Flying high: A musical ode to pot

Vincy Chan, Still / Loud
Vincy Chan, Still / Loud

Marijuana — aka pot, ganja, weed, Mary Jane, 大麻 or whatever you want to call cannabis — is, as we all know, illegal in Hong Kong. That doesn’t mean it’s all bad: countless studies have shown its safety, and research has found marijuana can inhibit tumour growths, kill cancer cells and protect against inflammation. With its nerve-calming properties, you’d think this uplifting herb would be perfect for Hong Kong, an overcrowded and claustrophobic city with an overworked and overstressed population.

Some may be surprised to learn that high court judges in Hong Kong have been calling for the legalisation of pot as earlier as 1994, citing all the good it will do to control drug trafficking and for decriminalisation (it worked for Portugal!). However, the reality is that Hong Kong probably won’t be legalising pot anytime soon. Crackdowns on growers have increased, and just recently, according to the South China Morning Post, 500 cannabis plants have been confiscated from a Yuen Long village.

At the same time, champions for pot are growing in Hong Kong, and it’s not surprising those in creative industries are at the forefront of the budding cause – be it ironically or whole-heartedly. Whether or not you decide to light up, listen to these jams by four indie artists in Hong Kong who’ve written their ode to pot.

  1. 今天沒大麻在身 (I Don’t Have Pot On Me Today) by My Little Airport

The outspoken and irreverent duo of Ah P and Nicole Au, better known as indie band My Little Airport, are the masterminds behind a charming, peppy mid-tempo song “I Don’t Have Pot On Me Today”. In it, Au dismisses all the stereotypical issues that might be troubling her. “I’m not bothered because my lover isn’t true to me,” she sings. “I’m not troubled because she’s giving me those mad-dogging eyes. Nor am I bothered that my friends are getting married one by one. I’m just bothered because I don’t have pot.” Sometimes that’s all there is too it and life doesn’t have to be so complicated.

  1. 大麻花 (Marijuana Flower) by The Smoking Bear

The Smoking Bear celebrates the existence of pot through a folk, campfire song titled “Marijuana Flower”, which samples the melody from the June Fourth candlelight vigil song “自由花” (Freedom Flower). In it, lead singer Sammy sings, “There’s a dream that will not die, so plant marijuana. Now matter how the rain pours, marijuana will bloom. There’s a dream that will not die, so plant marijuana. From my heart and your heart, plant marijuana.”  Potheads, join together, raise your hands and rejoice for the freedom and liberty to get high.

  1. Floating by Mike Waves

To achieve that gold chain wearing high-life, Mike Waves produces an atmospheric, mind-melding track titled “Floating”. The song was appropriately released last year on 420, which stands for April 20th, the unofficial day around the world when folks celebrate the existence of weed by lighting up. This track has all the makings of a good anti-establishment pot song: Rolling up in a luxury vehicle; lyrics that clearly proclaim ‘Fuck the police’; and mentions of the spiritual word ‘chakra’. “Floating” is the unapologetic type of music necessary for Hong Kong’s creative scene to thrive.

  1. 有無大麻 (Is There Pot) by Y5

Korean hip-hop artist Cjamm has inspired Hong Kong rapper Y5 to pay homage to weed.

Cjamm’s track, “Just Music”, loops the phrase “gyang eum-a-gi-da in-ma”, which means “Hey, just music” in Korean, but sounds hilariously similar to “有無大麻”, which means “Is there weed?” in Cantonese.  Taking advantage of this coincidence, Y5 playfully transformed the pun into a rap track that he spits on, oh-so mellifluously. To say that this shit is lit would be an understatement.

Disclaimer: Still / Loud is in no way suggesting that you should go off and smoke a haystack’s worth of the green after reading this piece. Under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, Cap. 134, any person who has in his possession; or smokes, inhales, ingest or injects a dangerous drug, shall be liable upon conviction to a fine HK$ 1,000,000 and imprisonment for 7 years.