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Since the early 1990s, it’s been on- and off-trend to blatantly reference drugs in popular music. From Cyprus Hill’s ‘I Wanna Get High’ to Lana Del Rey’s ‘High By The Beach,’ many tunes are unabashed in their enthusiasm for altered states. But in the earlier days of recorded music, drug references were more often in-group phrases that non-consumers wouldn’t understand.
In the early 1900s, a new type of music called jazz was blossoming in the bordellos of New Orleans. Jazz musicians were known to be avid cannabis smokers — “moota,” as it was called, became a popular substance in the red-light district. The genre accompanied the Great Migration of African-Americans to the Midwest and Northeast in the ’20s and ’30s,
Picture teens tailgating at a Zeppelin show, with feathered hair and denim jackets, plastered with Black Sabbath patches. Throughout the late ’60s and much of the ’70s, boogie rock and “stoner rock” were massively popular styles of music. Back then, it was all simply called Heavy Metal.
In the ’80s and ’90s,
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