Let us blame COVID-19 for putting the Dallas music scene on permanent hold and turning Deep Ellum into a food-truck park. The pandemic continues to bring about serious destruction, but we can also still mourn for the small things we miss, like our favorite hometown bands and artists.
Times like these are especially hard for a cannabis enthusiast. Sitting at home, smoking and spinning old records don't sound so bad, but even potheads like to get out every once in a while to see their favorite musicians perform live. Since it seems we'll have to spend the rest of the year in our bedrooms with a towel under our doors, let us at least help you with a good soundtrack with a list of local artists to enhance your high as you blaze up during your social-distancing downtime.
One common theme found among the artists and bands on this list is the consistent presence of laid-back, smoke-friendly lyrics and sounds. Our top 10 picks will have you vibrating on such a high frequency, you might question what’s really in the hemp flower in your joint.
Kaash Paige was set to have a huge summer on the live concert circuit this year. Had 2020 not been sponsored by Satan, the rapper would have hit the stage on May 1 at JMBLYA in Dallas, then the Lover’s and Friends Festival in Los Angeles on May 8. These shows would have been a major “I’m here” statement from the Def Jam artist, but it's safe to say the rapper has already left a recognizable imprint on the Dallas music scene.
Paige is often seen smoking blunts the size of her hand on social media and in her music videos. On her debut album, Parked Car Convos, she sings about riding around Dallas in her 1964 Chevrolet Impala while smoking. Get cozy and take the time to roll something to Kaash Paige this summer.
Dallas rapper Rakim Al-Jabbaar is the epitome of hip-hop culture, and you're guaranteed to learn something new about life after a smoke break to one of his songs. He blends that dirty South flavor with a heavy East Coast street-conscious undertone.
The Dallas Observer Music Awards winner consistently spreads 16 bars over beats full of classic juice that are perfect for quarantine smoke sessions. The rapper said he likes smoking to a lot of the music he has created, but one song, "The Antidote," separates itself from the rest. “Because when I’m high and I hear it, I can’t believe that I wrote it,” he says.
Originally from Corpus Christi, Shilxh moved to Dallas in 2017 and lit a match to the music scene two years later with the release of debut EP It’s Okay. The band consists of four members who also perform under the lead singer’s name. Their music goes hand in hand with beautiful-looking cannabis. Lead singer Shilxh recently teased an unreleased song called "Chanel Roses and Cannabis" that could end up on her next project.
Samsonyte said he freestyled most of the records off his album The Muse while smoking and driving around Dallas. There's a soulful element in his music that pairs seamlessly with his smooth cannabis-related lyrics. Do not box him in as a weed rapper, though. The artist paints vivid lyrical pictures of life and inspiration in every song. Sam said his favorite music to smoke to is tucked away in his unreleased stash, but you will find several smoke-friendly songs on the album.
Ran out of herb? No problem. Helen Hailu’s music will get you where you need to be. There are (Dare I say it?) definite Badu vibes alive and present Hailu's songs. It's like R&B, soul, jazz and a tiny bit of hip-hop stuffed into one king-sized rolling paper, easily evoking the soundtrack to a hotbox session. “I sing about what makes me feel,” Helen Hailu says. “Whether it makes me feel anger, joy, passion or emptiness.”
KWINTON GRAY Project
If music were a sativa strain, it would be called the Kwinton Gray Project. The band is definitely "wake and bake" verified. In normal times, your eyes would be glued to the stage while watching their performance, but for now just close them and use your imagination. Listening to the Kwinton Gray Project is a funky experience. The high energy, jazz-fusion band is no stranger to the Dallas music scene. They've performed at every stage over town and keyboardist Kwinton Gray has played with stars like Janet Jackson.
Gray's ability to lay keys over the complementing instruments played by bandmates Jackie Whitmill, Nick Rothouse, KJ Gray and Jonathan Mones, is even more of a reason to sit down, roll a fat one and light it up.
Avae is one of those bafflingly talented one-person, self-produced musicians. His music touches on psychedelic, R&B, indie and trip-hop influences. Avae said his two favorite songs to smoke to out of from his collection are "Star-Crossed," and his latest release, "Indigo." His album Daydreams & Nightmares, released in 2019, is full of songs to roll up to.
Leroyce has said he always keeps some high-quality CBD flower on him. His 2017 release, The Sunny Nights Project, featured fellow crew member Samsonyte. The two might send out similar vibrations through their music, but Leroyce’s artistry is different: He is a hook master of sorts and self-produces a lot of his own music. And you might have heard his production on various DFW artists’ projects. His first single release of 2020, “So,” features ScottyMay, and the song has real smoky energy.
Cure for Paranoia
The hip-hop and soul fusion band Cure for Paranoia might be the most electric band in the city. High-quality cannabis is known to leave users with a case of paranoia from time to time, so when you’re ready to go down that rabbit hole, try streaming Cure for Paranoia. They are a must-see act and bring the energy your body and mind need every time they hit the stage. The band has been stamped by the queen of neo-soul herself, Erykah Badu, and proudly continue to take Dallas with them on their musical journey to the mainstream.
Ebo eats lo-fi type beats. She might tell you she has not quite found her sound just yet, but whatever she is doing right now is working. The energetic performer utilizes the whole stage. Her energy is infectious, and the crowds can't help themselves but vibe with her performance even when hearing her for the first time. Ebo's sound is easy on the ears for cannabis users and her lyrics are filled with substance and self-expression. You will stay engaged as she bounces over the beat. Whether it's a wake and bake or a late-night session, Ebo will fit into that playlist we know you made just to smoke to.