A majority of songs are about love and heartbreak, but drugs also factor in as a popular topic to sing about. Thinking about songs to smoke to or songs about weed, you might consider Sublime, Snoop Dogg, Bob Marley, or even the Steve Miller Band if you’re up for some old school “joking, smoking, and midnight toking.”
Cannabis and creativity, particularly music, have always gone hand in hand. In the 1930s when cannabis prohibition took hold, reefer madness was in part racially motivated, targeting the perceived drug use by African American jazz musicians at the time. Then in the 1960s and 70s, when the Drug War came into play, popular music at the time was seen as not just referencing drug use, but also encouraging it, what with long trippy jams and nonsensical lyrics (think “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”).
Music plays a role in drug use, but which kind of music also makes a difference. A new study looking at mentions of drug use in music bore some results that might surprise you.
Addictions.com collected data from Songmeanings API to determine if musical references to drugs have become more frequent over time. Between 1970 and the mid 2000s, drug references spiked, peaking around or before 2010.
While rock stars and rappers might stereotypically seem to be the most enthusiastic about drugs, it turns out that country music actually makes the most drug references. With an average percentage of 1.6 occurrences of drug talk, country is then followed by jazz, pop, electronic, rock, “other,” folk, and lastly rap/hip-hop, which has less than 1.3 percent.
And while country music as a whole references drugs more than any other genre, the individual musicians from other kinds of music stand out more in regard to peak number of references.
Musicians and bands with the most weed references not so surprisingly include the SoCal punk rap band the Kottonmouth Kings at number one, with 344 references, as well as The Game, Cypress Hill, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Redman. Weed overall is also the most popular drug referenced throughout music, followed second by cocaine.
The study also looked at which drugs weed was referenced along with, according to different genres. In rock and electronic music, for instance, artists who mentioned weed also typically mentioned cocaine and acid, whereas in hip-hop and country, weed went along with cocaine and meth.
“The nature of art allows and encourages musicians to explore various interpretations of personal strife, and substance abuse appears to be one of the most viable issues,” state Addiction.com. However, it’s also important to remember cannabis and other substances allow individuals to access different modes of consciousness, to see things in new ways, and experience different kinds of thoughts. For this reason, cannabis is often seen as a catalyst for creativity, so not so surprisingly, it’s the most frequently mentioned “drug” in music.