by Olivia Michalczuk
WEED MAN SON is the second album from Dill the Giant, Winnipeg based rap artist and first generation Jamaican-Canadian. Judging by the name of the album, the most glaringly obvious theme is smoking up, and the album doesn’t fall short at every attempt to fulfill its ethos.
“Especially in [the single] ‘Weed Man Son’ we kind of went in on that one, just trying to hit every nook and cranny that we could […] all kinds of little things, we were trying to, you know, pay homage to being a stoner for sure,” said Dill. “A lot of weed was burnt during those sessions.”
However, to say the album is just a dedication to being a stoner in terms of lyricism is far from the full picture. Beat maker and producer BBS Steve goes hard in producing a sonically immersive experience with reggae beats, stereo sound effects, and expertly timed instrumentals that contributes to the immersive experience of smoking a super dopey indica, the artists’ recommended strain pairing for WEED MAN SON. “I’m from the world of heavy couchlock, indica only bro,” said Dill, followed by an admitant “whatever you smoke, whatever you like, as long as you’re getting high.”
The album takes you along on a trip to Jamaica; a trip Dill took to visit with his dad. Each song is bookended with recordings of Dill’s dad, the Weed Man himself, giving sage advice with clinking pipes and bowls, clicking lighters, and big coughs in the background.
“He’s just a very carefree kind of guy, you know like a rasta, like a Jamaican dude, real real down to earth, real chill, real humble, loves life you know?” said Dill.
“Pretty thankful for what he’s got but doesn’t need too much.”
Dill’s dad has been a part of his musical upbringing since he can remember. Some of his earliest musical memories are from preschool age via a mixtape his dad made for him, “just good music from the time, a couple rap songs, a couple Jamaican songs, definitely some oldies that I don’t know, but I respect them” said Dill. The album takes those themes and genres to a new level with a highly recognizable Jamaican influence and culture references as well as samples and found footage.
The voice recordings peppered through the album usually bookend a set of songs and either set up a song or transition from one to the other smoothly. “My dad knows we recorded him for some reason, in regards to the album, but he doesn’t know what yet” said Dill.
“It’s a surprise.”
A highlight example of this is also a major contributing factor to the understanding of the album. At the end of “Coogi Sweater” Dill’s dad says “…your company shows who you are, you see? So you guys have always held it … don’t just hold it, you have things to prove, right?” followed by a skeptical “mhm” as if to mimic the nodding heads that are not fully grasping the nug of wisdom and expression of love being shared.
This transitions to the next song “Going Good FT. EGG,” which brings the whole gang back together, “you have things to prove, right?” The local heroes and internationally traveled 3Peat come back for a reunion. BBS, EGG, and Dill the Giant hit hard at their specialties, Dill really digging in to his mellow style while EGG provided his consistently tight style and BBS sets the background right with a proper push and pull with light piano riffs dragged down with deep glass rattling bass hits in all the right places. This is for sure an album highlight.
Dill has been making music for such a long time, “The beginning is really blurry, it’s so far back now,” he said. He started taking music more seriously out of highschool trying to achieve the dream and make it in rap, even when perseverance wavered, he still had a hand in making music in some way. “Linking up everyday, getting in the studio, trying to make records,” he said of his dedication to music.
“The goal was to be where you see your favourite artist and just kind of tour the world and get all those dope accolades. God bless if it comes with a Grammy and like that extra stuff you see on TV or whatever, but we were just going for it, trying to make our way, still going for it trying to make a living off of this thing we do.”
WEED MAN SON is an excellent shot at achieving this goal. Dill the Giant has always rapped with a mellow laid back style, however, WEED MAN SON has allowed him the opportunity to really sink into his signature style with the help of BBS Steve playing with bar shapes and sizes to match with Dill’s loose style. “I’m a chill dude and I’ll always come up with some mellow bars and stuff. I was always that way and I’m developing that in myself more so now” he said.
“I’m finding better ways to bring you my mellow style and and just give my piece of mind in the way I talk, in the way I am, you know what I mean? I don’t really try to do too much extra.”
“Coogi Sweater” flips back and forth between a lazy chorus, you can sing along without barely moving your mouth, to percussional raps expertly playing with the beat and bar lines. An album highlight for any stoner is only realizing that the instrumentals are completely reduced to ambient keys once the beat comes back around for the chorus. Dill admittedly credits a lot of stylistic choices to the skills of his long time collaborator BBS Steve. “It’s insane what he does.”
The album is good ass vibey song after good ass vibey song with no gaps in consistency on the B-SIDE. Dill focused on honesty with this album, speaking to experiences he knows and trying to steer clear of the uncomfortable vibes that come with telling inauthentic stories. His recent influences going into the making of WEED MAN SON were a lot of “wordy New York rappers,” a fun combination with the laid back beats and mellow vibes that have become Dill’s true signature style. “Morning Dew” really shows off Dill’s dedication to this style and proves it’s by choice while demonstrating his ability to provide tight on the beat raps before slipping back to his playful mellow rhythm. “I think that’s one of my favourite songs I ever made,” he said.
By the time the album reaches the last song, “Scorsese,” you are fully primed to feel the full impact of Dill’s style, almost completely stripped down with undefinable bars. He’s telling his story to his own rhythm, how he wants to tell it and it’s incredibly powerful and a perfect way to round out an album that fully scours every facet of Dill’s style.
The Weed Man torch has been passed down, as Dill is also a brand new father himself, to a baby girl who he proudly showed off to me while meeting over Zoom. “She does her thing, she’s cool.”
Dill is passing on the type of music that was passed down to him from his father and also heavily inspired his tastes throughout life, reflected on the album. “I play a lot of my stuff I guess, a lot of oldies as well. I tried to give her kind of what I had growing up so a lot of old Jamaican stuff is being played, some like just good vibe stuff you know? None of this rah-rah these youngsters are doing now.”
Passing down knowledge was one of the driving factors of the album and a lesson taught by his dad. “My dad’s really big on leaving stuff for the youth and passing down knowledge to the youth and sharing experiences regardless of what they were,” he said.
“Good or bad, you know? Ugly or pretty, share all the nitty gritty kind of thing you know what I mean? So that was part of the driving factor I think too, just having him give this couple pieces made me feel like I should share this with everybody else,” Dill said. “I feel like my dad’s kinda like just like the voice everybody needs to have. I’m beyond fortunate to have my dad as my dad.”