What on earth am I doing at this millennial rap music festival? To be fair, I am a music industry lifer. I’ve done just about everything there is to do in this game, and I still do have a love for the music. So, I did my plantar fasciitis stretches, took extra-strength ibuprofen, bought a new insole for my sneakers that boast extra arch support, followed by several hours of procrastinating with my bong and then headed to Queens.
My mission was simple: I am not here to watch performances–I am way more interested in what artists are smoking at Rolling Loud New York. So, I came up with a little thing called “Strain Check: We See You Rolling, But is it Loud?”
Within a brief walk through the Rolling Loud grounds, I ended up passing through the epic thrillride that was 300 Entertainment’s “Ride Or Die” public transit themed haunted house activation. I definitely needed to smoke after that, so I paid a quick visit to the Vibes Papers larger-than-life shipping container to stock up on supplies. It was at that moment that I realized something: a music festival that provides rolling papers to its attendees is a very self-aware festival.
After a much-needed sesh, it was time for the Strain Check to officially commence.
The first person I spotted was Shiest Bubz, and we go back for decades. Years ago, I booked Shiest and prominent Dipset members at an intimate club in Connecticut. “Purple City Byrd Gang” was the song of the night right before the place got pepper sprayed. For those who don’t know Bubz, this notorious Harlem MC and entrepreneur smokes like no other and isn’t afraid to let you know it.
Shiest Bubz: Seth, you started with me, and you’re ending with me, ‘cause if you ain’t smoking the Iyyyeeeee Kiki Shiest Bubzy, you don’t know what you’re doing. I just smoked my Cherry Critters, but check this out:
The next person whom I spot is a familiar (tattooed) face who goes by the name Slayter. I’ve been rocking with him since his 2016 Dirty Game debut, and seeing him rock big festival crowds and concert venues nationwide on tour with OhGeesy makes me proud. With a reputation for smoking loud, we had to Strain Check what he was rolling, and the response he gave was quite honest.
Slayter: Cheetah Piss! I can’t front; this is not really my favorite, but it was quick block finesse on my way over here—and it gets me right.
What is some crazy shit you remember happening while smoking?
Slayter: I remember the first time I ever smoked weed. I was in a Target parking lot, and I swear I saw […] a zebra lady. I always think about that…
Shortly after, I found the newest member of Griselda: Rome Streetz. Rome is killing the underground with gritty bars filled with substance. I’ve been bumping his collaboration with the legendary DJ Muggs, Death And The Machine. Can’t wait to see what happens on his first Griselda project, but in the meantime, we must know what in the world is Rome smoking.
Rome Streetz: I’m smoking this Big Apple Greens Blue Guava.
Ever smoked something that really knocked you out?
Rome Streetz: Yes! One time I smoked this stuff called Halo OG. It was so strong, I almost stopped smoking weed. This was, like, 2013, and I was like, “This is just the best ever; I might need to quit!” But nah, I smoke a lot!
Later on, I ran into Florida’s own Danny Towers. Danny is a super talented and versatile artist, and I always respected him as such. But after this encounter, he now has my ultimate respect as a pothead. Most people would ask, “Danny, how you feel?” but in this case, we ask Danny, “What are you smoking?”
Danny Towers: This is my strain: Turbo Towers. It’s really, really good, and we’re coming out with more flavors very soon, G shit.
Woods or papers?
Danny Towers: Aw man, I was abusing Backwoods! I was smoking 15 to 20 per day. It was getting too crazy, so I’m on papers and mixing in a little Grabba now.
Next, I stumbled upon OMB Peezy, and I just had a gut feeling that Peezy smoked big gas. The Mobile, Alabama sensation who is signed to E-40’s Sick Wit It label did not disappoint.
OMB Peezy: I’ve got this Gelato 41 right now for whenever I run out of my Peezy Purple or that Overkill Purplato. This is my go-to when I run out of my own strain.
Do you have a super memorable blunt or joint you can recall smoking?
OMB Peezy: I remember when my homeboy put me onto Backwoods. I was still smoking Swishers and shit. That motherfucker rolled a Backwoods, bent it, and still smoked it! I was like, oh yeah, I ain’t never smoking a Swisher again!
Through a crowd of average-height folks, I easily spot the tallest artist I know, Dave East, who has been impacting the scene for the past several years with a Nas co-sign and a slew of notable projects. I remember being super impressed when hearing his early stuff with Scram Jones. Fast forward to 2021, and Dave is a superstar actor hybrid playing Method Man on Hulu’s Wu-Tang: An American Saga. Oh, and of course by now he has his own strain.
Dave East: The only thing I smoke these days is the East OG. Here, let me show you:
What was it like being a heavy smoker before all the money and fame?
Dave East: I used to take all of the roach clips out of my ashtray. Before I had a lot of weed, I would break ‘em all down, take the clips out, and roll new blunts. I’ll never forget my roach blunts.
It was starting to rain, and I was ready to give up and leave, but before doing so, I passed by CJ, who is from my borough of Staten Island. CJ broke through last year in a huge way with his hit record, “Whoopty,” so I had to see for myself what “zaza” of his was going “straight to the māthā.”
CJ: One the homies just handed me some of this Gumbo, which is going crazy in NYC right now. But usually, you can catch me smoking my own strains of “Whoopty,” “Zaza,” and “Blue Cheese.” Got the hybrid, sativa and indica.
Before finally making my departure from Rolling Loud, I had to pay a visit to an old friend named Ski Mask The Slump God: a man I’ve personally helped fog out a tour bus with an absurd amount of spliff smoke. After a high-energy performance full of mosh pits and front-flip stage dives, we must know what this man is smoking!
Ski Mask: Ayeeeeeee! Your Highness always be blessin’ me with the fire-ass weed that gets me fried as fuck, haha! G shit! Right now I’ve got the Half Evil collab, this shit is getting me extra right. I’m ‘bout to roll me a hot one now, haha!
What in the hell is a hot one?
Ski Mask: You don’t wanna know, haha! A spicy ass spliff… with extra Grabba! G shit!
Throughout this gathering of stoners and hip-hop fans alike, I managed to get what I needed out of it. I acquainted myself with artists who were rolling some seriously loud bud and had some compelling conversations. Shoutout to Statik Selektah for the artist meal ticket. I was able to successfully slam down a pretty tasty falafel burger and ultimately take my very stoned self home.
A word to all cannabis-smoking recording artists: When you see me at your show, please act accordingly… this is a Strain Check!