Last week, New Times reported on a bill in the Florida Senate that may criminalize bongs and other common marijuana paraphernalia sold everywhere, from smoke shops and record stores to an increasing number of gas stations.
And then yesterday, we followed up with an emergency survival kit to help our 420-friendly readers hold on to their god-given right to vigorously inhale the hot smoke of a sparked-up psychoactive herb.
As liberty-loving progressives, we here at Crossfade would also like to show solidarity with weedmongers around the world.
So, in the hope that one day we may be judged not by the apparatus through which we smoke illegal drugs, but by the content of our characters, here are ten stoner songs that wouldn't exist without water pipes.
Ray Charles's "Let's Go Get Stoned"
We can't prove Ray Charles smoked bongs. But we can't prove that he didn't either. Furthermore, the legendary soul music innovator didn't call the song, "Let's get blunted," as to indicate his desire to leisurely roll up some marijuana in a tobacco leaf casing. Ray Charles is specifically asking to get stoned. Yes, the term is synonymous with the after-effects of copious THC, no matter the medium. But the matter-of-fact urgency make us imagine Ray would be a pretty utilitarian pothead who beelines to the already packed bong and lets her rip. We never saw the movie. So don't spoil anything.
Afroman's "Because I Got High"
Look, even though we are pro-legalization (on a strict basis of impartial social libertarianism), we can admit that weed is sort of a drug. But it's not a fucking sedative. The only way Afroman got that high was by hitting some fancy, stained-glass, custom-blown water pipe. How else could he get so bliggity blazed that he would neglect to clean his room, attend class, go to work, make his court date, be an adequate husband, a decent father, and so on? We're pretty sure that despite his self-proclaimed love of blunts, the man whose mama named him Joseph Edgar Foreman couldn't help but "hit the bong like Cheech and Chong."
Sublime's "Smoke Two Joints"
Bradley Nowell's autobiographical inventory of his intake of marijuana every 24 hours (in case you are wondering, a single cycle consists of approximately 16 joints, regardless of whether it's a time of peace or war) would seemingly be the ultimate tribute to the good ol' fashioned cig rolled with wacky tobacky. However, the sample at the beginning of a bong's immediately identifiable rolling gurgle is maybe the most iconic reference to bonging in the snackin'-'n'-hacky-sackin' universe of weed-obsessed Third Wave brah ska. Sublime was ska-punk for surfers. And how do Cali dudes with wallet chains and sick decks blow trees? The answer rhymes with "strong," as in, "We hope your lungs are strong enough to withstand the wrathful Old Testament God-might of this here bong." On occasion, Sublime probably busted out the communal box of DIY stoner crafts and made a mini-pipe out of plastic honey bottle molded like a bear. But if "Smoke Two Joints" is any indication, they definitely had a bubbler available.
Bongzilla's "666 LB Bong Session"
The band's name is Bongzilla, a cross between "bong" and the radioactive, atomic-fireball-breathing dinosaur monster from Japan. But just in case you don't get the message, it's time to imagine the biggest bong you ever done seen and then imagine a bong way bigger than that. A normal bong is already a little difficult to conceal. So how does anyone hide a 666-pound one? Or, wait a minute, are we talking the devil's digits in pounds of weed? What exactly weighs 666 pounds in this equation? Wait, what are we talking about again?
Cannabis Corpse's "Skull Full of Bong Hits"
Headshop culture lags behind only the pornography industry when it comes to hijacking preexisting plots and ideas: Cannabis Corpse, Saving Ryan's Privates, and so on. Doesn't a bong smog wafting out of a human skull sound like something straight out of Indiana's Stoned Off This Crystal Skull Bong? Cannabis Corpse is practically more popular than Cannibal Corpse!
Cypress Hill's "Hits From The Bong (Chopped & Screwed)"
All of these artists are allegedly high as hell. So then why is their music so damn aggro? What happened to bean bags and Bob Marley? We combed YouTube looking for the perfect "Chopped and Screwed" version of Cypress Hill's rowdy salute to upper-shelf parephernalia. And the version we have provided above is definitely the most solid application of DJ Screw's molasses-slow sizzurp aesthetic. Shout-out-slash-honorable-mention to YouTube user St0nedAtheist for having such a dope screen name.
Butthole Surfers's "Bong Song"
Other potential titles for the Butthole Surfers' "Bong Song" included "How We Named Our Band" and "The Life and Times of Gibby Haynes." Haynes and his carnival troupe of acid-punk mutants are the ultimate wake-and-bake band. And anyone who is waking and baking isn't busting out the weed tray, the grinder, the papers, the filters, and so on. They're rolling over to the side of the bed and clutching -- with as little muscle exertion as possible -- the fully loaded megabong they packed before going to sleep. Wasn't there a documentary starring the Butthole Surfers in bed? Were there bongs in that?
The Catalyst's "This Bike is a Gravity Bong"
In the early 2000s, Tallahassee proto-folk punks This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb disseminated a series of bumper stickers that became infamous both for how many were seemingly distributed across the country, and hilariously frequent occurrences of some shmuck contacting law enforcement to check out a "bomb threat" attached to a chained-up bicycle. The stickers were ubiquitous and to see one now is a distinct visual link back to the heyday of Plan-It-X Records and muppety Peter Pan crust punkery. So when Richmond, Virginia's stoner-grunge post-punk brutalizers, The Catalyst, released their own sticker styled the exact same way reading, "This Bike Is a Gravity Bong" ... Well, the parody was too good to be true, especially for punks into bikes and weed.
Crisqo (AKA Eminem?)'s "The Bong Song"
Can somebody please explain this ridiculous bullshit to us? Did Eminem -- under the heeelarious pseudonym, "Crisqo" -- pen a parody of Sisqo's quintessentially North American banger, "The Thong Song"? Or was it really recorded by some goof on 4chan or Redditt who then proceeded to successfully recreate reality to his liking by spreading misinformation on the Internet? No matter how ridiculous the claim, if it's been reposted enough, it's practically truth. We really want to figure out who's behind "The Bong Song" because they are a fucking genius and we want them to become our spiritual gurus and raise our children.
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Sure, some bands may be more explicitly blazed out than '90s stoner metal titans Sleep. Of course, there's Bongzilla. And Electric Wizard is certainly fond of marijuana puns. But if you ask us, Sleep is truly the most baked of the bunch. If you need convincing (or are due for an enema), we recommend packin' the Afrack good and tight, taking a mighty rip, and then falling face-forward in slow motion for the entire hour of the California sludge (resin?) weed metal masterpiece, "Dopesmoker." Among the riffs richer than pound cake dunked in condensed milk and atmospherics hazier than the Mystery Mobile whenever Shaggy and Scooby were roasting a bone, this epic cut features the absolute greatest lyrics about the Sweet Leaf since Ozzy wrote, "Sweet Leaf." The international stoner syndicate can thank Sleep for its battle cry: "Drop out of life with bong in hand."