By Salina May
American rapper and businessman Jay-Z debuted his new cannabis brand, Monogram, this year, and with it, launched a compelling digital video series called High Tales. There are currently five videos in the series, with the latest released April 26, 2021 featuring Bronx-based food collective Ghetto Gastro. Previous episodes featured rappers N.O.R.E., Jadakiss from LOX, 2 Chainz, and singer/rapper Tinashe.
High Tales is branded as a storytelling series focusing on first cannabis experiences, forming and evolving relationships with cannabis, and what life is like in the current context of legal cannabis. “Whether funny or profound, everyone has a unique weed story.”
The purpose behind the video series is for Jay-Z to use his music industry connections to make a series of videos promoting his Monogram brand and inextricably linking it with rap/hip-hop culture.
But the series does more than that- it maintains a space where celebrities can smoke cannabis and tell stories about their relationship with the plant and its influence on their lives in the relatively new casual context of legal cannabis.
Singer/rapper Tinashe tells a story about her first time smoking cannabis scared out of her mind in her Grandma’s backyard not wanting to get into trouble, for instance, followed by a light and story about having to buy weed from a frat house while on tour in Autin, TX.
Many of the high tales involve delightful stories of smoking weed with celebrities, from Dave Chappelle to Woody Harrelson to Mark Wahlberg and even Penny Marshall who played Laverne on the 1970’s show “Laverne and Shirley”. The Ghetto Gastro episode talks about Martha Stewart not being a smoker, but still rolling the best joints “because it’s part of being hospitable”.
The videos do their job of distinguishing Jay-Z’s cannabis brand in a crowded celebrity cannabis rap/hip-hop culture space that already includes Snoop Dogg’s Leafs by Snoop, Wiz Kalifa’s Khalifa Kush, and Cypress Hill’s frontman B-Real’s Dr. Greenthumb’s cannabis brands. Monogram attempts to stand out as the high-end cannabis brand in this space, and the video series accomplishes this with High Tales’ celebrity name dropping and stories of grammy after-parties and smoking cannabis on yachts.
The episodes are short (the longest is under seven minutes), but they pack a lot of entertaining and thought provoking content into a short time space. The whole series can be viewed on Monogram’s website or on YouTube in about half an hour, and is well worth a watch-through for those looking to connect with and celebrate cannabis culture and see some masterful storytelling.
As Jadakiss says in the first episode of High Tales, “If there is such a thing as a good drug, here you have it.”