Mac & Devin Go to High School is an original movie starring its soundtrack co-creators: Snoop Dogg, from Long Beach, California and Wiz Khalifa, whose hometown is Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These two rapper/musician/marijuana-connoisseurs are 2011’s Cheech & Chong. It’s cool to see how a love of hip-hop, rap, and creativity brought this dynamic duo together, connecting different generations and time zones,. They wrote a really vibey tape that offers listeners a wave of emotional experiences and provides smooth, lyrical visuals that make watching the original film completely optional. I’m amazed how well these two came together all the way from track one to the credits at the end of the DVD.
If you’re not interested in hearing a project that embodies a whole lot of weed and paraphernalia references… I suggest you give this project a chance anyway! Tracks 1 through 14 are a cohesive, full-length, collab masterpiece. All you need to know to dive in is that Mac (Snoop’s character) is an over-aged high school student who gets paired up for a class project with Devin (Wiz), the schools valedictorian who’s striving to graduate with a great reputation.
The soundtrack intro is appropriately named Smokin’ On and establishes the project’s theme. Produced by Drumma Boy, who has also crafted hits for artist like 2 Chaniz, Ludacris, and Usher, the track is an up-tempo, high energy opener for this new generation’s take on a How High movie/soundtrack combo. On track two, the concept of the project blooms when counselor Warren G welcomes the listeners to high school over the intercom. Immediately following the announcement, we’re introduced to a catchy and casual chorus:
I’m just soaking up this breeze, smoking on some trees
Smoking on this weed, this is all I need (3x)
I get lifted, I get lifted, everyday
I get lifted, I get lifted, I get lifted, I get lifted, everyday
I get lifted, I get lifted, hey
After listening through the album multiple times, I realized the artists use this project as a back-and-forth conversation told through the sickest, smoothest rhythmic forms that allows them to share what they love, what they aspire to, and how they live. Despite being born 15 years apart, these two artists live pretty similar lives. And put in the same room to record, they came up with banging diversity for the occasion: a boom-bap/hip-hop/rap/pop/smooth-jams tape expressed with the rawest artistic talent. With so much talk about divides between the generations, these two prove there’s tons of commonality when people just sit and connect.
It’s easy for me to go on about this project because right around the time Snoop & Wiz released the album/movie combo, I was graduating high school (and, to be honest, occasionally indulged in the herb). I was on it early and coming back to listen to it now, seven years later, it’s crazy nostalgic. A few tracks on this tape really take me back to that time, specifically tracks like OG feat. Curren$y. Man, what a banger for me; this track is so hard! It rises to another level right away when Wiz pays homage with the line:
Young nigga got my game up from these older niggas
Of course, Snoop does his thing and Curren$y compliments them both flawlessly with a smooth feature and bars. I was already a huge fan of Curren$y before this track because he came up with Wiz and had history with him. This phrase in particular sticks with me:
Smoke I’m stunting
Cutlass on them chrome spokes with the engine running
Sounding like a dinosaur empty stomach rumbling
Your bitch at the window cause she know I’m coming
But Wiz snaps my attention back with the lines:
Hit this J, I bet this be a day you don’t remember
Looking at the top and I don’t see not one contender
Cooking out the pot, I like my weed for lunch and dinner
Got some cookies in the jar, OG in the blender
You paying for quantity, but quality is what you spend for
If there’s a marijuana-ology, I’ll be your mentor
And all about this chronic leaf is what in for
So give your parents my apology for me again or*
Get high like we Cheech and Chong
We gon’ eat some brownies, we gon’ smoke, we gon’ need some bongs
‘Marijuana-ology?’ I was like, “Who is this guy?” and, “Man, I need to find out more about trees!”
Aside from the intro and OG going dumb hard, the tracks all come across clean and it’s an easy listen the whole way. From track 1 – 14, these authentic artists crafted a banging-ass soundtrack for an equally as interesting movie. All the way through, these guys spit unfiltered personal values, lifestyle choices, and relatable content. Even the bonus track High School delivers. It starts with a great verse from Snoop where he, the wise elder, cleverly converses with Wiz’s character and gives him a positive message packaged in the context of weed culture. Snoop spits,
Diplomas, gowns, caps and degrees
These are necessities in life you need so I’ma get it
15 years later, but yeah a nigga finally did it
Uh, now who’s to say in life there’s ups no downs?
And when you get up, you gotta get down
Uh, and when you get up, look around
And don’t frown on the ones that’s down – just give ’em a hand
It’s like mixin fixin up pots and pans
Listen up, I’m poppin like rockin a band
No plan, all from the heart to the hand
Roll it, puff it, now give it to him
Uh, physical fitness, smokin relentless
Nouns and pronouns, they make up my sentence
High school days, uh
Blowin on the purple haze, uh
High school days, uh
Blowin on the purple haze, uh (where you at Devin?)
Afterwards, Wiz starts snapping and then the album is done before you know it. Watching the movie then replaying the soundtrack helped me catch things I missed before, and left me thinking, “How slick are these guys?”
Most people who know this album only know it because they chant along with the chorus/hook of the hit Young, Wild, and Free feat. Bruno Mars:
So what we get drunk?
So what we smoke weed?
We’re just having fun
We don’t care who sees
So what we go out?
That’s how it’s supposed to be
Living young and wild and free
This track made it onto radio stations and stayed there for probably a whole year. I find it amazing the hit was produced by The Smeezingtons and samples YG’s Toot it and Boot It. Kids all over were singing this hook—it was madness!
All in all, Mac & Devin Go to High School is my favorite movie soundtrack. The project flows consistently and always brings back memories from some really good times. If you have the time, it’s worth the listen for sure.
* – User Jammin31 has a great comment about this line on genius.com.