When I was a teenager, say around 15 years old, I idolized dead rock stars like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Bob Marley. But it was that reggae music Bob Marley crafted that had me idolizing more than him, the man. I began to idolize his marijuana myth, many years before I took my first draw of weed.
The first time I heard reggae music I was transported to an island bobbing in the sun. The music made me so high, the connection felt so much more than real and that seemed good enough for me then–then.
Listening to the likes of Bob Marley spawned a Natural Mystic in me. Soon I had my ear open to folks like Peter Tosh, Jacob Miller, Barrington Levy, Augustus Pablo, Gregory Issacs, Dennis Brown–Sister Nancy.
It ultimately made me want to accentuate these insanely talented artists. So I settled down and smoked some weed to these musical hot steppers. It immediately sent a wicked riddim’ which ricocheted through my head and has been skanking’ its way through my spirit ever since.
That’s why Jamaican Pearl is a wax crumble that is long overdue, at least for me it is. The Pearl looks like a sweet slice of honeycomb and smells like a ripe orchard. After a dab it took me back to that Irie’ time when I first listened to reggae, where I could reap happiness just from a song, light my dark just by chanting some lyrics.
I soon discovered the Pearl allowed me to creep past Babylon too. I smoked some after work one evening and stared right back at the surly businessmen who like to scoff at me on our commute back to our respective homes. “Fuck you Mr. Businessmen I am high as a Mango tree off this Jamaican Pearl” I thought,” You can all kiss my narrow black behind!” My eyes looked like two cut beets and I stared at them until all their dead asses looked away and went home.
The Pearl doesn’t always make me feel that intense, though.
A few days ago I smoked some and immediately felt as if I was sauntering down a dirt road in Saint Ann Parish, lost in my own thoughts, my lovely, two feet long dreadlocks flanking my side, my face a bronze angel, feet an ashen Jezebel. Palm trees canopied the sky, the earth smelled freshly tilled and the sun shone full bright and luscious.
It’s these kinds of moments that make Jamaican Pearl so special because it’s not always romantic with you. Sometimes it will rub you on a Sunday and screw you on a Monday. It will jump Jesus and kick his ass, steal from Selassie and leave him penniless. You simply never know what you’ll get.
Best Song to Listen to While Indulging: Billy Boyo & Little John: Janet Sinclair
Best Show/Movie to Watch While Indulging: Rockers
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.