Marijuana and Stevie Wonder on ‘California Roll’

Stevie Wonder and his harmonica have a guest spot on “California Roll,” a marijuana-minded track on Snoop Dogg’s latest album, “Bush.” The complete album won’t be released until May 12, 2015, but “California Roll” was released as the album’s third single on May 5, 2015.

Stevie Wonder may not have enjoyed his marijuana experience back in 1971, but he doesn’t seem opposed to those that do enjoy marijuana. “First of all … I’m no better than the next person. But I’ve never had a desire to do drugs,” Wonder said in a 2012 interview with The Guardian.

Fast forward to 2015: Wonder’s old soul is on a new school track that extols medical marijuana. On a lyrical level, the song comes out of the gate with, “Baby you could be a movie star, hey (in Los Angeles)/Get yourself a medical card, yeah (in Los Angeles)/cause that’s how California rolls.” Considering dispensary shut downs in Los Angeles, the city might not like Snoop’s nod, but the local industry might.

The first verse follows with, “Say when I pass you that weed and ask can you roll?/You say roll, don’t you know that I’m from round here?” Beyond the direct references, the occasional double entendre is woven into what seems best described as a slow jam.

Snoop conceived Wonder’s guest spot after a heavy smoke session in the studio, with producer Pharrell Williams getting an indirect high. “I was smoking so much that you had caught a secondhand contact,” Snoop told Pharell during a track-by-track discussion of the album.

Whether it was a result of Pharrell’s contact high or Snoop’s direct high, Wonder’s guest spot makes “California Roll.” It isn’t likely this track will add to Wonder’s collection of Grammys, but it is another instance of music being a vehicle to bring medical marijuana into mainstream conversations.

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