If the guy in front of you on Interstate 69 is driving a little slower than usual this weekend, feel free to blame it on 4/20, the international stoner holiday that gives smokers a ready-made excuse to wake up late and do what they were almost certainly going to do anyway on Easter Sunday. Try not to judge them too harshly -- somebody is going to have to eat all of those Peeps.
Even if you aren't a fan of blazing up, though (WTF?!), tonight you can at least celebrate the return of Devin the Dude, H-Town's reddest-eyed underground rap legend, to the stage at Warehouse Live. While the adoration of marijuana is hardly novel in hip-hop, the Dude stays higher than most, cramming his tunes full of more reefer references than your average stoner imagines he perceives in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
That probably sounds terrible and insipid, but Devin is such a talented and unique voice that he makes weed sound even better than it actually is. It's our belief, in fact, that the tactical deployment of his music will be the key to the eventual decriminalization of the delightful drug right here in Greg Abbott's Texas.
Don't believe us? Then indulge us. Hell, indulge yourself: Light up a blunt, kick off your shoes and celebrate this holiday weekend by enjoying the Dude's ten best odes to the herb. And just in case you're feeling a little anxious about the whole idea, please know that exhaling into a toilet-paper roll stuffed with dryer sheets totally works.
10. "Coughee" If you don't own a copy of Odd Squad's seminal Fadanuf Fa Erybody, do the world a favor and go out and buy one right now. (Seriously. We'll wait.) Yet to go solo, Devin hadn't quite settled into the breezy, laconic flow that would make him your favorite rapper's favorite rapper, but in 1994, his rhymes were already tight and his lungs were already shot thanks to a full-scale coughee addiction.
Just in case you're already a little too blowed to figure it out, "Coughee" is what the Dude and his Odd Squad partners call weed, and they keep a pot brewing at all times. So break out the Swishers and roll up a few "big ol' horse dicks," because we're only just getting started here.
9. "Cutcha' Up" Devin the Dude ain't always polite, but he's no perv. While at first blush this clever tune from Waitin' to Inhale might sound like a creeper's tribute to vulnerable jailbait, any amateur indoor agriculturalist will soon recognize that underage girls ain't the trim that Devin is after here.
Sure, it can be difficult to wait when you're just. So. Ready. But patience is a virtue when it comes to sucking on something sweet, so don't be afraid to buy your true love a purity ring, if need be. 'Cause if folks see you together in public, they're apt to call the laws.
8. "Motha" You can't spend much time in Houston, Texas, without picking up a little Spanish. Devin the Dude certainly knows the essentials, even if his spelling is a bit off. This bouncy little tale of sharing a spliff or two with various characters from the neighborhood illustrates perfectly the way in which cannabis can bring together in harmony people from all backgrounds to kick back and enjoy muy bien marijuana. Just remember to take your shoes off when you visit.
7. "We Get High" How closely is Devin the Dude associated with the herb? Well, closely enough to co-star in his very own stoner comedy, Highway 420. Though sadly overlooked by both the Oscars and the Razzies, the film at least contained some good tunes, including the obvious-but-essential "We Get High." Coughee Brothas Rob Quest and Jugg Mugg come along for the ride.
6. "Zeldar" Let's face it: If aliens really are out there, making regular trips to Earth, they probably aren't studying our global information architecture or formalized mating rituals. They're coming to score sweet deals at our big-box retail outlets and sample the local psychotropic herbs.
That's certainly how Devin imagines first contact going down, anyway, in "Zeldar," one of his kookiest, most imaginative songs. The titular extraterrestrial may have come on down to the Bayou City to shop at Walmart, but when his mega-hoop malfunctions, he makes the same incredible discovery that you did back in 8th grade: this green, leafy stuff is the bomb.
5. "Smokin' Dat Weed" "Smokin' that weed and feelin' fine/ Got me a 40 and a fat-ass dime." This is Devin the Dude's ideal state of being, laid out in plain English on Odd Squad's Rap-A-Lot debut. If this song's cold-ass shuffle can't get you in the mood to cut loose with a stanky square and frosty brew, then you may as well go ahead and run for Congress, because you're clearly a big enough asshole.
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4. "R&B" Marijuana is terrific. Obviously, we can all agree on that. But as the Bible tells us, man cannot live by dojah alone (paraphrased). Smoking tends to leave one parched and dry. That's why God invented beer, the peanut butter to weed's marshmallow Fluff.
Just because he can, the Dude invents a redneck buddy to duet with himself on this ultra-smooth track from Just Tryin' Ta Live. If you can groove to it without getting the itch to ride through the ghettos and trailer parks and drink and spark until it gets dark, perhaps you've been more of a cocaine person all along.
3. "P.W.A." Maybe it's cheating to include this song on our list, since Devin only provides the hook. But who cares? It's too good to leave out. Gloriously sexist in the way that only stone-cold hip-hop grooves can pull off, "P.W.A." isn't just a dope track from Willie D and the 5th Ward Boyz. It's also a fully realized mission statement from the Dude, summarizing the finer things in life that get him out of bed each morning (er, afternoon, maybe). Seem to satisfy us all, in fact.
2. "Sticky Green" This gentle, piano-driven track happens to be one of Devin's finest collaborations ever, enlisting the almighty Scarface to lend unshakeable credence to the Dude's declaration of love. Take it from 'Face: There's no need to experiment with formaldehyde or other chemical adulterants. Simply roll up a Zig Zag, puff it and blow out the smoke at a leisurely pace. Despite advances in technology over the last 20 years, this method remains the pinnacle of cannabinoid recreation.
1. "Doobie Ashtray" It's with a major assist from DJ Premier that Devin the Dude turns in the best song of his career -- one that comes in very near to the top of the best Houston rap songs of all time. Only Devin could twist the depressing realization that all the weed has been smoked into a peek into the loneliness and insecurity that can be a periodic part of life for a rapper when the people all go home.
For more than four minutes, it's one of the Dude's saddest songs, and he's got a few good ones to his name. But then, just before the tears start trickling down, miracle of miracles! He finds a bag of weed. Houston is hot, God is in his heaven, and all is right with the world. Roll up, friends, it's 4/20 at last!
Devin the Dude lights up tonight at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emmanuel. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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