Waka Flocka Flame is an impassioned guy. “High Times!” he shouts at this reporter with a smile from ear-to-ear, two blunts dangling from his mouth in an exaggerated pose. “I’m gonna be on the cover someday.” A giant bag of his brand new Flockaveli nugs sits in front of him on a red-felted pool table. Four of his collaborative Honey Supply bongs sit like a cityscape in front of him, and he goes back to studying two plastic SD card plastic cases repurposed to hold the concentrate version of Flockaveli. He is deciding between Flockaveli OG and OG Flockaveli. He picks the former.
Suddenly, the excitable rapper known for the big energetic club bangers “Hard in the Paint” and “No Hands” is running in and out of the green room at Nexus Social Lounge, a private dab club in downtown Los Angeles. In town before his performance at the High Times SoCal Medical Cannabis Cup, he’s promoting his new series of Honey Supply glass and the new strains. He goes out for a “chief’n’greet” at the dab bar, and takes the lighting duties from the dab-tenders.
“Who wants to dab with Waka Flocka?” he shouts to responsive cheers, before firing up a dab rig for a young woman, who gives it a strong pull and blows out never-ending plume of smoke. “No baby dabs here,” laughs Flocka.
Soon he’s rocking the Honey Supply bong—his name emblazoned on the side—and takes a huge rip before blowing a giant cloud onto the group crowding around the other side of the bar. Then he takes a bin full of Flockaveli nugs and starts handing it to outstretched hands, like a momma weedbird feeding her flock of baby weedlings in the nest.
“Flockaveli is a strong San Fernando Valley OG indica strain with a thick diesel smell,” says Mike Bhaimia, who owns Nexus and its subsidiaries, including Honey Supply. A couple hits of Flockaveli slows things down to a smooth crawl, and definitely gets the appetite up. (Thankfully, there are food trucks outside of Nexus.)
“I’ve been doing this since 2011,” Flocka says about his involvement in the weed industry. “And don’t forget about Seth Rogen.”
He’s talking about his publicity stunt from 2014 where he hired comedian Seth Rogen as his fulltime blunt roller. Flocka likes to have fun with it all. When he comes back into the green room, he laughs about giving out so much weed, before saying to no one in particular, “I like touching people.” Then he does a Darth Vader impression.
“That’s Flocka for you,” laughs Rama Mayo, head of Green Street Agency, who puts together marketing deals between celebrities like Flocka and marijuana industry brands like Nexus. Flocka is but one of many rappers trying to get a footing in the wide-open marijuana game. Kurupt, of course, has his legendary Moonrocks (flower drenched in CO2 oil, then dusted in kief), and Snoop Dogg, who has his own OG strain. Freddie Gibbs, Migos, and Wiz Khalifa are all attached to strains.
Mayo shows me around Nexus Social Lounge. In one room is a video game arcade where all the games (mostly first person shooters, claw machines, and my favorite Crazy Taxi) are free—every stoner’s dream. “I like to think of Nexus Lounge as Dab & Busters,” says Mayo, punning about the video game arcade/sports bar chain Dave & Busters.
We head downstairs to the dance floor where Flocka is about to take the stage. Flocka enthusiastically runs through his hits, a cloud of smoke forming above the crowd. By the time the evening is winding down the entire warehouse-sized building is hot-boxed and misty before the crowd disappears into the night, lifted and happy.
Photos c/o Michael Paredes