On Saturday, June 25th, hip-hop icon Rakim dropped his new brand of weed called Higher Frequency.
Rakim says that name represents “things on a higher plane, a higher conscious level, higher frequency, higher energy level.”
He says he’s fascinated with frequency and vibration in relation to growing plants.
“I always had the vision of my mother and my grandmother singing to the plants,” Rakim said. “When I grew up, I realized it was the vibration.”
He says that when he went in the direction of forming his own weed brand, he was inspired by the idea of frequencies.
“Dealing with weed, once marijuana went mainstream and I had a chance to think about having my own marijuana bud, of course I start thinking of science,” Rakim said.
He’s now looking into bringing the concept into growing weed.
“Vibration and seeing if you can manipulate the bud and grow it at a higher frequency. That’s one of the plans, man. There’s certain frequencies that have certain properties,” he said, like creativity.
“I’m trying to create that and hopefully it’ll have an effect on the marijuana shelf,” Rakim said.
“Looking forward to just be creative at the same time be innovative, man, and push my project out there to people that have a certain feeling they want from the marijuana. I’m tryna serve them,” Rakim said.
Coming out of New York, Rakim came to prominence in the 1990s when his style of rap was so innovative, it is said to have changed the whole game ever since. Smoking weed has always been part of his creative process, he says.
“In the studio, roll something up and take yourself out of wherever you’re sittin. Always smoke somethin and just dig into my mind,” he said.
Higher Frequency cannabis held a soft launch in New York on 4/20 of this year and launched in California last weekend. Rakim says that both cities are important to him.
As for Cali weed, Rakim calls it “incredible.”
“California is like the mecca, if you ask me, in the United States for marijuana. Y’all was far ahead of all the other states in quality,” he said. “I definitely give props to Cali for pushing the envelope.”
Now he’s staring down the two biggest markets in the country.
“Like Frank said, if I can make it in New York, I can make it anywhere. But of course, I feel Cali is the mecca and New York is my stomping grounds and where I learned everything from,” Rakim said.
“It’s one of them things where it’s like, I hit two of the biggest markets in the United States and also word of mouth,” he said.
Higher Frequency offers sungrown cannabis from NorCal’s Emerald Triangle farmers. Rakim said it was important to him to work with legacy farms when coming into the California market.
“You got people that started the business that we kind of forget about, the farmers. So I wanted to make sure I incorporated them as well,” he said.
Sungrown represents the roots of weed cultivation, something that Rakim is sensitive to based on his own background as a groundbreaking artist.
“Just like hip-hop, you gotta keep ya ground rules, you gotta keep it original and pay homage to who started it. That’s the reason for picking some sungrown strains,” he said.
Rakim partnered with a relatively new company called the Black Market Certified, whose goal is to source California weed from vetted legacy farmers in the Emerald Triangle. Black Market Certified is a women-owned and led brand.
Rakim also decided to release the brand at an event at Josephine and Billie’s dispensary in Los Angeles, which is a Black woman-owned social equity dispensary.
Rakim is proud to support women-owned businesses.
“It’s showing growth in the culture. It’s paying homage and honoring people that need to be praised, man. You know, the women work just as hard as the men and they deserve a platform as well,” he said.
He worked with Black Market Certified because he wanted his weed venture to have a connection to the culture.
“Business is business, money is money, but if you try to deal with people that you respect, that you have a passion for, then it makes sense,” Rakim said. “This makes sense,” he said.
Working with legacy, women-owned, and Black-owned social equity businesses is, he says, his way of paying it back.
“That’s a way of giving back. In business you gonna deal with a lot of people. Try to remember to give back and give people like yourself a chance to grow and expand their business as well. That’s important,” Rakim said.
“Rakim really wanted to be able to support equity and be able to put out a great product that supported women-led growers, support the Emerald Triangle, all of these things that are important to us,” said Josephine and Billie’s CEO Whitney Beatty.
Josephine and Billie’s is known for having highly-curated dispensary shelves, where every brand and product is tested and approved. In other words, they’re picky.
“We don’t bring in every line. This line is special,” Beatty said. “Tha God Rakim is special, special to our community. He’s been in the game for a long time,” Beatty said.
“He’s taken great care with his flower. The care that he took in putting this flower line together really matters,” Beatty said.
According to the CEO of Black Market Certified Annick Goldsmith, Rakim was on board with their mission to promote and support legacy sun-grown farmed flower.
“Rakim really understood what it means when people build an industry, like his influence over rap and hip hop and how we need to actually do work to ensure that they have a place in the industry as it matures and develops,” Goldsmith said.
“Legacy is legacy. So that was a natural thing for us,” Goldsmith said.
For the brand’s debut release, Black Market Certified sourced three strains grown on a farm in southern Mendocino County, by the coast. The strains are Cali classics: Zkittlez, Gelato 41, and Apple Fritter.
The approach Black Market Certified is taking is to source flower from different Emerald Triangle farms, without concern for the strain per se. That means strains will change up with each launch.
“We’re strain agnostic but a curated collection. The best of what’s out there,” Goldsmith said.