Entertainment

The Smoker’s Club Co-Founder Shiest Bubz Talks The Legacy Of The Brand


When it comes to the intersection of hip-hop and cannabis, no one’s doing it like The Smoker’s Club. Founded in New York by Jonny Shipes, Smoke DZA and Bubz


The Smoker’s Club is a lifestyle brand that came to life via an epic smoke session at Shipes’ crib in early 2010. Later that year in March, they had their first show at SXSW with an epic lineup: Curren$y, Kendrick Lamar, Devin The Dude, Big K.R.I.T.. Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Smoke DZA. 

Suddenly, the demand for a Smoker’s Club show skyrocketed… and folks all across the country were asking for a Smoker’s Club show in their cities. 

And with the legalization of cannabis across the States, Bubz knew he had to shift his focus from music to cannabis. You may recognize Bubz from his time mobbing with Jim Jones and The Diplomats during the “Purple City” era, but after a visit to California in 2009, Bubz encountered multiple grow facilities and knew he had to enter the game himself.

Bubz states, We matured into something else, something legal. Not just smoking in the crib with a bunch of artists, because we all were in the music industry. Most of our friends are artists, producers, engineers, or someone affiliated with the music industry. To a person who’s not involved in that, it seems like a pretty cool scene. We took our whole scene we had going on with that and made it a tour first.”

Every year since its inception, Smoker’s Club has gone on tour, covering over 100 cities in the states and over 20 countries worldwide. And according to Bubz, the ship has not slowed down in the slightest.

AllHipHop: I know Curren$y performed at Smoker’s Club’s first tour, you were recently with him at Rolling Loud.

Shiest Bubz: Yes, that’s bro for life. In this cannabis field of doing festivals and transitioning the audience, he’s one of the pioneers for that. Having him part of The Smoker’s Club movement helped us transition from just being a sesh and some hood s### to being more diverse. Then of course, Wiz Khalifa. He’s another person who added super value to the whole culture of doing festivals, cannabis-based.

AllHipHop: How did you and Shipes meet?

Shiest Bubz: Me and Shipes met through a weed deal, a pound sale. [laughs] It happened to be in the studio, so that’s how we met. He’s like, “yo, you got it? It’s a cool studio, that’s wassup.” I had a studio at the time too. We met up again, two years later. On some cool s###, we hit it off. “Yo, come work on these projects with me,” s### like that. From there, s### started taking off.

AllHipHop: How was cannabis back when you guys started, compared to now?

Shiest Bubz: That’s like asking “how was the last month to how is it this month?” It’s that new. It’s really that new to transition. Back then, it was the same thing, just with a stigma on it. Of course, police. Getting arrested for a small blunt could have a whole hundred inmates in one jail cell. Like the Brittney Grimer story: the same thing that she’s going through in Russia is the same thing that was happening every day here in uptown Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. For a crumb of marijuana in your pocket, you are going to jail.

AllHipHop: How’d you get your name?

Shiest Bubz: It was a series of events that led up to me naming myself. My name evolved in a three year period. First, my name is Shiest. Off rip, people think that means “he’s shiesty, he’s a shiester,” this and that. I can be what I want to, but that’s not what my name represents. It represents me being a shiest detective. It’s me seeing through the b#######, that’s what it really means. It’s me detecting all the shiest behavior. 

The name Bubz came from a breakdown of two things. First, it was some 90’s rap s### with the two-part name: Shiest Bubbler. Because I get money, I’m bubbling. Street talk. I had this fascination with an addiction to Moet champagne, it’s cold and bubbly. I got that from the OGs. We were drinking champagne every night for damn near a decade, so they started calling me Bubbly. When I started rapping and getting to the music, I put a Bub-z like Jay-Z. 

AllHipHop: Smoker’s Club has such a strong presence when it comes to the intersection of music and cannabis. Can you touch on that?

Shiest Bubz: DZA is another major factor into our trifecta, between me, Shipes, and DZA. Me being — I wouldn’t say retired, but off the scene as a rapper. And he’s younger than me, so he’s the one we put our energy into. Here you go, you take the course with that and you become the focal point of Smoker’s Club when it comes to being an artist and being a socialist. He’s had projects with Curren$y, everyone we love. I’m the face, DZA’s the voice, and Shipes is the brains over there.

AllHipHop: How often are you smoking?

Shiest Bubz: I smoke before meetings, during meetings, after meetings. If I can’t have it that way, I’m off.

AllHipHop: How does cannabis improve your life?

Shiest Bubz: Cannabis improves my life in many ways. Because without cannabis, when I’m straight sober — I haven’t been that in a long time. When I used to be straight sober sometimes, I’m very serious, very strict, and very judgmental. When I consume cannabis, it takes me to a place where I let those things go. I’m more laidback, I’m not as strict, and I’m not judgmental at all. Be yourself. I’m more than to be yourself at this point. Also cannabis helps me with my creativity aspect.

AllHipHop: I feel like that all the time!

Shiest Bubz: But it’s tricky though, because it’s not “oh I smoke and I get these creative ideas.” It’s that I smoke and I get a bunch of ideas. A lot of them be dumb as hell. A lot of them really be “damn I was high as hell, I was thinking the stupidest s### in the world.” But some of that s### is good. 

It gives me the space to at least create a bunch of b#######, and take what I want out of it. The most consistent things that I feel are good or creative, that people can relate to and adapt to. That will be received well by my peers and young people, old people, old generations. Weed don’t really have an age limit on it. Once you’re past 16… you know?

AllHipHop: When did you start smoking?

Shiest Bubz: A little bit before that. I started at the bad boy age, which is 13. Most of us pot-dealing legacy operators started smoking at a young age. It wasn’t like I started smoking and I was smoking every day after that. I was experimenting with it. 

AllHipHop: How much would you say you smoke daily? 

Shiest Bubz: About an ounce, like 21 grams. If I had a movie, it’d be called 21 Grams: A Day In The Life. 

AllHipHop: That’s more than the rappers I interview!

Shiest Bubz: I’m not a rapper. Listen, let me tell you something about rappers. Rappers are like advertisements. They don’t roll the weed, they don’t really got the weed. They just know what good weed is so they can advertise it. Try to say, “I got good weed.” A lot of them don’t even really smoke like that. There are a lot of them that do smoke heavy though. They smoke a lot, where I’m like “damn, you smoke a lot boy! You roll big blunts.” My blunts are usually about half an eighth.

AllHipHop: Talk about the Smoker’s Club festival this year in Orange County.

Shiest Bubz: It was in San Bernardino, 38,000 people. It was insane, I’m not going to lie, it was crazy. It was a good reflection of where our audience is, per market. It’s cool. This seems about right. We’re trying to make this festival tighter though, to where it’s not so spread out. Because walking from stage to stage, s### is rough on your legs. It’s dusty out there, so we’re trying to make it a little tighter. Keep it so people can see all the shows.

What else are you working on?

The podcast Heavy Smoke I launch every week, usually on Fridays. My guest tomorrow is Backpack Boyz, that’s going to be a good one. We have another festival coming up. We have merchandise dropping every month. DZA dropping new project after new project, he’s back outside.

AllHipHop: You and DZA have your own personal podcasts, right?

Shiest Bubz: Yes, DZA has his Personal Party podcast that’s now picked up on REVOLT. You can pick up that audio anytime you want. I’m just keeping all the legacy operators in a place where they can at least still have a voice in this cannabis industry. Because with this big highway that they’re making over this industry, which I call the little yellow brick road, we can get lost in that.

So my job being in the game for a long time, and if I do have any power in cannabis, it is to at least let my voice be heard and be the voice for others that are in the same position that I was. Maybe not now, but in the past, of trying to find their way and how to transition from selling weed to legally selling cannabis.

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AllHipHop: Do you have a favorite memory? Maybe an epic story about a Smoker’s Club event in the past?

Shiest Bubz: Yeah, this was one of the first tours too. This is tour number one. This is me, Smoke DZA, and Big KRIT. We’re hungry as hell. We’re in some little town. I don’t remember what town it is because what happened after our event, would make it something I wouldn’t remember. What happened was we were hungry as hell. It was late night, so we had to get something to eat. We’re from New York, so we said “what’s Krystal?” 

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Krystal, but Krystal is the South White Castle. If you know anything about a White Castle burger, you know that’s a murder burger. We’re hungry, we said “f### it, let’s just go there.” We order all types of dumb s###: wings, burgers and s###. We eat this s###. When I tell you: Burning Butts the group, yo! From there, we confirmed that fast food has been taken out of our regime..

AllHipHop: You all were on tour?

Shiest Bubz: On tour with the burning butts. Straight up, bad news. We had that story for the next week. Every time we see a Krystal, we said “no, keep going!” We didn’t even want to see the sign. It felt like Krystal was coming out of our organs.

AllHipHop: Obviously, cannabis is a hot button political issue in many states, countries. Does The Smoker’s Club plan on using its reputation and platform to get involved?

Shiest Bubz: In our eyes, we’re from the music industry. That’s like saying “are you going to the major label? Are you going to do this?” We represent freedom and independence, so we’re in the independent lane. We don’t play politics. Even though there’s always politics. Let me tell you something: I do not play politics. I do not have favorites, I just love who I love. And it’s most people, I deal with that first.

Sometimes people want to work with you, but the timing of the universe doesn’t allow it at the time when you want it. One thing about cannabis that helps me with is patience, and being patient for the right time, for the right thing. To everyone out there, be patient. Be patient with your business. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with people you love, because s### can end right now. Bad things happen all the time, so you gotta be humble. 

I’m not trying to say “oh, this is right. This is wrong.” We’re going to always do what’s right, because we represent the culture and that’s all we have. It’s not something that we’re going to document and paper and say, 

“I’m going to do this.” It’s about being honest with yourself and living the 

right way.

AllHipHop: Shout out to Marvin Bing who as a perennial creative activist always brings us into social impact campaigns, I know you guys just did CannabisInCommon.org with Benny The Butcher, Al Harrington, Hitboy, and others – Why is it important to stand up and raise our voices?

Shiest Bubz: So many people are still incarcerated right now for cannabis crimes, which is insane. It doesn’t even make sense. The question arises when we’re getting into a space where it’s not federally legal, so there’s still factors that are going to hold us back from being successful in the cannabis space, that we’re never going to be able to bring. 

It’s going to have to come to a time where it’s going to have to pass federally, so everyone who’s incarcerated for cannabis can get the hell out of jail. How can you watch someone make millions of dollars off of something that someone is sitting in jail for way less? Doesn’t even make sense, it’s crazy. It makes you not even happy, it makes you sad. The guilt is still there. You don’t want us to succeed, people are locked up and you’re out here living your best life. 

AllHipHop: Where do you see the future of cannabis? 

Shiest Bubz: I’ve been able to thus far see the future of it, but at this point, it’s been co-op. It’s not in the hands of the spirit realm, it’s in the hands of the lawmakers. Being that I don’t really participate in politics on that level, it’s hard for me to forecast where I see cannabis. But I tell you this, it’s a God-given tool. In the long run, it’s always going to come back to what it originally was. You can put the price on it. You can put it on our backs, make us work and show you the blueprint. Rip it away from us and take it, try to make it a cash cow for trust fund babies to spend their money back, invest their money in.

We don’t have the privilege of that, to be trust fund kids. Most neighborhoods in this country, not just any neighborhood that’s local. The future of cannabis: I can’t speak for the whole country, but I can because 

I’m saying that I feel like it should be passed federally. With federal, it’s a whole new ball game. I’d be happy to be here to witness that happen, whether I’m involved in it or not. That’s my perspective.

AllHipHop: What’re you most excited for next?

Shiest Bubz: I’m just keeping it pumping every day, keeping the blunts rolling. Staying focused on our ideas that we’ve been manifesting for a very long time, and keep rolling out the red carpet everywhere we go.

The merch is available on thesmokersclub.com. You can find that anytime. Make sure you tap into our Instagram too, because unfortunately, that’s where we do a lot of our promotions at. We have another festival coming up this fall in October, look forward to that. It’s going to be a scary one, Spooky season has returned! It will be in the Sunshine State. It’s going to be warm. Pack your shorts, pack your short sleeves. Pack your bikinis, your thongs. Alright!



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