Man standing in the sun.
Marty Grimes holds bags of his YahYah brand weed. North Hollywood, February 2022. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

Bay area Rapper and cannabis influencer Marty Grimes recently launched his own cannabis brand, YahYah. The brand has been an instant success, no doubt bolstered by Grimes’s star power and social media presence.

Grimes tells us how YahYah got its name and about the big plans he has in store for the cannabis brand.

Marty Grimes gained fame as a rapper out of Berkeley, CA in the Bay Area. Songs like “Bang Bang (featuring G-Eazy)” propelled Grimes into the spotlight after his 2014 album Through the Smoke dropped.

In 2019, with a group of like-minded friends, Grimes became part of the Loaded Up YouTube Channel, which gave him wide exposure. Loaded Up produced weed-themed video content and has over 345k subs with each video earning tens of thousands of views.

By 2021, Grimes knew he had a following based both on his music and his work in cannabis, and felt it was time to launch his own weed brand. His experience as a consumer and connoisseur primed him to offer his own strains.

I’ve always loved good weed so it just like why not? Let’s take advantage of these times and these opportunities we have to actually push our own brand.

Marty Grimes

“I feel like I have a leg up from doing all the Loaded Up reviews. I smoked so many brands,” Grimes said.

“People respect what I have to say about weed, and respect what I’ll put in my bag. I feel like that’s also playing a role in people loving the brand,” he said.

Marty Grimes holds bags of YahYah brand weed. North Hollywood, CA, February, 2022. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

The choice to extend his work from music into the cannabis industry was a big step, but Grimes used the downtime of coronavirus to make a big push for a brand launch, which took place in fall of 2021.

“I’ve always loved good weed so it just like why not? Let’s take advantage of these times and these opportunities we have to actually push our own brand,” Grimes said.

When it came time to choose a strain to drop, Grimes had a good sense of what he was after. It was first and foremost about taste.

“I love flavors. I’m from Berkeley California, so we got all the za za up there. We’ve had flavors before flavors had flavors.”

The debut strain of YahYah was GMO Cookies.

“It’s good flower. A hybrid, a nice creative high. It don’t slap you on your ass or want to put you to sleep,” Grimes said. “It’s exactly what I like to smoke.”

The response to the release of YahYah was immediate. Stores like High Times, Nug, and Cookies stocked it on their shelves. The reception so far, Grimes said, has been great. Cookies has already reordered.

“They’re fucking loving it down in Maywood,” Grimes said.

Brand Building with Social Equity

To make the brand happen quickly, Grimes seized an opportunity that came up through a family friend. He partnered with Oakland Social Equity brand Special Branch 420, Degi Simmons’s grow and distribution company. The partnership has been mutually beneficial, Grimes said.

“They’re still growing, I’m growing, we can grow together,” he said.

Marty Grimes smokes YahYah before a performance at El Cid in Silverlake, CA, January 2022. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

At the moment, YahYah has been available for just under a year and has only dropped one strain, but the plan is to grow the brand bigger and to offer unique flavors.

I love flavors. I’m from Berkeley California, so we got all the za za up there. We’ve had flavors before flavors had flavors.

Marty Grimes

“Now we’re actually working on new genetics so in six-eight months I will have YahYah from the ground up, from scratch, you’ve never had it before-type.”

In the meantime, Grimes divides his time marketing YahYah and cultivating strains, a process that takes months. It’s an exciting time, Grimes said, which involves the search for his next hot new flavors to drop.

“We just gon be hunting and hunting, see which one is going to be chosen. They tell me that it takes three cycles to get a good product,” Grimes said.

The name of the brand comes from Grimes’s music and in how he communicates generally.

“YahYah is in my everyday speech. It’s my ad-lib for music, I use it every single day. Everybody around me starts to use it,” he said.

Pick up the phone, YahYah. See you later, YahYah. It’s the vibe. Then I flipped it, since I use it so much: I’m smoking YahYah.

Marty Grimes

Grimes’s musical, stylized speech is clearly inspired by his work as an artist.

“Pick up the phone, YahYah. See you later, YahYah. It’s the vibe,” Grimes said. “Then I flipped it, since I use it so much: I’m smoking YahYah.”

Now that Grimes has moved to Los Angeles, YahYah also captures the SoCal lifestyle.

Marty Grimes holds bags of his weed brand YahYah. North Hollywood, CA, February 2002. Credit: Visit Hollyweed / Visit Hollyweed

“The real vibe is just getting to smoke, enjoy some sun, hit the beach, listen to the water, and chill.”

To promote the brand, Grimes of course went to his music. He dropped the track YahYah late last year.

He says the song represents the brand because it has a chill vibe that puts you in a good mood.

“I catered it towards the ladies. It’s lovely to have that dope person with you to smoke with. A person that brings that great energy to the session,” Grimes said.

It’s lovely to have that dope person with you to smoke with. A person that brings that great energy to the session.

Marty Grimes

Although the brand launch has been Grimes’s focus of late, he’s still in the studio working on new music.

“Music is still my passion, my love. It’s always going to go hand-in-hand” with weed, Grimes said.

At this point, Grimes is practically running three businesses, one as a cannabis brand, one as a cannabis influencer, and one as a musician. He says he’s coming to a place of balance so that he can remain dedicated to his art.

“These past few months I’ve really been pushing on this cannabis brand, now that I’ve been on the shelves,” Grimes said, “But it’s definitely gonna come back around I’m going to find a great balance.”

From Music to Cannabis

Since 2014’s Through the Smoke, Grimes put out several albums and toured widely, earning accolades and a fan following from his music. He released Nobody Said It Was Easy (2015), Cold Pizza (2017), Martyjuana (2017), and California St. (2020), all of which heavily featured weed themes. He continues to put out music, having dropped more recent tracks like “YahYah,” “Me For Me,” “Big Stunts (feat. G-Eazy),” and “i5 Slide (feat. LOE Gino).”

Grimes fell into the cannabis space somewhat organically, he said. Growing up in the Bay Area, weed was all around him and he used it in the process of writing and recording music. After appearing on some weed-themed podcasts, Grimes quickly went from a guest to a host.

They realized that Grimes was a natural on camera. He could take massive bong rips and give detailed reviews of strains based on his own expertise.

These past few months I’ve really been pushing on this cannabis brand, now that I’ve been on the shelves. But it’s definitely gonna come back around I’m going to find a great balance.

Marty Grimes

In 2019, with a group of like-minded friends, Grimes became part of the Loaded Up YouTube Channel, which gave him wide exposure. Loaded Up produced weed-themed video content and has over 345k subs with each video earning tens of thousands of views.

In recent years Grimes has used social media to his advantage as he’s built his career in media. He has a following of over 80k on Instagram. His videos on YouTube have hundreds of thousands of views each, and Spotify alone has 615k plays of Grimes’s music.

Where to find Marty Grimes