highTunes: Perfect Weed Pairings for System of a Down, Danny Brown, and KAYTRANADA

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System of a Down’s 2001 opus Toxicity was remarkably ahead of its time, not just musically but politically as well. The songwriting of Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian forces you to use you to use your brain, something that proves to be wildly difficult while you viciously headbang your way through the beautifully chaotic 44-minute classic. System of a Down waste little time getting down to business, opening Toxicity with hard-hitting truths about our country’s privatized prison system. “Prison Song” warns listeners of an atrocity happening right beneath their noses, yelling at them to pay attention with the narrative “All research and successful drug policy shows / That treatment should be increased / And law enforcement decreased / While abolishing mandatory minimum sentences” sprinkled into the song to provoke thought and change.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iywaBOMvYLI]

 

To match Toxicity’s intensity and lack of political correctness, our strain of choice will have to be fast-acting and extremely potent, while providing more of a cerebral effect than a debilitating full body takeover. Enter Bruce Banner, a legendary sativa-dominant hybrid that’ll have your brain Hulk-smashing every task in sight. The OG Kush descendant took home the top prize at 2013’s Cannabis Cup for potency, consistently clocking in at nearly 30% THC. Bruce Banner isn’t your typical high-grade gas, though. The hybrid skips the drowsy and lethargic effects of other highly potent bud, instead using active cannabinoids to relax your mind, allowing you to focus and unleash your creativity. Smoking Bruce Banner in the morning will give your day a whole different kind of kickstart, especially if you pair it with the energetic range of Toxicity.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSvFpBOe8eY]

 

After rolling up “the Bruce,” what I now affectionately refer to the newfound homie as, I felt like I could see the future. There was an intense sensation behind my eyes that lasted throughout most of the album as if my brain was telling me to wake up and see the world for what it really is. The foreshadowing on the album is eerie, to say the least, amplifying the effects of the Bruce to new heights. Serj and the gang touch on issues that are still prevalent today like immigration, opiate addiction, suicide, organized religion, and the human race’s continued destruction of of our planet’s ecosystem. Songs like “ATWA,” “Shimmy,” and the album’s title track show the tremendous versatility of System of a Down, who society needs to make a comeback like we need water, air, and more Bruce Banner.

After rolling up “the Bruce,” what I now affectionately refer to the newfound homie as, I felt like I could see the future. There was an intense sensation behind my eyes that lasted throughout most of the album as if my brain was telling me to wake up and see the world for what it really is. The foreshadowing on the album is eerie, to say the least, amplifying the effects of the Bruce to new heights. Serj and the gang touch on issues that are still prevalent today like immigration, opiate addiction, suicide, organized religion, and the human race’s continued destruction of our planet’s ecosystem. Songs like “ATWA,” “Shimmy,” and the album’s title track show the tremendous versatility of System of a Down, who society needs to make a comeback like we need water, air, and more Bruce Banner. You can listen to Toxicity in full on Spotify here.


While all of the pairings you’ll find in highTunes are effective (and quite fun) it’s rare to find one as cohesive as today’s indica selection. We’ll be pairing the powerful Master Kush with another OG in the game, the equally potent Danny Brown. More specifically, we’ll be listening to his groundbreaking XXX project, a match made in Stoner Heaven for Master Kush.

A cross of Hindu Kush and Skunk, Master Kush started knocking people off their feet over thirty years ago in Amsterdam, taking home back-to-back top prizes at Cannabis Cup in 1992-93. Danny Brown knows all about being a man among boys, the thirty-something rapper outranking the majority of his contemporaries when it comes to service time. The Detroit native had a long road to the spotlight, even making a brief stop at G-Unit Records before being cut loose for his alternative fashion choices (you can hear Brown allude to this incident on “Blunt After Blunt”).

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCt7ZxMoQyo]


XXX
marked Danny’s true coming-out party, a 19-track underground rave filled with equal parts raw storytelling, unapologetic drug use, and groupies abound. The sound is substantial, featuring heavy production from Skywlkr and Frank Dukes, among others. You’ll find the effects of Master Kush to be similarly weighty, pressing you further into the couch as XXX’s middle section of “Detroit 187,” “Monopoly,” and “Blunt After Blunt” take things to a slightly darker place. You’ll feel euphoric as your muscles become fully relaxed, the bittersweet notes of the Master Kush keeping your senses on their toes as Brown’s vast range of vocal inflections surprise you around every turn.

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On “Die Like a Rockstar” Danny claims his “bud about the size of a bonsai,” a characteristic you’ll appreciate about the Master Kush, a grower’s favorite for its high-yielding tendencies. While Danny Brown might be the weirdest rapper you’ve ever heard, the multi-tiered rhyme schemes Brown uses on his breakout album XXX harken back to a time when Master Kush ruled the land, so pair these two heavyweights together for a knockout of an experience.


You don’t have to turn on your radio or TV for very long to realize that dance music is making a massive comeback. One of the artists at the forefront of the funk-fueled renaissance is producer extraordinaire KAYTRANADA. The Montreal native made a name for himself DJing and releasing bootleg remixes of notable songs from mainstream artists, putting his own unique twist on them and garnering new fans all along the way.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTYhEYiqkI0]

 

The 21-year old Canadian begins his debut album 99.9% with “TRACK UNO,” a key and bass-driven ode to 70’s disco that’ll surely have you moving, especially if you pair it with some Lemon Haze. This delightful sativa is light in color and flavor, allowing the high to take center stage. You’ll feel uplifted and happy, the citrus flavor refreshing like lemonade on a hot summer’s day. The popular sativa will not only lift your spirits but whet your appetite as well. If you’re a little behind, we have a strain of weed here that makes you hungry, happy, and want to dance — aka Wedding Weed. If you find yourself at a wedding with an excellent DJ, he may even have a few of these KAYTRANADA records to spin for you at the reception (go with “DRIVE ME CRAZY,” GLOWED UP,” or “LITE SPOTS” for your best odds).

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZnou4zthz4]

 

While much of the producer’s album is instrumental, KAYTRANADA had the guest stars out in full force for 99.9%, including appearances by GoldLink, Vic Mensa, Phonte, Anderson .Paak, Little Dragon, and more. Even the elusive Craig David stops by to verbally remove every bra within a thousand miles. Bottom line, if you’re having a rough day or just need an afternoon pick-me-up, try KAYTRANADA’s phenomenal new collection with a few doses of Lemon Haze for a surefire smile session.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaWesK-nWts]


highTunes
is a weekly feature where music is paired with specific strains of weed to create a uniquely enhanced experience. If you’ve created some of your own great pairings at home, please share them with us in the comment section and you may just see it in a future edition of highTunes.

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Used to write about music for XXL, Elevator, Complex, Genius, and a few other outlets. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you'd like to read way fewer words by me.

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