Jenn Lauder is a media maker, content creator, community builder, and marketing strategist in the cannabis industry. Cofounder of Splimm, the world’s first pot and parenting newsletter, she draws from experience as a progressive, anti-bias educator in independent and public schools plus five years working at nonprofits offering services and advocacy for children and families. Developed with her husband, Lauder’s Splimm is spearheading the cannabis and parenting conversation by creating engaging content for families whose lives have been enhanced by cannabis. MAGNETIC admires their mission, so we dished Jenn Lauder’s five favorite tunes for your next sesh.
“True Dreams of Wichita” by Soul Coughing
Old school session music. This one reminds me of hanging out in the basement of my parents’ house, playing Nintendo and passing bowls. The entire Ruby Vroom album is a classic, filled with haunting melodies, random noises, overheard conversations, nods to jazz and blues, a peculiar brand of drum and bass, and little bit of rock ‘n roll. The way this song opens with muffled voices and what sounds like a guitar trying to pick along to the bass line, then the cymbals come in to keep the beat --it always gets me. Combined with Doughty’s spoken-word poetry, which lolls, wave-like through the verses, and builds to a bit of a frenzy toward the end, it makes for a pretty emotional listening experience. When they were a band, I used to go see Soul Coughing obsessively, usually in Baltimore and DC clubs, and I’d always leave happy if I heard “True Dreams.”
“Mathematics” by Mos Def
I love to listen to hip-hop when I’m smoking weed, and Mos Def will forever be one of my top five MCs. The lyrics here are incredible: his wordplay masterful and perceptive and his message powerful and provocative. Add DJ Premier’s insane beat, with samples from Erykah Badu, James Brown, Ghostface Killah, and even Ghostbusters, and you get a perfect song. When I was in college, right after Black on Both Sides came out, Mos played a free show in my school’s cafeteria. Chad and I were walking there with another friend, and we stopped to light a joint on the steps outside the school’s office of public safety. We stood there for a few seconds, passing it back and forth, before we started on our way again, followed at some point – but never bothered – by a security officer. We finished as we approached the venue and entered to hear Mos Def addressing the crowd. It was, of course, an awesome show, such a memorable night.
“The Laws Have Changed” by The New Pornographers
This is a great song that has everything you’d expect from the supergroup: pop sensibility, sing-along catchiness, and a fun vocal back-and-forth between Neko Case and AC Newman, interspersed with sweet harmonies. These are the vehicle for an extended metaphor about US politics under the Bush administration, and who doesn’t like to talk politics when they’re getting high? It’s also super timely now…just replace ‘pharaoh on the microphone’ with ‘pharaoh on the mobile phone.’ But really, I chose this song because when I lived in a prohibition state and went to visit legal states, I always listened to The New Pornographers. They are eternally burned in my brain as connected to legalization. So, when you get too depressed about current events, you can pretend this tune is about cannabis – we’re changing the laws, and we’ll keep doing it until we end prohibition.
“The Fox” by Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney deserves a place on this list because they’re the band that taught me rock ‘n roll wasn’t just for boys, which led to a similar realization about cannabis. I’d always enjoyed both. But, even into my 20s, I saw them as manifestations of my masculine side and hadn’t yet resolved their presence in my life with my burgeoning feminism. To embrace the two without that dissonance was a huge turning point. “The Fox” exemplifies that transition for me because it feels like a feminist answer to cock rock. We can shred our guitars just as loud, we can wail with just as much vibrato, we can command a stage with our own kind of swagger, and we can walk away from foxes who might’ve tried to eat us if we’d stayed. What a righteous track! Now Sleater-Kinney is my daughter’s favorite band and her mama works in cannabis, so she’ll never have the limiting belief that those things are reserved for dudes. That’s a solid win any day.
“Dance Apocalyptic” by Janelle Monáe
Keeping with the badass women theme, I’m giving the final slot to Janelle Monáe. Her psychedelic soul has flavors of so many of my favorites – Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Erykah Badu, Prince, Jimi Hendrix – yet there’s something singular and mesmerizing about her. “Dance Apocalyptic” is the song I turn on when I don’t want to smoke and sit on the couch, when I want to boogie around the living room instead. Not since REM has music been able to spin the end of the world as such a delightful prospect, and I, for one, am glad to be along for the ride. Who knows: we may soon be wishing to be part of Monae’s alternate reality of zombies and plastic-tasting food. Surely there’s no better way to go out than to go out dancing!
Honorable Mention: Stay Gold by Run the Jewels (2016): I haven’t stopped listening to this album since Christmas!