It’s been a big month for marijuana-rights activists. Colorado and Washington become the first two states to legalize the drug for recreational use. And, perhaps more importantly, rapper Mighty Casey (of “BET Un:Cut” and “White Girls” fame) and his new band Knight Blade released “I Got That Weed.” The stars have seemingly aligned for the single, whose casual conversational approach to the subject has come to mirror much of how the media’s framed the first visages of a marijuana-friendly American society. We caught up with Casey, who has also been busy of late writing a book about the Jamaican C.I.A. and helping launch a streaming music app where he aided in assembling the bulk of the reggae playlist, to discuss “I Got That Weed” becoming a telling song of our times.
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“I Got That Weed” begins with explaining that the track is a love song. Do you recall your first experience with marijuana?
Yeah, I was 14 and with my friend Tony, a Bluegrass musician. We had stolen a joint from his mother who was a dance instructor at the time. I don’t recall it doing anything to me, but I think it may have made him extra paranoid because he kept telling me to stop looking high.
Why did now feel like the right time to release “I Got That Weed?”
Obviously, with Colorado and Washington and weed becoming more socially acceptable, I think it just happened off-chance that the song’s coming out now. But, I think it is a great time for it to come out, specifically with Obama saying it isn’t any more dangerous than alcohol and with medical marijuana springing up everywhere. I think the taboo has kind of faded away, which is really great. It seems like a big waste of our legal system and money that we could be taxing. I think we could get rid of our overcrowded prison system and help people get rid of criminal records for doing something the President said is no more dangerous than alcohol. I wasn’t sitting on the record, it just came together at the right time.
Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the legalization?
I was probably in New York. I was in Seattle in November and my friend had the medical card, so coming up for January, I was already reading about it. The Seattle papers had all sorts of articles about people buying licenses for medical marijuana. Before that, I was in Los Angeles and in the LA Weekly, all these back-ads, where the Village Voice has all the sex ads, were medical marijuana ads. When I saw that, I definitely saw it becoming more socially acceptable. I think a lot of that contributed to the idea in the video where we had an informercial for marijuana, because it seems that’s the direction it’s going. When I say “Gram to an eighth to a quarter ounce,” and this was entirely unintentional, but the ads had the same amounts for marijuana with the prices like I do in the song.
You’re involved with so many projects, but you’re probably most known for the classic “White Girls” video. Do you think having “White Girls” as part of your legacy has helped or hurt your endeavors in any way?
I think it’s a bit of both. I can’t say what would have happened without it. It’s definitely opened doors because people wanted to see what I’d do next. But, I think it got to the point where people didn’t take me as seriously. It was a satire, parody song, but it was on “BET Un:Cut” which was mostly ratchet, low budget videos where most of the other videos didn’t have any parody or satire. When they said they had no panties on, that meant they had no panties on. “White Girls” was actually inspired by a Necro song called “I Need Drugs,” in which he was doing a parody of LL Cool J’s “I Need Love” only sick and twisted and, while Necro’s a wild, out there guy, he’s not a crackhead, so I thought I could do a song from the perspective of a black guy who really liked white girls. It was sort of what I was seeing a lot of at the time, friends from Boston in a lot of college towns were chasing white girls. Sometimes I feel being a musician is kind of like being a journalist, rapping about what’s going on not just in my life, but in the lives of a bunch of other people. Sometimes, I was a little embarrassed by it, but I still made good money off it and it showed me, as an independent artist, that you can get licensing to a movie and get big checks and get on BET without a major label. I’m very grateful for it and grateful for the opportunity and the doors it opened for me. It taught me a lot about the music business.
In reference to the Necro origins, have you ever had any interactions with him?
Our paths have never crossed, even though I was coming up in the underground era when he was popping. I never got to work with him, but I remember buying the I Need Drugs DVD with him and his Uncle and showing it to all my friends because it was so crazy. I’d be interested in working with him, especially after the Kool G Rap stuff.
The other track you’re known for is “Liquorland.” Between weed, liquor and white girls, what’s your favorite vice?
Oh man, I’d say weed right now. I can’t afford it right now, which kinda stinks, especially because I just came back from California and you can get such good prices. Since I haven’t met that many white girls from “White Girls,” I’d like to meet a nice sexy white girl who I can mess with. Liquor is cheap and easy, but I’m older, I’m not partying all night, I like to relax and watch a movie with friends and family and weed is great for that. I’d like to meet Scarlett Johansson, she’s my favorite white girl.