November 14, 2012

Max Bell roundly rejected prior restraint.

You never have to ask Devin the Dude if he’s trying to smoke. The only reason you ask is so you can hear him croon “Ooo yeah” like he suddenly abandoned rap and started singing the stoner blues. You never have to question whether the man can drop a bubba kush smooth cut. Just hit play and remind yourself.

“We Get High” is from the soundtrack of the Dude’s recently released movie, Highway (trailer below the jump), which features Eddie Griffin and Keith David. Now I can only speculate as to how the movie will go, but I imagine it ends with Devin and his sidekick getting high.

“We Get High” is everything a track about smoking needs to be. The beat is, as all stoner songs should be, laid-back and low-key. The flutes and the synths aren’t overpowering. They compliment the drums like a big plate of “chicken and ribs [and] baked beans” which compliment your favorite strain of greenery. And Devin the Dude’s flow is on point. He is deep in the pocket, coasting over the beat like he’s on stoned auto-pilot. His rhymes aren’t revolutionary (“My direct connect is gone, but my middle man is bout to come with some more dro/o, yo/you know the logo/we highe than a mofoe), but the man is rapping about smoking weed. And weed, my friends, no matter how potent, is not about revolution.

This brings me to a track I heard the other day; to Wiz Khalifa’s “Work Hard, Play Hard” (O.N.I.F.C.). This track, like all Wiz tracks I’ve been forced to listen to apart from anything on Kush and OJ (the production saves that tape), uses smoking weed as a (puff puff) pass for subpar songwriting and cringe-worthy rhyming.

I’m aware that Dude descendants like Curren$y and Smoke DZA (he has the potential to be equally grating, riiiiight?), both of whom have tracks with the Dude (below the jump), continually rap about twisting up. But Spitta, the self-proclaimed Kush God, never exudes the feeling that I’m being put upon. With Mr. Amber Rose, this is not so.

Case in point, a lyric from the aforementioned Khalifa track: “I’m always rolling up, so I get love for that.” See, even Wiz knows. He cops to the fact that if it weren’t for his seemingly endless supply of poorly formed rhymes about the ganja, that he wouldn’t be anywhere near where he is now. I know this song is supposed to be for the radio and that he’s probably got people in his ear and all that political shit.  But this song has little to do with work or weed. It’s not exactly clear where Wiz is coming from (Pittsburgh, maybe?). I doubt the label would’ve been upset if he’d spent more time making the track a tad more coherent.  And the beat is far too bent on spawning, dare I say it, inspirational trap music. What happened to laid-back tracks solely about weed?

This is all a round about way of saying that my respect for Devin the Dude remains intact. The video is nothing special, splicing footage from the movie with cheesily pseudo-psychedelic green-screen trickery. But the video and the Dude aren’t trying to be anything mor than they are. The Dude knows exactly what he’s rhyming about and sticks to it. He doesn’t use weed as some sort of gimmick. It remains his way of life. So, though it goes without saying, while Wiz is a lot like Steve Buscemi’s Donny—clearly out of his element. When you’re looking for a new track to burn to, the Dude, a.k.a. the rap game Jeff Bridges, always abides.

Watch:

Listen/Download:

Download: Smoke DZA – Marley & Me (Remix) (Feat. Curren$y, Asher Roth, & Devin The Dude) [Remastered].mp3

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