Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blaze!: The Ten Best Ganja Tunes of The Era

In Reggae music there are several major or dominant topics under which our wonderful music usually comes 'packaged' in. The artists, the fans, the producers and TIME have made it so that these are the prevailing sentiments which are brought forth and discussed & detailed on a very consistent basis. Of them, you have songs about love and peace, about uplifting women (Mama in particular), about the slaying of oppressive society in babylon and others and about setting good examples for the youths. More still is any timely subject of the day (such as bleach, c. 2011). Historically and currently one of the most controversial of these topics and one of the most popular amongst artists and fans alike has been the GANJA SONG. A Roots Reggae album is rarely released without at least one "obligatory herbalist tune" and you probably can't name too many (if any) even remotely well known (or not so well known) name who hasn't made significant vibes on the subject. There are probably well over a hundred thousand (that's my guess, which means that it's almost certainly incorrect) Reggae songs about marijuana . . . But not all of them are good (most of them probably aren't). In order to narrow the pack down, here we take a look and listen to ten of the best since the turn of the century. Blaze!

{Note: Intentionally avoided mentioning any artist more than once}
{Note 2: Songs are ranked only according to my own individual thoughts}
{Note 3: This list was really really difficult}
{Note 4: No Soca}

Stinkin Rocket Launcher

#10. 'All I've Got' by Perfect [2005]

I can't take it anymore. Getting us started is someone who has spent a great deal of his impressive career almost going out of his way at times to declare his love of the herb. Looking back, he's rarely, if ever, done it equally as well as he did on one of his first big major hits. It's the ever eccentric Perfect (who would have been Mr. Perfect at the time) with his seemingly intentionally overstated and dramatized, but nearly BRILLIANT cut of the Real Life Riddim - 'All I've Got'.

#9. 'Ganja Tune' by Yaniss Odua [2006]

Ganja Woman, Ganja Man. You'll probably never see this tune pop up on any list like this - Like ever, but it's here because I can recall the very first time that I ever heard it and having such a wonderful reaction to it and having it continue to grow on me so quickly that it was pretty strange at the time. "It", of course, is 'Ganja Tune' from the always welcomed but entirely too rare Yaniss Odua. It's definitely the best tune of its kind coming out of the FWI that I've heard (or paid attention to) and it's damn delightful!

#8. 'Ganja Baby' by Queen Omega [2004]

Ganja Lady. I really love the way that 'Ganja Baby' has grown in the years since its release and it now stands as one of the most recognizable tunes from (and a nickname for) it's creator, the incomparable Queen Omega. A few years back came the news (which wasn't the first if I recall correctly) that the Trini born Janeile Osborne had legal problems with ganja to which she would plead guilty to. I definitely think that gave this now seven year old track a 'second-wind' of sorts and that was fantastic because it is EXCELLENT! The passion (that VOICE!) combined with the infectious sound and the, typically for the artist, well crafted and arranged lyrics, made this one an unforgettable winner and surprisingly LARGE underground Reggae hit.

#7. 'As Much As Mi Get' by Jah Mason [2008]

Feed me, school me, grow me. Jah Mason was damn difficult to place here because his presence was guaranteed and it was just a matter of which of the two likely choices to place here. On one hand was the very popular 'Couple Chalice A Day' and on the other was this kind of DARK and hypnotic track from Dutch producer, Fleximus Prime, 'As Much As Mi Get'. As you can see, I went with the latter to add a bit of colour to the list and its position is definitely deserved. What I really liked about this song was just how 'loose' it is. When the Mason is at his absolute best, he is downright DAZZLING and PASSIONATE about everything and this KNOCKING Royal Crown Riddim presented him with the perfect platform to demonstrate his abilities at their finest on this grimy ganja tune.

#6. 'Hard Herbs' by Luciano

TEARS?! They just aren't supposed to sound like this. Resting comfortably at the end of Luciano's 2008 VP album, "Jah Is My Navigator" is the somewhat puzzling and mystical 'Hard Herbs' which does qualify for a list like this based on its subjectry, but when you compare it to any other song present (especially the one just preceding it), sonically it will definitely sound out of place. HOWEVER, it WELL isn't out of its depth or exceeding its reach. This thing was BEAUTIFUL! The Messenjah took the herb to a biblical level, a classical level and in the process, managed to deliver one of the most fascinating moments of his legendary career.

#5. 'Sen On' by Vybz Kartel [2003]

Ganjaman professional. If ever you tire of me (if you haven't already) mentioning the 'glory days' of one of the most brilliant DJ's the Dancehall has ever produced, Vybz Kartel, definitely dig up the Lenky vibed 'Sen On' and notice the damn ADVENTUROUS level of wordplay featured on the track. The son isn't as highly regarded now, looking back, as it once was, but along with dozens of others, it points to a PRIME level of a skilled Vybz Kartel and a brilliant display of just effective he could be at the time.

#4. 'Marijuana' by Richie Spice [2004]

Make me smarter. The SPECTACULAR 'Marijuana' was one a few which, essentially, brought Richie Spice to the highest level of the genre a few years back, a position which he has maintined from since. This song, in particular, was 'gifted' with the immediately recognizable 5th Element Riddim and was also just a wildly passionate (and popular) tune which wasn't necessarily a social statement, but more of a personal one and I really want to use the word 'casual' here (after using the word 'passionate' which is just defeating I suppose), because he was just so 'matter of fact' about it on a song which continues its roll to this day.

#3. 'One Pound A Day' by Beenie Man, John Holt & Cornell Campbell [2004]

Everyday! Reggae legends John Holt and Cornell Campbell joined Dancehall legend, Beenie Man, on what is probably one of my favourite songs ever, the WICKED Loyal Soldiers produced 'One Pound A Day'. With that type of esteemed link, the results almost HAD to be big and the song, musically, lived up to what you expect it to after seeing it on paper. Along with a most joyous appreciation of the herb, the song carried social significance and relevance also, it was just incredibly entertaining as well and just a POWERFUL song which has aged very well and is still well regarded.

#2. 'Green Gold' by Batch [2003]

Professor! If you gave me an hour or so, I'm sure that I could come up with ten winning ganja tunes from VI Reggae wizard, Batch and the head of them all (regardless of how much I do change my mind), is 'Green Gold' from his very first album. This song is just so INTELLIGENT and like most of Ras Batch's music, it isn't necessarily immediately identifiable in how powerful it actually is (if you take a superficial listen to this song, it isn't something which grabs your attention up front). It is, however, the journey to comprehension which makes this song so impressive and so impressive from an absolute musical genius.

#1. 'Ganja Farmer' by Marlon Asher [2006]

Big stinkin helicopter. Was there any question? Any at all?! Marlon Asher took a very large step not only for himself, but for Reggae coming out of his native, Trinidad, when he dropped the MASSIVE 'Ganja Farmer'. In the way in which we register "hits" in Reggae which don't necessarily arrive to a 'mainstream' level, we can definitely say that the tune became one of the biggest hits of modern times and with most OBVIOUS reason. It was well entertaining, it was simply brilliant and THE BEST GANJA TUNE OF THE MODERN ERA!


  1. give thanks, in America we are losing our 1st amendment rights because of the war on drugs which targets marijuana. mental slavery indeed.

  2. Thanks for reading Cassa and excellent point.