Protoje is a reggae artist from St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica that's currently signed to RCA records. He also runs his own independent label, In.Digg.Nation. Recently, Protoje dropped his sixth studio album, In Search of Lost Time, featuring artists like Wiz Khalifa, Popcaan, and Lila Iké. And straight up, it's 10 songs and 36 minutes of audio soul food.
In Search of Lost Time sounds like how it feels to get off work early before a 3 day weekend, there's no traffic on the drive home, and it's payday. Yeah, a vibe. From start to finish, it invokes an energy that makes you want to call your friends and plan out your next Best Weekend Ever.
The album has songs like “A Vibe” featuring Wiz Khalifa, that make you want to burn one around an evening bonfire; and songs like “In Bloom” with Lila Iké that sound like a straight up mushroom trip. Truly, there's something on here for every type of listener, and you'd be doing yourself a disservice by skipping over it.
Protoje's cannabis use and musical collaborations
On how the Wiz feature came about — and if this was his first time getting up with DJ Daddy Kat himself — Protoje had a pretty cool full circle tale. “I always took to his vibe, and when I first had [“A Vibe”], I was like, 'I'm not putting it out without him.' So I let it sit for years and finally had the chance. MY OG Archie that brought me to RCA [records] to set up the whole thing. He's cool with Will, Wiz' manager.”
Though they never actually met face-to-face during the making of “A Vibe,” Protoje recounts an encounter they had had years prior: “We've met before, but he doesn't know that he did a song with that guy he met.” They bumped into each other backstage at a show in London — Protoje had been ducking the craziness of the crowds. Khalifa was looking for the same, 'Excuse me, bro,' I let him pass me. He's now in the corner directly by me, and I'm kind of governing it, you know? He builds this gigantic spliff, and he takes two [hits] off it, he's like, “Here, bro.' I don't generally take spliffs from [strangers], but it's Wiz Khalifa: if he's giving you a spliff, you know it's going to be something fire. I take it from him, take two off it, put one in the sky, and I [pass it back]. He's like, “nah, that's all you homie, that's all you homie.' Then he rolls another one for himself. And that's how we met. So it's cosmic, I guess.”
In addition to the new album and the power of the universe, I also had the pleasure of talking to Protoje about his relationship with cannabis. On the mental and physical benefits, he tells me, “initially, the first thing was [that] it let me look inside myself more. It made me pace myself and be a lot more introspective — and just think. I was always a thinker, but this kind of let me go deep into my thoughts and it changed the course of my life.” When remembering his days growing up and seeing those first bursts of success, his use of cannabis offered a different view, “it just changed my perspective on certain things and I became less material driven. Musically, it gets my creative energy going and I can maintain it.”
Knowing that his love of cannabis has had such an impact on Protoje's life, we couldn't just leave the conversation at how fire the new album is — and the universe making Wiz features happen — we also had to talk about some of the cannabis products he can't live without. Here's four of his favorites:
Hybrid Flower: Biscotti and Gary Payton
When asked how much weed he smokes a day, Protoje told me, “Too much. Definitely too much,” as he grabbed one of the 8 quart-sized mason jars full of a strain called Goji 24k that he just purchased. “And I think I smoke way more since this pandemic,” he continued. “I get up, I start smoking; music, smoking; before I go to bed, smoking. So much that I've said I really need to step back a little bit. I'd say, probably like now, I smoke maybe 4 or 5 spliffs a day. Which, for me, is too much. I preferred when I was like, 1 and a half.”
On his favorite strains, Protoje simply said, “hybrids." It's not about the indica/sativa distinction for him, “I just started learning about that. When you're growing up, you're just smoking. But when I started to travel, especially on the West Coast, it was all about, 'what strain are you smoking?' I didn't even know that that was a thing. Mostly, I like a thing that keeps me feeling a vibe, but I think that's mental too; you're in a certain state of mind, maybe you're smoking, it keeps you going.”
Biscotti and Gary Payton were two strains he liked when visiting California.
The Puffco Peak
“I have this dope dab rig from Puffco. I mess with that sometimes, but it's kind of strong.”
The Puffco Peak is a portable dab rig from Puffco that many like for ease of use and convenience. It's great for people that love hash, but don't want to deal with the purchase of dab rigs, bangers, and all of the other accessories needed.
“Definitely a grinder. Especially now, I can't deal with the sticky sticky.”
Lion Pride Slim Rolling Papers
When he's in California, Protoje tells me that he smokes blunts exclusively. Otherwise, he's rolling up Lion Pride papers. “There's a company out here called Lion Pride. They make smoking accessories and they have one called Lion Pride Slims. I smoke this one the most.”
Lion Pride is a Jamaican company that makes grinders, trays, even condoms, and much more.
Featured graphic by David Lozada/Weedmaps