Your favorite rapper probably wouldn’t have been able to smoke the best cannabis on the road if it wasn’t for Shiest Bubz, one of the cofounders of “The Smoker’s Club Tour” and a man who helped Curren$y, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller and others go on some of their earliest tours during the blog era.
“What I learned about their live performances was they were all aspiring artists. They were aspiring to be stage performers as opposed to just being rappers. I could see their shows getting tighter at every city we went to,” Bubz told REVOLT in our exclusive interview.
On this installment of “Tour Tales,” the longtime “Smoker’s Club Tour” host discusses making sure Dipset had cannabis on the road in 2002, gaining Method Man’s respect, and what the upcoming “Smoker’s Club Festival” means for the blog era of hip-hop. Read below.
What was the first tour you went on?
“Paid In Full Tour” with Dipset [in 2002]. I was the weed man. We used to be on tour buses and shit, so before we left to go tour I’d come with all the work — about two or three pounds — and I’d sell it to everybody in the crew. Niggas on the crew are hustlers. Being in the entourage means it’s important to have your own money and have a hustle while you’re on the road. If you’re on the road and you’re not a rapper, then you’re on the road for no reason.
What was a typical day like there?
We got to whichever city we were going to. We’d go to the radio station and the main artists would go upstairs, do their interview and then come downstairs. We’d either go to the show, or whatever, because touring wasn’t about just going to the show. We’d do club events, too. After the event, we’d go on the bus, do our thing at the show, and either go to the hotel or go to the next city. For the show, we were all on stage when they performed. The shows were nuts, but it was also nuts in the cities. We’d go to the mall and we’d shut the mall down. They’d close the entrances on some real-life Michael Jackson shit.
Since you were the weed man, what are some good smoking stories?
We used to smoke a lot of weed because I had a lot of weed. Back then, most people of our ethnicity had dimes and 20s. The ounce culture wasn’t a big culture for us. For me to have pounds, it upgraded people’s smoking status because everybody got ounces now.
Who smoked the most?
Juelz smoked the most out of Dipset, then it was Jim and Cam.
I thought Cam would’ve been the biggest smoker since he’s attached with Purple Haze and all.
The Purple Haze thing was built off of my marketing of having the haze. Cam would have a lot of haze too and would get a lot of haze from me. The people who fucked with Cam were like, ‘Cam got the haze,’ but he was getting it from me.
What was the most memorable show?
When we went to Philly for Powerhouse [on October 26, 2002], some of the Philly niggas were heckling in the first few rows. They started throwing shit. My man British jumped off this big ass gate. He’s about 5’4 and jumped over an eight-foot gate. He walked to the person in the crowd who was heckling and punched him in the face by himself. When he did that, shit went crazy. It wasn’t a good look.
You are also one of the cofounders of the Smoker’s Club and “The Smoker’s Club Tour.” How did that come about?
We had a spot down in Dallas for SXSW. [Jonny] Shipes, [Smoke] DZA and someone else came up with the idea to do Smoker’s Club because I had a little falling out with them over some music shit. When I heard they wanted to start some Smoker’s Club shit, I sorta bogarted the shit. Nothing goes on with weed unless I have something to do with it. That’s how we got back together — over weed. Then, we did the first tour [in 2010].
That “Smoker’s Club Tour” lineup in 2010 had Curren$y, Mac Miller, Big K.R.I.T. and so many others…
The lineup was built off us doing music already. Curren$y, K.R.I.T., and Wiz were already around us before we did Smoker’s Club. These people were basically on our radar, as far as being friends and family. I was like, ‘We’re going to do the tour. I’m going to be the host.’
What were those first shows like for artists that were still growing?
What I learned about their live performances was they were all aspiring artists. They were aspiring to be stage performers as opposed to just being rappers. I could see their shows getting tighter at every city we went to. We also saw some that weren’t growing and we had to put little bugs in their ear to make their show better.
How did you decide what dates to hit for the first tour, since most of the artists were mostly known on blogs?
People think we put the tour on by just calling up our friends and saying, ‘We’re going on the road.’ How it happened was, we’re all from the music industry so the tour was going through a booking agent who was setting up dates where the artists could make money.
In addition to hosting, what were your roles?
I was already known for Purple City and Diplomats, so people were expecting me to rap. But, what I did was take my experience of hosting mixtapes and go in that bag. I’d be on stage and people would be like ‘Perform some Purple City and Dipset.’ So, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, shout out to Dipset and Purple City. Y’all ready for Curren$y? We’re on new time right now.’ I’d deflect that and give the shine to the new artist. I wasn’t just the host, I was also the merchandise director. I’m on stage hosting and steering traffic toward where we make the second part of our money: merchandise. I became tour manager without claiming the title of it.
You had an interesting relationship with Method Man on that next “Smoker’s Club Tour” in 2011. What happened there?
I was on stage hosting my second show with Method Man as the headliner. I wasn’t fanned out, but I grew up on him. I’m a fan of Method Man. I was on stage about to bring him out and Method Man started ranting backstage. I guess he didn’t have enough weed, or maybe I gave him too much and he was mad it was too fire (laughs). He tried me on stage and I didn’t come out on stage to bring him out for two or three shows after that to show him: ‘See, I ain’t bringing you out but I’m bringing everybody else out. You need me right?’ On the fourth night, he snapped out of it and complimented me on stage, so I started bringing him out. He came on the tour after that with Redman and it was a beautiful family vibe.
What were the difficulties smoking on that tour?
Well, it was illegal (laughs). You don’t want to get pulled over and the whole tour bus smells like weed while you have pounds in the back.
So, how would you all avoid trouble?
Avoid it? We wouldn’t. We’d just do it (laughs). Luckily, that was a time when Wiz Khalifa was emerging, so he was taking all of the flack for smoking everywhere. I smoked everywhere. I was looking for a place where they said I couldn’t smoke so I could light this shit up. Me, Jim, Cam, and Juelz would smoke in the most disrespectful places.
What was one of your favorite shows on that 2011 “Smoker’s Club Tour”?
Atlanta was nuts. I jumped on stage and was blown away. I was like, ‘Smoker’s Club ATL, what’s popping?’ They were like, ‘Ahhh!!!’ I was like, ‘Oh shit, it’s lit (laughs).’ Every artist that ever came with us on tour, I’d be like, ‘We’re on this tour and y’all should embrace every moment on this tour. It may seem regular to you, but we’re some stoners putting on this show for y’all, so show some appreciation.’ Jonny Shipes, Smoke DZA, and I are giving them an entire platform to rap on in 35 cities and they’re getting paid to do so.
The tours really showed love to legends like Redman, Method Man, B-Real, Juicy J and others. How did the legends move?
I can’t lie, they all moved like the legends that they are. It was great to have those legends on those tours with the new artists, so the new artists could have something to aspire to reach. Method Man and Redman’s show game is top of the food chain when it comes to live shows. B-Real is the same way. Juicy J is the same shit.
How do you feel about the tours turning into “The Smoker’s Club Festival” that’s happening in April this year?
Speaking from my own perspective, I’m very grateful that I’ve been making the right decisions for myself for a long time with cannabis. I basically stuck to my guns, and what I felt propelled me into everything I’ve wanted to do. I’m grateful to be here, still continuing my business and having the world on our platform.
“The Smoker’s Club Festival” is going to have Wiz Khalifa performing Kush & OJ, Lupe Fiasco doing Food & Liquor, Berner, Curren$y, Playboi Carti and more. What else should fans expect?
I’m hosting the whole festival and this lineup is this last 10 years of work that these artists have been putting in. These artists are doing nostalgic pieces from their catalog for “The Smoker’s Club Fest.” They’re tapping in. It’s like the Grateful Dead all over again but new vibes (laughs).
What do you have coming up for the rest of 2022?
I’ll have a podcast dropping called “Heavy Smoke” that’ll be on all platforms. I have some other assets lined up that’ll be involved with the platform. We’re living in the metaverse now, so I’ll have a bunch of good digital content coming up. The festival is coming up. I’m excited for this year. There’ll be a bunch of new strains in stores. You know, the regular.