Rolling Up the Data on Hip-Hop’s Highest Burners

To learn which rapper is the most prolific weed enthusiast, we turned to science

MC Big Data
Apr 19, 2015 · 9 min read

It’s 4/20, time for that puff, puff, pass shit, Cheech and Chong glass shit. We all know that marijuana is a common theme of hip-hop culture. So in honor of weed day, here’s a deeper look at hip-hop artists and their sticky icky-themed lyrics — from a data angle. Take a hit… and read on.

When it comes to weed and hip-hop, no one comes to mind faster than the Snoop D-O-double-G. But is this cultural dominance reflected in Snoop’s songs and lyrics? The following is a table of the top 15 hip-hop artists who have a larger percentage of weed songs than Snoop (46.36% of his total output), sorted by number of songs mentioning weed

The size of each square represents the number of songs, the color represents the proportion.

Surprisingly, there are quite a few artists that rap more about weed than Snoop, but all are familiar names often associated with the greenery. The following is a list of the top 10 weed artists and some of their most popular marijuana-themed phrases, based on n-gram analysis of their lyrics.

1. Gucci Mane

“In the back of the club, now I’m smoking on a blunt / Club packed to capacity, I’m parked right in the front”
from “Party Animal”

“Came to the club smellin’ like a pound of purple”
from “Aw Man”

2. Wiz Khalifa

Keep my OG in a jar ‘cause I like it fresh / Said he hit the weed, he ain’t ready yet
from “Get That Zip Off”

“Smoking my ganja public, I’m all about that money / Dress like everyday sunny / Rolling weed like a Marley”
from “Telescope”

3. The Game

“I totes a chronic blunt every time I see Snoop / Aston Martin driver, he gave away the B coupe”
from “Lyrical Homicide”

“Purple haze smoke it to the face, no passing / Need a couple blunts for this four or five traffic”
from “Purp Patron”

4. Curren$y

“I ain’t got nothing to do but tie by big shoe strings. Louie pouch for loose change, couple joints of Mary Jane”
from “The Briefing”

5. Snoop Dogg

“Rollin’ down the street, smokin’ indo, sippin’ on gin and juice”
from “Gin and Juice”

“This life I live’s incredible. These trees I breeze are medical”
from “Sumthin Like This Night”

6. Mac Miller

“This bud make me hover like a mother board space ship / Roll a swish, filled with fresh piff, then I face it”
from “In Love With This Bud”

“You light it then I burn it like a furnace when the herb hits”
from “Futuristic Funk”

7. Lloyd Banks

“That Cali bud special, so special I held the blunt so long / Snoop had to tell me, “Pass the weed nephew!”
from “I Get High”

“I’m blazin, certified funk off the skunk tree / Fifty G front me, I’ll fly out the country”
from “Only Human”

8. E-40

“I got that purple like Barney / I got two bitches that’s horny”
from “All My Niggaz”

“The weedman, the cannibus pack, the vegetables, the lettuce man, the hydrogen laugh”
from “The Weedman”

9. Redman

“Lick the blunt and then the Phillie blunt middle you split / Don’t have a razor blade, use ya fuckin’ fingertips”
from “How to Roll a Blunt”

10. Raekwon

“Meet me in the park, lets park
I’ll blow a blunt with you”
from “Hey Love”

“Shoebox with nothing but hash, a lotta old ass / Wallies is off the meat rack, splash”
from “Rover Sport”

The list above includes only individual artists and not groups for a fair comparison. Of course, we can’t leave out the top groups that rap most about weed:

  • Three 6 Mafia: 117 songs, 54.17% of total
  • Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: 106 songs, 50.24% of total
  • Cypress Hill: 85 songs, 50.60% of total
Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thungs-N-Harmony, and Cypress Hill

Now you might wonder why some of your favorite weed loving rappers are not on the list. It’s due to the fact that they have released fewer songs (or they have fewer songs with lyrics available on Rap Genius). Several of them that have proportionally a high rate of weed songs released are:

  • Kottonmouth Kings: 89 songs, 80.91% of total
  • Smoke DZA: 74 songs, 74.00% of total
  • Andre Nickatina: 68 songs: 70.83% of total
  • CyHi The Prynce: 64 songs: 66.67% of total
  • Action Bronson: 93 songs, 65.03% of total
  • Project Pat: 78 songs, 61.42% of total
  • Devin The Dude: 52 songs, 59.77% of total

Despite the popularity of weed in the hip-hop community, of course not all rappers discuss weed in their songs. The following are a few artists and groups that never mentioned any marijuana related topics in their lyrics (based on lyrics available on Rap Genius): 116 Clique, DeJ Loaf, MC Jin, Tim Dog. These artists have fewer songs available on Rap Genius (less than 25) but enough to be representative of their stance on weed.

Interesting fact: Tim Dog instigated a feud with several West Coast artists back in the 90s, releasing a single titled “Fuck Compton.” Those that Tim Dog had beef with frequently mention weed in their songs — what are the chances that he’d stay away from mentioning the same topics?

From left to right, top to down: 116 Clique, DeJ Loaf, MC Jin, Tim Dog

Beyond looking at how weed is mentioned by artists, the following views the data in different dimensions:

Weed Mentions in Rap Songs Across States

Below is a map that connects rap songs that mention weed with the corresponding artists’ location, merged with the legality of marijuana in the corresponding state. The size of the green circles represent the number of songs from artists in the state, while the hue of green represents the percentage of songs in that state relating to weed.

Several interesting observations:

  • There ain’t a lot of rappers from states that legalized marijuana for recreational use, and they rarely rap about it.
  • Almost all states that have either legalized marijuana for medical use or decriminalized the possession have artists rapping about weed.
  • The states that have most weed songs, and yet weed is still illegal, are Louisiana (1358 songs), Texas (1186 songs), and Pennsylvania (1027 songs).
  • Tennessee has a high number of weed songs as well as a high percentage. Marijuana is still illegal in Tennessee, but artists there love to rap about it. Those that have contributed most to this are Three 6 Mafia, Juicy J, Project Pat, 8-Ball, Gangsta Boo, Lil Wyte, and Frayser Boy.

Weed Mentions in Rap Songs Over Time

From the chart, it shows that around 2000 there are proportionally more songs mentioning weed released from a proportionally lesser set of artists. That was around the time when Snoop was most active.

Data Background Details

The main data for this analysis is lyrics from Rap Genius. It’s not a complete set, but representative enough for popular songs from top artists. In order to get the location info, the dataset is joined with Wikiepdia for artist location info. The following are weed topics used in this analysis:

Unambiguous Common Terms

  • weed: 11003 mentions. Though this term can be ambiguous, there’s no ambiguity when used in rap lyrics. It always means marijuana.
  • blunt: 3938 mentions. No ambiguity when used in rap lyrics.
  • kush: 2614 mentions, with a spell variation cush of 49 mentions.
  • chronic: 1372 mentions. No ambiguity.
  • indo: 672 mentions, with a spell variation endo of 286 mentions.
  • haze: 974 mentions.
  • marijuana: 839 mentions.
  • stoned & stoner: 838 mentions.
  • ganja: 479 mentions.
  • piff: 352 mentions.
  • cannabis: 194 mentions.
  • 420: 126 mentions.

Ambiguous Common Terms

These terms are ambiguous, so I further break the term by ngrams and filter out ones that doesn’t relate to weed.

  • purple: or sometimes as purp. Aside from a type of potent marijuana, it can also mean a type of drink, or just describing a color of something
  • bud: mostly refers to marijuana, but occasionally used for Budweiser the beer, or short for buddy.
  • hash: mostly mean the resin from flowers of cannabis planets, and rarely used for food like beef hash.
  • herb: can also mean a dumb person.
  • bong: aside from smoke bong, it can also be used in beer bong.
  • puff: can be ambiguous with the artist Sean Combs (Puff Daddy), though the verb puffing is not ambiguous.
  • skunk: sometimes used in terms “drunk as a skunk.”
  • green: more often used to describe money or the color, occasionally used for weed as in “smoking green,” “blowing green,” or “kelly green
  • buddha: sometimes used for weed as in “smoke buddha,” “on the buddha,” “ounce of buddha.”
  • pot: it’s actually quite rare rap songs refer to marijuana as pot, relative to the other slang.

Weed Startups

Last but not least, for all y’all stoners out there reading this who have managed to make it to the end, here are a few startups that you may find helpful when your stash runs low:

Leafly: Yelp for Marijuana with strain and dispensary reviews.

Eaze: weed on-demand.

Marvina: A monthly subscription of high quality indo weed.

Some people call it the end of prohibition. As more and more states legalize marijuana for recreational use, we can expect to see more startup disrupting this space to help people get high with technology, not to mention Snoop Dogg is raising a fund to invest in weed startups. Who better to do this than Snoop?

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