredible piano flourishes and solos, also Nat.

When both Miller and Adderley worked on the track, magic ensued, starting with Luther’s forever-a-bop solo debut “Never Too Much.” Coming out of the funk band driven ‘70s landscape, labels were doubtful of Luther’s smooth solo style. Epic finally took a chance, and it hit just as popular urban music went through its next evolution, which happened to be right in Luther’s sonic pocket.

“Luther, Marcus Miller and I had a real musical connection,” Nat has said. “We saw stuff the same way. We thought of things in the same way. When we came together, we really learned about each other and fed off of each other.”

Luther knew who he was as a singer and an artist. He wrote and produced the majority of his early material, and continued to co-write and co-produce through most of his career. He was clear on what worked for him both vocally and formulaically. Marcus Miller shared, “One of the things I used to hear him say was ‘I don’t need to compete with any other singers. Other singers sing hard, high, and with a lot of riffs. That’s not me. That’s not my thing. I’m just going to style these people to death.’” And he styled us to death, honey. Luther was the king of melisma and dramatic effect, but without oversinging. Where most vocalists would build towards a climax in the song, Luther’s structure was often reversed. He’d start easy, build during the middle, and come back to a soft, light, but emotional close.

This careful, deliberate singing was part of his genius. There’s a reason Black folks yell “Take your time,” to soloists when they’re in their bag–mastery isn’t rushed.

As I mentioned before, Luther was also a transformative cover artist. Would straight Deebo your song – that was his song, now. And artists didn’t even mind, because he elevated it so incredibly. Some of Luther’s biggest hits are covers: “Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me” (The Carpenters and Aretha Franklin), “Anyone Who Had a Heart” (Dionne Warwick), “Since I Lost My Baby” (The Temptations), “Bad Boy/Having a Party” (an interpolation of Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party”), “If Only for One Night” (Brenda Russell), “Creepin’” (Stevie Wonder). He was a repeat offender with Dionne Warwick’s material from Burt Bacharach and Hal David, jacking not just “Anyone Who Had a Heart,” the song that blew him away at a young age, but also “A House is Not a Home”–on the same album. And she didn’t even care, look at her.

Luther’s capabilities as Mr. Steal-Your-Song also translated to his strength as a duet partner. He knew how to blend voices so perfectly, he was outstanding when paired with another strong vocalist. Luther produced Cheryl Lynn’s 1982 album Instant Love, and took the opportunity to use a Tammi and Marvin classic to showcase the singer’s strength beyond uptempo dance hits.

One of my favorite Luther duets and covers is an album cut with the tragically uncelebrated Martha Wash. Their version of the torch song standard “I Who Have Nothing,” is a little heavy on production in some places, especially the early ‘90s R&B sax, but their voices are perfect together. And the breakdown at the end? Whew. All the feels. All of them.

But Luther could also do very sweet and simple arrangements, like his duet with Gregory Hines. This song always makes me wish Gregory had done more professional singing after he left musical theater.

Don’t get it twisted, though, Luther specialized in controlled vocals, but he could act a fool when he wanted to. Especially when playing off the energy of another singer, like his dear friend and my favorite Auntie, queen of extra just because she can, Patti Labelle.

Jenifer Holliday and Luther messed around and pushed poor Paul Simon out of his own damn song.

Luther was a balladeer of elite caliber, but he’ll also get an uptempo jumpin’, literally. When Aretha’s career was in a lengthy lull and facing the challenges of a new musical era, Clive Davis called Luther to write and produce for her. Luther, who once called himself an "Arethacologist," was thrilled to work with one of his biggest idols and inspirations. But Luther was a very exacting producer; he would tell vocalists specifically what and how to sing. Auntie Re wasn’t playing that at first, and even stormed out of the studio at one point, but the end result was her biggest hit in seven years.

Luther himself has several cookout and red cup party classics. Tunes that me, you, your mama and your cousin can dance to. That’s part of the beauty in Luther’s music; there’s no content too mature–or too immature–for anyone. While recalling Luther, Marcus Miller remarked, “There is no greater feeling in the world than walking down the street in New York City and hearing a Luther song blasting in the street.” I can personally confirm, as someone who’s heard Luther blasting while in these New York City streets.

What I don’t believe is acknowledged enough is Luther’s longevity. A 20-year career is a rare feat for any artist, but especially for a core R&B singer who started in the ‘80s. Luther did have pop hits–“Here and Now” was one of the biggest wedding songs of the ‘90s–but he was always a core R&B artist, and always stayed on brand and on topic. He was somewhat inactive in the latter ‘90s after ending his contract with Epic Records; he released one album with Virgin records in 1996, but it’s not usually included in his definitive material. Whispers and speculation about his health began, as he’d spent much of the ‘90s going up and down dramatically with his weight. But he made a fierce return in the early aughts. His final two albums, with Clive Davis’ J. Records, were two of the biggest in his career, with material that was relevant and contemporary without sounding contrived.

This song makes me want to put on some white linen and go on somebody’s boat ride.

As secure as Luther had always been in his artistry, he still felt overlooked as a writer and producer and longed for critical recognition beyond R&B. Out of 33 career Grammy nominations with eight wins, only two were in the Pop category. It wasn’t until his final album, 2003’s Dance With my Father, that Luther earned the elusive Song of the Year nomination and subsequent win he’d been longing for, for the album’s title track. But he also suffered a debilitating stroke in April 2003, before the project’s release. Since he was unable to shoot a video, artists who loved him stepped in with their children or parents as a tribute. Warning: this video may cause severe allergy flareups.

I have no doubt that barring health issues, Luther would at minimum still be touring. He was one of the most thorough live performers I’ve ever seen, with production simple enough to keep the vocals as the centerpiece, but extra enough so you were visually entertained as well (lots of sequins). Luther was touring in 2003 until his stroke (do yourself a favor and listen to his Live at Radio City Music Hall album, his last live appearance), and was scheduled to perform at Essence Festival that year. Can you imagine Luther at Essence Fest?

When news of Luther’s death broke, my mother and I–both huge fans–were driving to a family reunion, and we played and sang along to his music for about four states. I still play Luther when I need a boost, or when I want to burrow deep down into my feelings. When I want to go into chill mode, or when I want to dance around the house. Luther is all-purpose. He is all-emotion. He is everything. He was a gift.


#MusicSermon is a weekly series by Naima Cochrane that highlights the under-acknowledged and under-appreciated urban artists and sub-genres from the '90s and earlier. The series seeks to tell unknown and/or forgotten stories that connect the dots between current music, culture and the foundations of the past.

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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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