They'd have to be insane in the brain to let opportunity slip them by, as longtime weed champions Cypress Hill release Rise Up this week on April 20, aka 4-20, aka the day all dedicated stoners either call in "sick" to work or mysteriously disappear at 4:15pm. "Light It Up" and "Pass the Dutch" are just two of the pot champions' new odes. . . . "Doobie Ashtray" rapper Devin the Dude comes blunted this Tuesday with Suite #420, lending his lyrical head-nod to future classics like "We Get High" and "Ultimate High." . . . SoCal producer emeritus Madlib, he of the underground cheeba classic "America's Most Blunted," drops an instrumental collection titled 420 Chalice Allstars, perfectly constructed for overcast afternoons with the Zippo.
Of course, Willie Nelson's getting in on the act this April 20, too, although Country Music isn't at all like Nelson's recent pot-themed reggae album—just a host of old-fashioned chestnuts like the Louvin Brothers' "My Baby's Gone" and Merle Travis' "Dark as a Dungeon," and no mention of the green leafy at all. . . . Merle Haggard, who's been famous for extolling the virtues of lighting up—despite his "Okie from Muskogee" line about not smoking marijuana in the Oklahoma town—also releases I Am What I Am.
The 1960s psych-rock pioneer Roky Erickson teams up with the great Austin band Okkervil River for True Love Cast Out All Evil, a remarkable return to form after years of drug problems plagued the 13th Floor Elevators singer. . . . And would it truly be 4-20 without the Grateful Dead? The vault of Jerry Garcia & Co. is opened for Crimson, White & Indigo: Philadelphia, July 7, 1989, a four-disc set chronicling the high times between Garcia's coma and keyboardist Brent Mydland's death.
But ultimately, the 4-20 Lifetime Achievement Award must be presented to the Kottonmouth Kings (above). The bong-toting barons of all things cannabis released Fire It Up the last time April 20 fell on a new-release day, in 2004, and this week's Long Live the Kings continues an epic streak of sinsemilla songwriting, with "Great When You're High," "Black Smoke," "Reefer Madness," "Let the Indo Blow" and the plain and simple "Let's Do Drugs."