Today is 4/20, a.k.a “weed day.”
Once a year on this day, people look to unwind, enjoy some snacks and have a good time.
No art form is more synonymous with a “sesh” than music, so here are the best albums to accompany the 4/20 festivities:
Doggystyle — 1993
The godfather of cannabis in hip-hop, Snoop Dogg lit the world on fire with his party-centric debut album, “Doggystyle.”
“Doggystyle” perfectly represents Snoop’s laid-back persona, as the media personality raps about partying and spending time with friends across beats smoother than silk. The songs provide a calm backdrop for anyone looking to relax, as Snoop appropriately says on “Gin and Juice”: “So we gon’ smoke an ounce to this.”
A pillar of West-Coast hip-hop, “Doggystyle” was a huge influence on cannabis culture in rap, paving the way for artists like Wiz Khalifa and Afroman. The album will force its way into listeners’ ears and refuse to leave.
Lonerism — 2012
Released in 2012, this epically scaled album comes from the creative mind of Australian native Kevin Parker, who writes, produces and records all of the songs for this musical project.
The album contains some of the most masterful uses of instruments ever recorded, particularly in “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?” where Parker sings about his dreadful loneliness against flawless drums and a reflectively trippy beat that would fit right at home on The Beatles’ iconic album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
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Filled with enough trippy synthesizers for an EDM concert and a range of moods that showcase just how versatile Parker is, “Lonerism” is Tame Impala’s magnum opus, showcasing some of the best modern day rock and songwriting around.
Blackout! — 1999
Method Man & Redman
At the end of the 20th Century, Method Man and Redman surprised the world with a collaborative album greater than anything the pair had released on their own.
Packed with all the aggression of 1990s NYC raps, the two spit savory rhymes across a boatload of beats from legendary producers including Redman himself, Erick Sermon and Method Man’s fellow Wu-Tang Clan member RZA.
As one of the last great rap albums in the genre’s most influential decade, “Blackout!” is one of the best albums of 1999, and with plenty of laughable cannabis references, it will be perfect for anyone celebrating 4/20:
“[Method Man] Look up in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane / [Redman] It’s the Funk Doctor Spock smokin’ buddah on the train”
Blonde — 2016
After spending four years in relative solitude, Frank Ocean surprised everyone with the release of “Endless,” a 45-minute visual album that left many confused about what Frank had been up to prior to 2016. That question was luckily answered one day later, with “Blonde.”
Discussing themes of nostalgia and lost love, Frank tells a tale of self-discovery and growing up, heartfully singing, “we’ll never be those kids again” on “Ivy,” a heartbreaking track about a failed relationship, which he perfectly balances with a beautiful guitar that details the artists indie influences.
Although Frank rarely includes more than a few features on his albums, “Blonde” contains an interesting list of personnel, including a verse from Andre 3000, a riff from John Mayer and hard-to-notice background vocals from Beyoncé and Yung Lean.
While many of their contributions were minimal, Frank utilizes each guest like a cog in a machine, putting them all together to create “Blonde.”
Dark Side of the Moon — 1973
Following growing fame and a fascination with experimentation, Pink Floyd released one of the most iconic examples of ‘70s British rock, shocking the world with “Dark Side of the Moon.”
Opting to go beyond traditional instrumentation, the band used sound effects like a cash register and clocks on “Money” and “Time,” respectively.
“Time” features a particularly thoughtful verse from David Gilmour and Richard Wright discussing the hopelessness of breaking a miserable routine.
“Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day / Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way / Kicking around on a piece of ground in your hometown / Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”
Internal dialogue like this is perfect for individuals who want to look back on their lives, and anyone looking for a reflective sesh after a long day will find themselves right at home on this project. But existentialists beware: this album coupled with a fat blunt can be a recipe for disaster, leading you down a rabbit hole of questioning your own existence.
K.I.D.S. — 2010
In 2010, the world was introduced to an 18-year-old rapper who went by the name of Mac Miller. Creating fun and energetic party songs that could make anyone smile, Mac’s mainstream debut, “K.I.D.S,” is the perfect album for a hike or another outdoor activity.
While all the songs have similar concepts, the project still manages to maintain variety through different speeds and beats, best seen on tracks like “Outside” and “Don’t Mind If I Do.”
In both production and lyricism, the album’s high level of positivity is perfect for anyone searching for a backdrop to accompany their next rotation, as the album encapsulates the vibes of a chill cyph with its smile-inducing verse from the forever young and carefree Mac Miller.
“Get the herb rolled, let’s relax / Take your shoes off and kick it back / We escape the world, escape the stress / But I don’t give a f–k if the house a mess / ‘Cause we gon’ handle that later, we gon’ handle that later / Right now, let’s get this paper and smile for all them haters.”
2 — 2012
One of the strangest albums on this list, “2” is Mac DeMarco at his weirdest, fusing slow lyrics, trippy music videos and the dreariest distortion of guitar in recent memory.
Feeding off each other, these three facets paint a gloomy picture of the Canadian musician, portraying a carefree man who only wants to live his best life possible.
While the sharp sounds and hippie undertones may turn people away, anyone looking to celebrate 4/20 will find themselves right at home on this relaxing LP.
Alex Falter is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at [email protected]
Photo: Courtesy of Ski Mask the Slump God