The On the Revel gathering in New York's Financial District on Feb. 24 was winding down. The evening had consisted of panel discussions and speeches about New York's new legalization law. Cannabis industry players offered tips and strategies to the enthusiastic mostly POC crowd.
They saved the best for last: A fireside chat with New York rapper Styles P conducted by On the Revel's Jacobi Holland, who emceed the event. A member of The Lox, Styles broke out on his own in 2002 with The Gangster and the Gentleman album featuring the cannabis classic, "Good Times (I Get HIgh)." Watch the video below.
Born in Queens and raised in Yonkers, NY, Styles started smoking weed in high school. "I'm a fidgety person by nature, I'm really anxious, I'm always moving, so cannabis sort of levels me out," he explained. "Cannabis the plant is the common denominator."
Here's a transcription of Styles' most compelling comments:
"I'm a Pothead...
I'm trying to gravitate to my bong more, get away from tobacco so the next generation that's coming from behind us won't have to use Backwoods, Dutches and fronta leaf, even though that's what some of us like and that's how we grew up. The purpose of pot/cannabis is to make a better change and make a better world."
"Cannabis the plant is the common denominator."
"We're Behind the Eight Ball...
We're number one on the target list. But there are other people on the target list... Let's talk about the Midwest. That's full of white kids... I smoke pot and think about shit like this... If you're in a roomful of white people that fucked with pot, make sure you have some good conversations, you'll probably learn some shit. This may sound like typical funny shit, but it's not. Everybody I know in my neighborhood – we don't grow fucking pot. We've all got many arrests on our sheets for pot. It's the white people that grow the most awesome pot. I fucking love that. I'm just going to be honest: You guys grow the pot, you never go to jail for it, make tons of fucking money for it. We buy the pot that you grow, it fucks up our future, we get arrested for it, now you got a felony and a bunch of misdemeanors, now you can't get a job. How the fuck do we fix the problem? By addressing the problem. Let's figure out how to get some of these black kids some money over this fucking pot."
"Cannabis Is Now Legal in New York...
We as New Yorkers are expert smokers. What do we know about growing? Shit, What do we know about opening a dispensary? Shit. We know none of these things what it takes. West Coast has been doing this for years and they're having problems. They're just getting on board with social equity on the West Coast... Let's give the opportunity to everybody. We fucking arrested them for years, fucked up for years over this shit. Let's make a change and make something different. The real shit is kids are going to do it anyway. So, do you want to make the change or do you not want to make the change?"
"We need to find a way to make sure that kid that's on the block feels like he's part of corporate America."
"We Want to Work with You Guys...
We just don't want to be on the streets. We don't want to not contribute to our country. We want to be able to have a job where we pay tax, not running from police, not have to carry guns, be able to pass on down to our children. I think corporate America is confused what the average Black/Latin kid of color wants and what he aspires for... We need to find a way to make sure that kid that's on the block feels like he's part of corporate America, he's paying taxes, he's involved. Then he may get into something else, he may get into a whole other business."
Styles, who's vegan, owns Juice for Life, a chain of New York-based shops.