What’s the point in sparking up a joint if you don’t have a good album playing? Well, technically, there are still a lot of good reasons to spark up a joint. Regardless, music sets the atmosphere for the experience you’ll have when your favorite kush starts to hit.
Every stoner is different, and stoner music differs accordingly. People who broadly love music might have an arsenal of tunes for each specific vibe. If you don’t know where to start, start everywhere. Find the albums that speak to you and invite some friends over. Smoke, lounge, repeat.
1. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
You know Miles Davis by name, even if you’ve never listened to jazz in your life. Davis changed the game with his trumpet and his ability to flow, cementing his place in history as a king of his genre.
Kind of Blue is a shorter album, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for in atmosphere. It feels like a jazz lullaby. It’s concurrently sad and happy, enveloped in a wistful and poetic spirit. Even if you aren’t a jazz person, you’ll appreciate Kind of Blue for its artistry alone.
2. The Doors – The Doors
You know that it would be untrue, you know that it would be a lie if you were to say that you didn’t expect at least one The Doors album on this list. Jim Morrison will forever be immortalized as a psychedelic poet.
Morrison’s voice, smooth as leather, melts over the artistry of Raymond Daniel Manzarek, who is playing both the basslines and the keyboard lines simultaneously. The trippy simplicity and slight kick of funk create the perfect nostalgic wave to float on when you’re finding your way to the bottom of a jar of indica.
3. Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Wu-Tang Clan were the first group of their time to invite so many untethered collaborators to put their best efforts forward. It was a launching pad for nine rappers who would go on to experience their own individual success, as well as the success of the collective.
Enter the Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers) is stoners making their best stoner music. Every member of Wu-Tang is candid about their weed use, and most of the imagery conjured by the album comes from weekends they spent getting high and watching old Kung Fu movies.
4. Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking
This reggae duo had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Althea and Donna were teenagers when they recorded their reggae single, Uptown Top Ranking. It promptly charted at number 1 in the UK in February of 1978. The girls were astounded. They paired with a band to turn their single into a full length album.
While the girls were ultimately written into history as one hit wonders, their one hit is quintessential smoking music.
5. Vince Staples – Summertime ‘06
Summertime ‘06 is Long Beach rapper Vince Staples’ first studio album. Everyone had reservations about the sound Staples was after. Growing up a fan of new wave and darkwave acts like Joy Division, Staples wanted to incorporate darker atmospheres into his work. It resonated with people almost immediately.
This is the album that gave us Senorita. More iconically, it’s also the album that gave us Norf Norf. This eerie and moving soundscape pairs well with a body high.
Find a comfy chair and get some Granddaddy Purp for Summertime ‘06.
6. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
Animal Collective is a group that most people associate with acid and mushrooms, but stoners love them just as much. Their trippy and experimental sounds won’t compare to anything else you haven’t heard before. If you’re looking for a soundtrack for an intense, euphoric high, Merriweather Post Pavilion is the album for you.
Try listening to it in a dark room with some Durban Poison.
7. Massive Attack – Mezzanine
Massive Attack’s Mezzanine is a dark, atmospheric, moody, noir kind of trip-hop that was undoubtedly ahead of its time. The bass lines are sultry and sexy, while the electronic instruments are bright and slightly ominous. This combination of sounds and vibes shouldn’t work well together, but Massive Attack pairs them effortlessly. Make this your couch-lock album.
Don’t be surprised when what you recognize as the theme song from House starts playing. We warned them it was on this album.
8. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly
Choosing one Kendrick Lamar album is like choosing a favorite child. Every album Kendrick has ever gifted the world is a masterpiece, and none of them are more special than the others. To Pimp a Butterfly is the great backdrop for a sativa dominant hybrid high. You want to move around and chill at the same time. You want the funk, and King Kunta’s going to bring it.
9. Death Grips – The Money Store
Not every stoner wants to listen to 20-minute guitar odysseys or classics or folk. Some stoners, especially those in a sativa mood, want music that will energize them the moment it blasts through their skull. That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what Death Grips does. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the beautiful blend of experimental hip hop and electropunk is completely unforgettable. Play The Money Store when you’re high and you need to get up and move.
10. Primus – Sailing the Seas of Cheese
Primus is a jam band, even if they exist on the fringe. Les Claypool’s funky, twangy, and somewhat nasally music presence can immerse you in the fictional world he creates with comedic characters and storytelling nearly akin to a nursery rhyme. All the while, the most incredibly complex bass lines you’ve ever heard are driving the narrative.
Sailing the Seas of Cheese is a perfect sampling of everything Primus does well. It’s funky, it’s funny, it’s aggressive, it’s soft, it’s trippy. It’s an entire buffet of every vibe you’d want to feel with an indica-dominant hybrid.
11. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?
If you ever find yourself in a position where you’re high and you have no idea what you want to listen to, run straight for Are You Experienced? because it’s always the right answer. This album invented a brand of futuristic soul that the world had never envisioned before. It set standards higher for its genre and became a defining moment in musical history.
Without Are You Experienced? the world may have never seen Lenny Kravitz or Slash, who cite Hendrix as a primary influence. David Bowie may have never written Ziggy Stardust, which is long believed to be a musical odyssey inspired by Hendrix.
13. Pixies – Doolittle
Pixies are considered noise pop as a genre, but they’re known among those who love them as pioneers of soulful indie. Black Francis (or Frank Black, or his real name, Charles Thompson IV) was raised in a folk-rock household and influenced by bizarre and lesser-known acts later in his career. He would go on to collaborate with Avant prog acts like The Residents, taking surrealism to new heights.
Doolittle is an earlier album, only Francis’ second with Pixies. It’s an accessible kind of surreal that appeals to a wider audience that wants to explore a unique sonic landscape without the brute force of heavy or dark undertones. Although this album is most commercially known for Wave of Mutilation, Debaser, and Here Comes Your Man, the entire work is a masterpiece from start to finish.
14. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
There isn’t anything exactly like TV on the Radio when it comes to building a soulful, enchanting, and enrapturing atmosphere. Tunde Adebimpe’s rich, warm, and powerful vocal tone wafts beautifully over experimental guitars and electronics that are ethereal and soothing. It’s almost like gospel for the non-religious.
Return to Cookie Mountain dabbles with unique sounds and distortion effects. One track, A Method, derives all of its instrumentation from a whistling backing voice, clapping, a snare drum, and cymbals. It creates a lively, busy, and fascinatingly complex aural experience from the simplest of things. That’s what makes TV on the Radio something akin to magic.
Start building your playlist
Prepare some snacks and put your playlist together. Order whatever kind of cannabis you’re feeling from Emjay, and we’ll be at your doorstep soon. Give your friends a call and let them know you’re down to vibe on a great record. Whatever you do, don’t bogart the music.