If you had to brainstorm to come up with a set of perennial rap narratives, songs about weed would probably be in the mix. And with a wide open approach to the subject it's easy to understand why.
Artists like Devin and Cypress Hill have sustained long careers by articulating, simply, how good it feels to get high. Smoking because you like to is obvious. But there can be more to it, as sometimes it goes beyond recreational use and into medicinal use -- a way to cope, or even heal.
And that's the space Mitchy Slick explores on his single "Stressed Out," smoking weed as catharsis, medicinal cannabis is his personal form of therapy.
But from what? In this case, it's PTSD and the ghosts of past trauma. As a veteran of inner city conflict, it's a symptom of urban warfare and as most soldiers admit, years in the trenches can leave permeant effects.
"Is there a mental disease worse than PTSD, 'cause I seen a girl smoked in my passenger seat," Slick raps, stoic and sincere over pensive piano keys.
It's a heavy admission, death up front and in person, so who wouldn't want relief from the residue of an experience like that, by way of weed or whatever else it might take?
But, to be clear this isn't a song about advocating drug use. No, rather it's an artist weaving together corner stories that reflect the dark bits of street life and how he manages the psychological burdens that come along with them.
There are comrades who have passed and police that don't let up. But he won't allow the nonsense in, using weed as a buffer to protect his sanity, with a serious take on the pot anthem, he sums it up best himself: "Chain smoking top shelf to induce amnesia, go looney, Lark Voorhies, if it wasn't for the reefer."