Sign up for the Word on the Tree newsletter


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, stoner rock was sidelined and mostly forgotten as hip-hop culture rose. But in 2009, the skateboard company Creature released a video titled Hesh Law, featuring David Gravette with Pentagram’s ‘Forever My Queen’ as the audio track. Since then, stoner rock and “hesh” style have taken over a large segment of skate culture (and mainstream culture too, as skate trends tend to go).

In the ’70s, cannabis was low-potency and the choices were limited to one or two strains. Now, just as we have hundreds of strains and stronger weed, the stoner rock genre has splintered into multiple sub-genres. The music is way heavier, and the herbal euphemisms (‘Sweet Leaf’) are exchanged for direct references (‘Space Reefer,’ ‘Bong Thrower’).

Bands like Bongzilla, Dirty Fences, and Kings Destroy are following in the footsteps of Pentagram and Black Sabbath, with muddy, gritty production and dirge-like, heavy grooves. We’ve included a handful of these songs in this playlist as well as a couple of the OG heavies who started it all. Enjoy!

For more Toking Tunes, follow Word on the Tree on Spotify.

Sign up for Word on the Tree's daily email newsletter

The Word on the Tree newsletter is widely hailed by cannabis professionals, advocates, and journalists as indispensable reading. Get updates on policy reform, business dealings, and scientific research – all in a concise digest.