15 August 2021

"Weed Is My Best Friend" by Popcaan (2015)

I still remember the first time I smoked weed.  It was many moons ago on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, during the pre-gentrification era, in one of those deep New York City snows.  Sucking on a blunt proved to be not only one of the most-memorable but also, in hindsight, consequential things I ever did.  Indeed if I could go back in time to that very day... I wouldn't change a thing.  But at the same time, I'm not one of those types of people who tries to convince others who don't smoke ganja to do so.  My final conclusion concerning the whole matter is that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with smoking natural weed, but at the same time not having any dependency on it whatsoever is even better.

But as for those of us who may smoke, damn did Popcaan speak true in this one.  Marijuana is a strange drug.  Weed, I believe, is what they refer to as a social addiction.  In other words if a ganja addict is separated from the substance for an extended period of time, going into withdrawal he's not going to get physically sick like a crack addict, etc.  But maybe, like a nigga can't enjoy movies or sports anymore.

On top of that marijuana is a major form stress/pain relief, which is perhaps the most widely-recognized property of the plant when used as a drug.  Also, smoking a good strain when you're alone can make you feel like someone else is in the room , kinda like watching Friends.

And it is actually that latter aspect I think of the most as far as a social addiction goes.  Newbie smokers almost invariably blaze alongside others.  But if the habit persists throughout the years, one will also learn how to do so on his or her own.

Also keep in mind that we tend to become less friend-dependent as we age.  So it wouldn't be overly surprising if a tenured smoker does find weed to be his "best friend", or at least the herb maintaining a more constant presence in his life than homies or perhaps even family.

But Weed Is My Best Friend isn't based on that kind of a premise.  As a matter of fact as far as the different parts of this song go, it's only the first verse that is actually about weed.  The bridge and especially chorus rather focus more on how Popcaan isn't really into friendships.  He doesn't trust people, and relatedly he's not going to d*ckride anybody in the name of forming a relationship with them.  Also for good measure, he injects a bit of "real gangsta" ideology into the bridge by noting that true niggas, like himself, actually purchase the skunk rather than 'begging' for it.  Or maybe what Popcaan is trying to say is that he doesn't like dudes coming around him looking for free weed.

Then, as already noted, it is the first verse where he's really talking about the blaze being his "best pardie", with pardie, as far as I know, being a Patois way of saying homie (as is "chargie").  And since weed was decriminalized in Jamaica shortly prior to this song's release, now smokers like himself no longer have to worry about getting locked up for it.  Thus Popcaan is able to freely boast of riding around with a solid six pounds on him daily, which would actually be above the legal threshold, but still.

Later he sorta speaks to that social addiction I was talking about earlier, when Popcaan asserts that he's simply not happy without smoking.  And see how he's doesn't say that he feens for weed in its absence.  Rather it's like he just can't enjoy life, i.e. the true signs of a social addict.

And of course haters will label people like himself a "weed head" - a fact that the chanter recognizes in the second verse.  But as for what comes after, it would take someone more versed in Jamaican Patois than myself to really break it down.  However I do believe I get the gist of what he's saying in response to such individuals, which is that he doesn't really care what they think - a mind state which is obviously one of the benefits of being "higher than the plum tree".

And it is likely those same types of people who would read this song's title or hear its hook and instantly chastise it.  But again, I would argue that this track really isn't about weed per se.  That's not to say that this song isn't pro-marijuana, which it is.  But its main subject is actually Popcaan's distrust of people.  Then, the secondary topic would be how he personally doesn't feel right unless he's able smoke.  And lastly comes the weed, which the singer never really goes into detail about in terms of delineating its characteristics besides noting that it gets him high.



I remember reading a book some time ago that said the oldest evidence of marijuana being smoked was found in West Africa and dates back 5,000 years.  According to Google, "the first evidence of smoking pot" was found in China and goes back 2,500 years.  I also know as a student of anthropology that some Native Americans and other people of old freely used it, back in the days before blazing hemp was criminalized.  But it would also seem that even in past cultures where weed was smoked, people who did enjoy blazing herb didn't do it nearly as much as the likes of Popcaan.  Or the way I see it they weren't tasked, as we are, with dealing with the BS of living in the modern world.