Hempress Sativa aka “Queen Cannabis” is a multi-faceted young talent touring the world and taking Jamaica Muzik into the future. While generally indicative of the roots-rock reggae genre, Hempress Sativa crosses boundaries, at times reflecting elements of rhythm and blues, displaying her agility as a melodic singer and exposing a softer side.
“My Muzik is peculiar and I don’t anticipate everyone to like My Muzik…for I Muzik deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected," writes Hempress Sativa.
Her compass strongly governed and deeply rooted in Rastafari, Sativa sees herself as an instrument of Haile Selassie I, maintaining that marijuana is an integral part of the social fabric. Certainly, this is conveyed in the content of her songs...and her Weedsday selections.
MAGNETIC asked Hempress Sativa to share five Weedsday wonders for your next sesh—all incredible songs, including one of the Queen’s own. So, press play and uplift!
1. “Legalize It” by Peter Tosh
“Legalize it, don’t criticize it, Legalize it and I will advertise it,” is the slogan of the most revolutionary singer, songwriter, musician, and legendary icon, Peter Tosh. One of the greatest sounds in the history of Jamaica, Peter Tosh advocated ceaselessly for the legalization of the marijuana plant and equal rights and justice for the oppressed.
2. “Ooh La la laa” by Hempress Sativa
This is an ode to a queen Ms. Lauryn Hill, who’s lyrical prowls and delivery inspired and encouraged me to expound and expand, to command with respect, to influence without imposing through Muzik. As a child growing up, I was fascinated by Ms. Lauryn Hill— the lioness of The Fugees, who showed that a female could hold her own in the jungle of testosterone, that a Queen didn’t need to submit, nor be promiscuous, in order to achieve success. And, when it came to lyrical content, she could easily annihilate any male counterpart without hesitation. As a advocate for the use of marijuana without government regulations, I wanted to recreate the narrative of the original song to encapsulate, in a sense, that marijuana is an entheogenic plant for the awakening of the higher self—one that can also contribute to economic growth, especially in my country Jamaica 🇯🇲!!!
3. "Under Mi Sensi" by Barrington Levy
“After mi stand up round volcano sound a bun mi ganja pipe, Babylon come and tell mi that nuh right.” Mi say, “Mi bun it and pass it pan the right. Mi say, “Dem come in an look pan Danny Dread!” Dem say, “Hey Natty Dreadlocks, a weh yuh come from? Yuh mus have few stick of sensi under yuh tam!” Mi say, “No officer lawd yuh must be mad. Him only smoke cigarettes and strictly shags...under mi sensi mi under mi sensi!!!”
Cannabis, marijuana, herbs, sensi— it’s been woven into the fabric of the Jamaican culture through the Ras Tafari Movement who initiated the use of the plant and were ostracized, brutalized, and persecuted for their holy sacrament “Ganja.” They were hunted, trimmed, and embarrassed for their spiritual beliefs and practices. This includes not cutting ones hair, eating a ital diet, living as one with nature, and the serving of H.I.M Haile Selassie and Empress Menen In Divine Masculine and Feminine Balance as exhibited in creation. Ras Tafari people have, for years, used herbs for medicinal purposes and remedies ranging from fever to cancer. What the song speaks to is what was common, constant, mundane...at a time when police officers would raid the “dancehall” and anyone being Ras Tafari, or who had ganja, would be harassed then arrested—not before being assaulted.
4. "Driver A" by Buju Banton
Buju meticulously took the time to explain the runnings of a “herbman operation.” From the instructions given to the “driver” to drink a beer and don’t dare burn a spliff to maintaining the speed limit. This song is so realistic in delivery to the point one argues that this was the song that landed him in prison. To me, this will always be a classic and Buju will always be a legend in reggae Muzik!
5. "Police In Helicopter" by John Holt
Jamaica has been known for some of the best ganja in the world! Ganja in Sanskrit means hemp. It was brought to the island by the indentured workers as seedings in the early 1800s. By the 1920s, ganja was firmly rooted in the Black Consciousness Movement Of RasTafari (Ras meaning “head” and Tafari meaning “revered one”). The Ras Tafari Movement hails H.I.M Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen as The Divine Masculine and Feminine Balance In Creation. The emergence of the Ras Tafari Movement cemented ganja in the Jamaican culture. With that standing, Ras Tafari communities would plant, for personal and monetary purposes, Marijuana. They would be raided by the military and police forces, cutting and burning the acres of crops that were vital to sustaining the community. This was backed by the Jamaican and United States government, partly to focus on the production of cane for rum which was a more lucrative opportunity for them to profit.