When it comes to “HighTunes,” I look for a certain feel. I like to listen to music that my soul can hear. I want the music to grab me and take me a place in my mind/heart that I wasn’t even aware existed.
To help capture that feeling today, I’ve created a list of albums that perfectly illustrate what I mean, and since we’re family, I’m going to share it with you because I want your 4/20 to be musically perfect. So load a bowl (or five), throw on one of these albums, and enjoy the day/night to the best of your abilities.
Drake – More Life
Off top, I’ve GOT to put my man Drizzy Drake Rogers on this list for the masterpiece that is More Life. Yes, I said masterpiece, because it’s the exact project I’ve been waiting for Drake to give us since So Far Gone. To be honest, I think it’s his best work ever. At the risk of sounding Yes Julz-ish, that shit is a serious vibe. Just let the “Passionfruit” roll into “Get It Together” and tell me you don’t feel that warmth in your heart.
Strain Pairing: Blue Dream
Blue Dream’s my favorite strain; Drake’s my favorite artist; More Life’s my favorite project. It just feels right. Blue Dream mellows me out without putting me on my ass, which is exactly the type of strain I’ll need when I’m two-stepping with your mother on a Caribbean Island to “Madiba Riddim.”
Smino – blkswn
A Twitter friend of mine has been raving about Smino Brown for quite some time. However, because I’m stubborn and wack, I hadn’t given him a real chance until now, and I must say: I SHOULD NOT HAVE SLEPT ON THAT BOY SMINO AKA SMEETY PABLO (listen to the “blkswn” song and you’ll catch this). You shouldn’t, either. Learn from my mistakes. Get you a nice heavily-THC’d strain and fall deep into blkswn. Your ears and lungs will thank you.
Strain Pairing: GSC (f.k.a Girl Scout Cookies)
Due to blkswn having a sort of dark, nighttime chill vibe to it, I’d suggest GSC (f.k.a Girl Scout Cookies) for the occasion. It’s a hybrid that’ll take you to the promised land of relaxation. Look it up on Leafly and it says GSC “launches you to euphoria’s top floor where full-body relaxation meets a time-bending cerebral space.” That’s the exact zone you want to be in for blkswn.
Ravyn Lanae – Moon Shoes EP
I heard Ravyn on Smino’s album and said, “Oh hell yeah, I have to check her out ASAP.” So I did, and boy…this woman’s voice is something special. It really touches my soul and makes me feel some type of way. If I had to describe her voice, “audio freedom” is a phrase that comes to mind.
The EP is very appropriately titled, as it really makes me feel like I’m walking on the moon. When I first listened to Moon Shoes EP, I had to step outside and just stare at the sky as airplanes soared by. That’s how I felt, and if you live in a place that affords you that opportunity, you should do the very same.
Strain Pairing: Full Moon
Did you really think I wasn’t going to suggest a moon-related strain? Come on, now. Full Moon is the strain you want here. Read up on it and you’ll see that it’s a strong-ass sativa that produces a trippy, visually stimulating high, which is perfect for standing outside and staring at airplanes in the sky.
Post Malone – Stoney
Judging by my Twitter timeline when this album first dropped, the reviews were pretty mixed. But I thought it was a good album and an especially great stoner album (hence the name). For some reason, I really like Post Malone. Maybe it’s the instrumentation in the songs, maybe it’s his voice, or maybe it’s a mix of both, but either way, this album (specifically, songs like “Too Young,” “Congratulations,” and “Patient”) gives me this sort of “Man…life’s kind of fun, huh?” feeling that I can’t escape.
Strain Pairing: OG Cheese
I’ve only smoked OG Cheese a couple of times, but I remember it giving me a very comfortable feeling without putting me out of commission. I could smoke and do stuff, but I was still high enough to be like “Ay…yo…I’m stoned.” Find it, buy it, smoke it, get Stoney.
(Sidebar: It really does kind of smell like cheese. It’s kind of wild.)
Xavier Omär & Sango – The Hours Spent Loving You
Formerly known as SPZRKT, Xavier Omär’s voice mixed with Sango’s beats are a match made in heaven. Love can be a tough thing to chase, but listen to this album and it’ll have you writing love letters to strangers on some Joaquin Phoenix in Her shit. This album is the epitome of the “get high and listen to feel-good, good energy, singy-type tunes” sort of mood.
Next to Drake’s More Life, this is 100% my favorite thing to listen to right now. You can just press play and let Xavier Omär and Sango take you on a musical expedition. I have no clue how I found The Hours Spent Loving You, nor do I know why I haven’t heard of these guys until now, but just know I’ve spent the past four days in a cloud of Green Crack with this shit on repeat.
Strain Pairing: Green Crack
Green Crack is a good strain for this album because you can smoke it and keep moving around. The album has a little bounce to it, so it’s good to jam to when you’re running errands or just being active in general. The other day I took a couple hits of Green Crack from the one-hitter, then ran a mile (running is hard; 1 mile is my limit) to The Hours Spent Loving You, and it was a very rewarding experience. Green Crack had me feeling so good that I might even up it to 1.5 miles next time I run to this album. WHO KNOWS?! ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE.
Syd – Fin
If you’re familiar with The Internet (the band, not the thing that’s allowing you to read this article right now), you already know how busy Syd gets in the realm of vocal talent. If you don’t know about Syd, I suggest you visit The Internet’s Ego Death immediately. She absolutely floats on that album, much like she does on Fin. It’s her solo debut, and if this is the type of music we have to look forward to, I’m all in.
Fin is one of my favorite projects of the year. It jams, yo. Especially at night. Get you a nighttime bud, sink into the couch, and let Fin play through the nearest speaker at maximum volume.
Strain Pairing: Northern Lights
Every single time I’ve smoked this strain, it has put me in the sleeper hold. I’m unable to move, speak, or do anything other than basic human functions. That’s what you want for this album. You want to smoke something that’ll have you sitting there thinking, “Wow, this album is incredible. Can’t wait until I can feel my face again so I can sing along to it.” Northern Lights’ll do the trick.
Josh Sallee – Hush Hush
Chances are you haven’t heard of Josh Sallee, as he’s currently a local artist out of Oklahoma City. But don’t let the unfair negative connotation of “local” fool you; this man makes great music. I’ve been listening to him for a while, and Hush Hush is definitely his best project thus far. It’s deep; it’s personal; it’s honest; it’s introspective; it’s everything that you feel when you’re super high and thinking about your goals in life.
And that’s exactly why it’s on the list. It’s the perfect album to face an L to at 1:43 a.m. as you ponder if it’s time for you to quit your day job and become a full-time writer. (Or, ya know, whatever dream/goal is relative to you.) This is one of those albums that makes you sink within yourself, which is why I suggest a strong indica for the occasion.
Strain Pairing: Chemdawg
For a heavy album, you need a heavy strain, and I can tell you from experience that Chemdawg is exactly that. It’s so potent that you have no choice but to melt into your brain and get lost within your thoughts. Light that up, play this album, and I guarantee you’ll be locked into deep thought about life for its entirety.
Russ – Pink Elephant
I’ve been on Russ for a cool minute, just waiting for him to gain some traction behind his music. Turns out it’s finally happening. With hits like “What They Want” and “Losing Control,” he’s really starting to climb into the light.
If you aren’t familiar with the boy, Pink Elephant is a great introduction to him. His rap and singing talents, combined with his real life relatable content and a unique sound, make his music like a breath of fresh air. I love Russ, man. The way I feel when listening to him is the same way I felt listening to Drake for the first time in 2007. (Yes, I did just hit you with a “Man, I was on Drake before everybody!”)
Strain Pairing: Maui Wowie
Listening to Russ always puts me in a good mood, so I need a strain that matches that emotion. Maui Wowie does the trick. It’s such a feel-good strain that’ll actually give you a boost of energy as well. I don’t know, man, I smoke MW and I’m all smiles and happiness. The same happens when I listen to Pink Elephant (“Goodbye” and “Problem Child” = JAMS).
Khalid – American Teen
Boy oh boy, if this shit ain’t a sunroof open/windows down/just hop in the car and ride out type of album then I don’t know what it is. I listened to this for the first time on the drive back from Houston to Dallas a few weeks ago and after a while, I didn’t even realize I was driving anymore. My brain had gone full autopilot to this album. I just hit that cruise control and zoned out for a cool three hours until I was finally in my driveway. It’s good, man.
Khalid is extremely talented and American Teen is the proof. I suggest getting high, tossing on some headphones, and going on a walk of relaxation to this album.
Strain Pairing: Island Sweet Skunk
It’s a tropical-flavored sativa that makes you feel good. That’s pretty much all I can say about Island Sweet Skunk. I’ve had the pleasure of smoking it a few times and it’s a great strain for someone looking for a lift in energy and mood. Pair this strain with the album to maximize the effects of the entire experience. Island Sweet Skunk will not let you down.
Sango – North
How do you feel about instrumental albums? They go hard, right? Isn’t it dope how you can cue one up, get high, and just let your brain melt into the music until you feel like you’ve been listening to one long-ass song for 38 straight minutes? If you answered “yes” to any of that, Sango’s North album is the treat you’ve been craving.
I mentioned Sango earlier, but I’d consider The Hours Spent Loving You to be more of Xavier Omär’s album than his. It’s a voice vs. beat king of thing. But North is all Sango and his production genius. It took me three songs to realize that I hadn’t really heard any words, and that’s how I knew North was doing its job.
Strain: Death Star
Have you ever had Death Star? I had it ONE time and I still think about it every single day. That shit was strooooong. Like, extremely strong. I took two hits off a blunt of Death Star and I was like “Yo, I might be good on the rest of that.” That’s why it goes so well with North, because you won’t be able to focus on a damn thing when smoking this strain. The good news is with an instrumental album, you don’t need focus. You just need to close your eyes and open your mind. Death Star is the vehicle to get you there.