B-Real performs with Cypress Hill on Day 6 of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest on July 9, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada.
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Cypress Hill’s B Real (whose real name is Louis Freese) has fame and money, but he still needed a lot of luck for his next business venture outside of music: a medical marijuana dispensary in Southern California’s Orange County.
The musician-actor-TV entrepreneur was one of six out of 630 applicants to win the right to open a dispensary in the O.C. It comes at a perfect time as he focuses on his Dr. Greenthumb world. The rapper recently took third prize for Best Sativa Flower in the Cannabis Cup in San Bernardino, Calif., and will be releasing The Prescription, a Dr. Greenthumb mixtape, featuring longtime friend Snoop Dogg, A$AP Ferg, AB-Soul and many more this week.
Billboard sat down with the Cypress veteran in his downtown L.A. studio to talk about his colliding passions of weed and music, what will make his dispensary different from others and hear stories on the greatest smokers he knows.
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Take us back to last week when you won the lottery for one of the dispensaries.
We were actually there when the ball was pulled and we were definitely excited. Out of 630 applicants to be in the top six of the first pull was very exciting for us. So we were extremely happy and optimistic towards how this is gonna all play out.
Talk about how the music and business will merge with the Greenthumb location.
We’re in a unique position because we have a lot of history behind us as it relates to music and the pro-legalization movement. I think it goes hand in hand, so for us to have a collective I definitely want it to be eye candy, eye-popping, eye-catching, an experience. We want it to be a place where you can come get quality meds responsibly and all that stuff, but we want it to be an experience as well.
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Would you ever perform there?
If we could lay it out properly to where the city is okay with that, sure. Or if there’s enough room within the complex that we’re operating out of, yeah. That’s not something that would be foreign to us because we have the ability to put that on. We have the experience and we have the right people in place to make that happen.
What would be in your fantasy dispensary to create the experience you are describing?
That’s hard because everybody is an individualist. There are groups of like-minded people that want to do the same shit when they’re high. With me I’m so always caught up in thought, so it’s a hard thing. You don’t want it to seem theme-parkish on one end, but you want it to be an experience. What that is, it will have something to do with music. I think mini concerts in there would be good, have some artists that are legalization-friendly, like for instance Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, Kottonmouth Kings or Red and Method come to the spot and do a performance. Maybe there’s a day where there’s a celebrity budtender giving out buds. Those are just some ideas. But being that we have so much experience in the entertainment world the sky is the limit on what we can do with that.
And when does The Prescription drop?
The Prescription drops Wednesday, [Feb. 18]. Traditionally everybody releases Tuesday, I know, but I’ve been doing non-traditional styles of release these last few years. This is gonna be a free album. So we chose Wednesday as opposed to a Tuesday.
So who’s on the mixtape?
I use the word mixtape loosely. It’s all original music, but the way in which we’re releasing it is a mixtape. We have A$AP Ferg on there, Scoop DeVille, Demrick, Snow Tha Product, Dizzy Wright, Jazz Lazer, Ab-Soul and my man Snoop Dogg, who I always gotta do something with. He does the track called “Anybody,” it’s a bonus track featuring KiNGFLY out of Miami. I reached out to him and we always find a way to work with each other, so he jumped on it immediately.
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How did you go about picking the people that were on this tape?
We did all the music first and when we listened back to it we’re like, “So and so would sound good on this track.” So we reached out to them and fortunately they had time and interest in doing it, so we got everybody we wanted. We got all the music together first, put all the songs together, then we listened back and said, “This would sound good with Ferg on it” or “Why don’t we reach out to Ab-Soul?” When we reached out to Ab, we let him pick the beat. He picked the beat and we rocked to what he chose and it ended up being a pretty fire track, one of the favorites on the album, actually.
What were some of the tracks that changed for you the most as you got to hear how others put their own flavor on them?
They all pretty much changed up because they all have a certain flavor until someone else gets on it and they either hit the right pocket or they don’t hit the right pocket. And fortunately everybody we asked not only fell into pocket, they brought their own pocket to it. Everybody came with “A” game on it, which helped me step up. I’m on all the tracks. I didn’t produce any of the music on it — we chose tracks from different producers that we wanted to work with and they all gave us fire tracks. That’s not something that I usually do, but with the Dr. Greenthumb thing I wanted it to be so different in comparison to what I’ve done with Cypress or past projects or whatnot. So I chose to completely shake up the way I work on music.
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So is this a style you see yourself wanting to work on more in the future?
Before I started working on The Prescription, I did an album with Berner called Prohibition, which is an EP actually, and we just completed the second EP. So this new style in which I’m working, yeah, definitely having fun with it and I still have the passion for making music, whether it’s in the old-school style we do [in] Cypress Hill or it’s in the new form in collaboration with a lot of the artists I’ve been working with as of late.
If you were to take Smoke Out national who would be on the first lineup?
If we were to do this, Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, Red and Meth, Wiz Khalifa, Berner, Curren$y and Dizzy Wright. That would be the lineup because it’s the ultimate stoner lineup.
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Who were the strongest smokers on your YouTube series The Smokebox?
Sid Wilson of Slipknot, he came in there and lit joint after joint and before you know it he had a handful of joints. And then Wiz Khalifa. He was smoking three joints while there were three other joints going and my joint. So Wiz there were seven joints in the car, where Sid there were five or six. The Khalifa Box got a little bit more smoky, but those were the two. Nobody could ever say they tapped me out, not yet. Maybe the day comes somewhere in life, but not yet. I’ll smoke as much as you smoke and it won’t affect me the way it would affect somebody else.
How is the Cypress record coming?
The Cypress record is almost done, it’ll probably be out late summer or towards August — I really don’t know the date on that. But that’s close and I’m sure we’ll be touring for some time off that. But realistically all my focus right now is on the Dr. Greenthumb brand before I get into the Cypress stuff because usually when I get into Cypress it takes over like a wave.