Abby Dorsey is a Prius-driving, Jewish mother of a second grader — not necessarily the first person you’d expect to rap about weed. But as MC Flow, a.k.a. Her Highness, Queen of Weestonia, she does just that.
On November 13, Flow performed in Las Vegas at the Women of Cannabis Conference, an event that kicked off MJ Biz Con, the world's largest cannabis conference bringing in roughly 25,000 people. On the mic, she joked about how it’s hard, as a weed rapper, getting confused for Snoop Dogg all the time. “People come up to me after shows and say, 'Wow, I never imagined that that's what you were going to do on stage,'" she told Civilized over tea in North Park, San Diego. "There’s a lot of shock based on my physical appearance. I guess I’m kind of a weird, hybrid, weed-smoking unicorn.”
But this toking mythical creature is building a name for herself and performing regularly. While her YouTube video Pot in the Latkes has garnered over half a million hits, she performs often at High Court events hosted by San Diego's Backdrop, and has rapped alongside Jason Mraz at Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado. MC Flow’s message, which parades social justice, medicinal use, and kicking back over a joint, is picking up steam. We caught up with her to learn more about where she's coming from and where she's headed.
How did you start writing and performing hip-hop?
I came at it from the lyrical, spoken word side. I was always a writer, ever since I was a little girl I kept journals, wrote poetry. I hosted an open mic in San Diego in ‘03, and I was hanging out with a lot of musicians. I really wanted to get involved, so I thought I could try rapping some stuff — you know, for fun. Then realized I was actually pretty decent at it. So, I worked harder.
You recorded a song about marriage equality after Prop 8 passed in California. Are you still interested in writing about topics like that, or are you 100 percent a cannabis rapper now?
For now, I think I’m pretty much a cannabis rapper. Honestly, I could write a hundred songs about weed because it touches so many things. Every social issue is tied to it in some way.
Of course, I’m not the first person to put rapping and weed together. Cannabis is a part of hip-hop culture. Wiz Khalifa, his whole career is smoking weed. And he’s an incredible rapper. But I guess I felt like I had my own take on it.
And it keeps growing. I came up with this idea of Her Highness. It’s become not just a commentary on weed, but also a commentary on the princess trope. It’s a feminist thing as much as a weed thing.
My princess is queer, smokes a shit ton of weed, does not need to be rescued, does not care to be rescued.
We’re living in a time when we have to speak up. There’s just too much horrible fucked up stuff going on. I feel like good work is gonna come out of this time because…something good has to.
Has your experience with cannabis changed over time?
It’s been in my life since high school. But back then it was a drug, about getting as high as possible. I think for me now, it’s a tool. It’s something that helps me stay balanced. It’s not about using it as an escape, but tuning in and getting more connected to myself.
I do try to incorporate some sense of ritual to it. I’ll smoke, I’ll light a candle, I’ll sit and meditate for a little while, do some easy stretching. And oftentimes it helps me shift perspective to a healthier place.
Does weed help you write?
I sometimes write sober, sometimes stoned. But I do love to smoke and write together. Good writing weed doesn’t put you on lockdown, it should be enough to stimulate you, shift your perspective, but not weigh on you. For me it’s definitely a creativity tool. Something about it will put connections in your brain that wouldn’t come up otherwise.
Favorite way to consume? Favorite strain?
My favorite strains are grown by friends — locally, organically, in incredible, healthy living soil.
I like to explore different things and so I like pre-rolls because that’s a way to try something new without fully committing.
I do prefer smoking joints, even though there are lots of other options. I’m old fashioned in that way. I just like the organic nature of flower: being able to touch it, grind it, sprinkle it in. There’s a ritual aspect to that, too, that’s calming to me at this point.
What’s it like being a weed rapper and a mom? What do you hope your daughter learns — or doesn’t learn — from the weed rapping part of your life?
I hope she learns how important music and creativity are, and that neither should stop being part of your life once you reach adulthood.
In terms of being a weed rapper and a mom, I’m feeling it out as I go, but I don’t think anyone is asking Snoop Dogg how he manages to be a weed rapper and a dad! There is still a stigma around women, particularly moms, enjoying cannabis or using it medicinally, and I’m all about breaking that stigma.
Also, I’m pretty sure at some point my daughter will be completely mortified by anything I rap about on the internet, weed or not!
Any thoughts on weed and Hanukkah, since the holiday is coming up?
Funny story — when I made “Pot in the Latkes,” I was still kind of nervous about edibles. I got invited to a party where they were eating pot in the latkes, and I declined because I was new to it and there was no information on dosing. It was just like, "Here, eat this latke, and good luck to you." Who knows how many milligrams were in it.
Then I was like, "Damn, I’m such a hypocrite. I can’t have this jam about pot in the latkes and then say no to the weed-infused latkes. That is not OK." Since then I’ve gotten more comfortable with edibles.
Now there is a whole marijuana Hanukkah movement. Have you seen the giant pipe that’s shaped like a menorah? You can light the candles and smoke a bowl every night.
There’s something about weed and Hanukkah, about lighting it up, [and] blazing it up.
All the puns are there. It all works.
Photo courtesy of Sharisse Coulter