Six-time Grammy nominated rap producer Drew Drucker has worked and toked with some of the biggest names in hip hop today - from OG's like Snoop Dogg to emerging cannabis icons like Wiz Khalifa. So to find out what role marijuana plays in making today's hit records, we reached out to Drew for an exclusive Civilized interview.
Drucker talked about how cannabis helps artists deal with the pressures of fame, what he does when someone gets too high in the studio, and which current rap star is a cannabis snob.
How common is cannabis in the recording studio?
I'd say it's slightly genre-specific. Certain genres will partake in cannabis more than others. And if there's a bigwig or a client in the studio, then the people who are not the main talent probably won't be partaking as often. But if the main talent's partaking, pretty much anyone in the studio is invited so long as they can handle their cannabis.
So when the cat's away...
Yeah, but even when the execs are around, sometimes the artist blows them out of the room. So they can't hang out for too long anyway. I've definitely witnessed that as well.
When you say it's genre-specific, what sort of artists are more into cannabis than others?
I'd say any kind of electronic-based music. Stuff that has a party atmosphere to the music. And I've never done a reggae session that hasn't smoked weed. That just doesn't happen.
Some stereotypes are there for a reason.
You know, there might be a couple Christian reggae bands out there, but I haven't come across too much of that. And most rap sessions. You do see a rap artist here or there that doesn't smoke weed at all. But it's rare.
Who do you like splitting a joint with in the studio?
Wiz [Khalifa] and Berner. B-Real [of Cypress Hill] and Snoop - it's always great to smoke with legends like that. B-Real is just a really good guy, a humble guy. A real kind person. And he'll hit a roach if you pass it to him, you know what I mean? He's not a snob by any means.
Oh yeah, Wiz won't smoke any weed that's not his own weed [Khalifa Kush]. He doesn't want to try other flavors very often. Occasionally Berner brings something through that's guaranteed awesome, but Wiz likes to smoke 'KK' in a couple of his own joints. Or his friends roll, he'll smoke their joints too. But he's not gonna smoke a fan's joint. He's a bit more of a cautious consumer. And Berner is a bit too. Berner has so many good flavors of strains. He's also not dabbing much. He's just smoking joints. But B-Real, he'll smoke anything. He's a true stoner.
So who has the better stash - Wiz or Berner?
They're technically the same thing. KK came through Berner. He deals with so many different growers in the Bay Area of San Francisco because he managed a few cannabis clubs way back when. He was the the guy with the best kushes. So he brought different options to Wiz. He picked one and - boom - that's exclusively grown as KK now. So technically, it is the same.
But I'd say I like Berner's better. Berner just has the flavors. He's got better flavors by far than anybody I've ever been around. He's a networker. He's close with all these different growers that allow him to have the crème de la crème of strains. It's like a head chef at a restaurant. They're not growing all of their ingredients. They're finding the best farmers to get the best berries, the best lettuces and all that to make their masterpieces. So Berner's like the head chef who just knows where to get the best ingredients.
So when the munchies hit during a session, what kind of food do you bring into the studio?
It really depends on the client. Wiz sessions always have a lot of snacks around - stocked up with candies, chips, shit like that. Berner likes to eat like a boss. When I'm in the studio with him, we're getting 5-star meals delivered to the studio. I love working with Berner because we're always eating good. He's always keeping his nose to the air, smelling out the best strains and bomb restaurants.
What do you do if someone gets too high in the studio? How do you bring them down a bit so they can focus and get back to work?
That rarely happens. One time it did happen, we were working on [the 2015 mixtape] 'Blue Dream and Lean 2' with Juicy J. I was mixing that project. Juicy smokes Blue Dream pretty much exclusively, but he also sometimes smokes whatever's in the pipes and joints around. There was a bong in the studio, so he hit that and I was like, 'Yo, you should clear that.' Well, he did and it just fucked him up way too hard because he wasn't used to hitting the bong.
I felt really bad for making him clear it, so I made him green tea and brought him snacks and shit. But it only lasted for about ten minutes of him coughing. Then we got back to work. The good thing about cannabis is that it's not like acid or even alcohol for that matter. If someone drinks too much, or if someone's under mind-altering substances, you can't really bring them back.
Yeah, they gotta sleep that off. That pretty much ends work. But with cannabis, if someone gets too high, they're just gonna lay down on the couch for a minute, maybe take a nap, then boom - they come back ready to go in an hour or so. That's definitely why I prefer to use cannabis in the studio more than drinking. You maintain control.
How does cannabis help with the recording process?
A lot of artists that I work with use cannabis to relax and get into the zone. They have a high-stress lifestyle, you know. So many people rely on them. They employ security, producers, engineers, writers, managers, assistants, drivers. A lot of people that are eating off these artists. So they need to unwind somehow from that stress. The clients I typically work with use cannabis.
People like Wiz and Snoop are basically one-man empires.
Yeah, they're literally a walking brand. They have so many people to answer for, and so many people relying on them. So they're relying on us in the studio. We all scratch each other's backs, but these guys are definitely taking care of a lot of individuals and a lot of people are living off of them, so that kind of stress I can only imagine. I would probably be smoking more cannabis if I had that kind of responsibility.