420 Has Evolved Into a Widely Embraced Hip-Hop "Highliday"

Posted by Billyjam, April 20, 2012 08:43am | Post a Comment

Verbal Assassinz, who are among performers at today's 4-20 The Smokeout "Highliday" Hip-Hop Fest, along with Young and Greedy on the song "That Good" - brand new video uploaded this week

Sure 420 (today's date, April 20th) may not be an official holiday but it sure seems like one to the legions of medical (and non-medical) marijuana advocates out there who have for many years been treating this date like any other important annual holiday with 420 events organized around today's date. This so-called "highliday" has also become closely intertwined with hip-hop music and culture, especially on the Left Coast, as witnessed by the number of weed themed hip-hop events happening today.  I personally only first became aware of 420 back in the mid nineties when I was over in Amsterdam reporting for the SF Bay Guardian on the High Times sponsored Cannabis Cup when, at exactly 4:20pm every afternoon, everyone would stop what they were doing to spark one one up. But weed-lore has it that the time of 4:20 to celebrate goes all the way back to the early 1970's when, somewhere in NorCal near Humboldt, a group of friends some folks chose that time of the day to light up, take two, and pass Since then the time morphed into the date of April 20th as a celebratory time.

Fast forward to April 20th, 2012 and this year's 420 has evolved into almost a national holiday with this year, it seems, having even more events planned around it than any previous year, especially hip-hop related ones, and especially in California where medical cannabis laws are more progressive than most states - even despite the recent confrontations with the Feds under the Obama Administration that Richard Lee and his Oaksterdam University endured (read more here c/o Huffington Post). Of course anyone who listens to hip-hop can tell you that with hip-hop music, just like with reggae, it seems like every other song has some reference to the sticky icky, and that since even before the early nineties blunted hip-hop craze hip-hop/rap had readily embraced weed culture dating all the way back to its roots in the Boogie Down Bronx.

In honor of 420, 2012 I've listed a few of the hip-hop and other music themed 420 events happening today and tomorrow, in the Bay Area. Additionally below I have posted some weed inspired hip-hop music videos - a few classics from over the years.  This evening starting at 7pm, including a free BBQ until 9pm, is The Smokeout with RBL Posse's Black C (who will do the classic RBL "Don't Gimme No Bammer" at least once), 11/5 (who will do "Garcia Vegas"), Dru Down, Young Dru, M-Dash, Illa Sevearr, Verbal Assassinz (see their brand new video above), and reggae act Tom Slick & Sofa Kin Tight. 21+ $10 At Time Out at 1822 Grant St. Concord, CA. Billed simply as 4/20 tonight at SOM Bar on 16th in the Mission district of SF is a reggae, dancehall, and bass music DJ night with sets from the South Rakkas Crew (Mad Decent - DJ Set), DJ Daneekah, DJ Sep, Kush Arora, Bootklap, Manitous vs Matt Haze, and U9Life live. 21+ 9pm - 3am. $5 before 10:30pm, then $10. More details here.

And (shameless self promotion) I will be doing a 420 radio show today on WFMU live from Good Records in the East Village, NYC (open to the public) between 6pm and 8pm (EST) which is 3pm to 5pm (PST) on 91.1FM or streaming on Also today in the Bay but on the house music/electronic/electro/dubstep etc tip is Womp Island 4/20 Music Festival with 3 stages of sound and with house DJ god Donald Glaude headlining plus a slew of other acts including House Nation Mafia, Bud Vapor, Danny Weird, Mstrex, Shark City, Rude Brat, and many more. Treasure Island Convention Center 9pm till 2am on Treasure Island between SF and Oakland in middle of the Bay. More info/tix here

Weed heads are notoriously late for things so it makes sense that some 420 events don't start on the date like Blunt World 3 which happens tomorrow, Saturday 4/21, at Mountain House near Livermore with performances from KeyD, B-Legit, Black C of RBL Posse, San Quinn, Mr Kee, Berner, Equipto, and others. An all ages event. More info here. Also happening tomorrow is Deep Green Festival & Conference at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, CA. Described as an "Earth Day Celebration of Cannabis, Health, & Ecology" it will feature as well as workshops such acts as The Luminaries, Jillian Ann, Feral, Oz (Afrolicious), MC Nerd Nate, and DJs Joecelyn and Chlorophil. From noon to midnight. 18+ $15, $25 at door. More info.

Cypress Hill "Hits from The Bong (live at Smoke Out Festival, 2002)

Luniz "I Got Five On It remix feat. Dru Down, Shock G, Spice 1, Richie Rich, E 40)"

RBL Posse "Don't Gimme No Bammer" (from A Lesson To Be Learned)

Tha Alkaholiks "Mary Jane"

Kid Cudi "Marijuana" (from Man on the Moon II)

Relevant Tags

420 (1), Hip-hop (160), Rbl Posse (7), Cypress Hill (6), Verbal Assassinz (1), Blunt World (1), Womp Island Music Festival (1), The Smokeout 2012 (1), Deep Green Festival (1)