It’s officially B-Real’s birthday! Celebrating 50 years of life, the Los Angeles native is a legend in the rap game. From his early days leading the pact for famed rap group Cypress Hill to his own solo artistry to now one of the leaders in the marijuana industry, real name Louis Freese deserves all his flowers.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Cypress Hill’s formation, releasing their first mixtape in 1989 and their first album in 1991.
B-Real’s ability to spit over DJ Mugg’s beats carved an entire unique sound, paving the way for West Coast Hip-Hop to be recognized for generations to come.
Of course, the band has always been an advocate for cannabis, which allowed B-Real to thrive in the industry. To this day, he’s opened 6 locations with his Dr. Greenthumb dispensary and has his own media platform B-Real TV, home to his Smokebox series where he smokes with an artist and interviews them.
Most recently, B-Real teamed up with Berner to release their new project titled Los Meros, with all-star features from Ty Dolla $ign and Wiz Khalifa to Xzibit and Paul Wall. AllHipHop caught up with B-Real to discuss his Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries, favorite weed strains, his new project with Berner, and more!
AllHipHop: What were the key factors in getting the Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries off?
B-Real: First creating the brand, which we had a head start on through the music. Through creating the song “Dr. Greenthumb,” I created a bunch of events. Eventually, we started attaching the name to cannabis products. Flowers that my team and I were producing. The most important thing was getting the brand off the ground. Eventually when the time was right and the situation was fitting for us to take that and transition it into a retail store from a street brand.
There were bumps in the roads, things we had to deal with to get to where we’re at, but that’s anybody getting into this industry. A lot of people from the outside think it’s easy, but definitely not. It takes a lot to get into this industry. Even people who come with big financing find that out. If you don’t start with the brand and it be grassroots and organic (no pun intended), people don’t tend to trust that. You could be this new brand with all this money but if no one knows you — unless someone comes and says “it’s fire, it’s that s##t,” no one’s going to touch it. No matter how much money you put behind that brand. You look at what’s happening with Med Men right now…
AllHipHop: Are they going out of business?
B-Real: All the arrows point to that. That’s a brand that came out of nowhere because they had a lot of money, did a lot of marketing. A lot of consumers didn’t necessarily want to go there. They went other places because they didn’t necessarily trust that brand. No disrespect to them because I respect how they did it. If this brand had existed and people knew about it from way back, maybe they would’ve been more accepting of it. Again within the cannabis industry, people want to be able to trust the brand they’re buying from. “Hey man, you need to try this from these guys. These guys got the bomb right now.” Unless that word of mouth is happening for you — when you pay for all this marketing, that works because people who don’t know will get put onto you. They’ll come check it out but if they don’t like it, that’s a one-time buy. People have to say “hey, you need to go there to get your bags. That s##t’s poppin’.”
AllHipHop: It’s crazy because before weed was legal, I mostly went to Med Men because they accepted credit cards.
B-Real: Yeah, they had a few things set up that no one else had. They had a little bit of fire in there, but not that much.
AllHipHop: What is it about you that you’re able to stand out?
B-Real: We started the brand and backed the brand up with great products. When we’re able to open up the retail, we accepted every fire brand that exists out there. We didn’t say “you know what, we’re going to hog the look to ourselves.” We’re providing options of all the top-shelf brands. We’ve been to those High Times Cannabis Cups, going 10 years back. We’ve been in the cannabis industry as advocates and activists, even producers in cultivation and brand-building. People know us from that time.
We had that luxury of people getting to know us as we’re growing and them growing with us. Them seeing our progression and our brand evolving into where it’s at now and where it’s going, that’s the key for us. It started with music but what we took from the music, the “Dr. Greenthumb” song and turning it into a character or alter ego. I turned that into a brand and eventually the retail. Fans watching that progression and being a part of it. Being accessible at those cannabis events, showing up. Having the product there was key, showing and proving with the product we have.
AllHipHop: Top 5 strains of weed?
1. That Gary Payton from Cookies. Off the hook, love that s##t. Some of the craziest s##t that I’ve had in a long time. I know he got other fire strains, but that’s one of my favorites.
2. Blue Icee. I can’t remember the name of the crew that grows it but it’s called Blue Icee. Man that s##t’s gas! It’s a hybrid of some sort. I know they crossed it with something but it’s got a real gassy f##king appeal. The taste is off the chain.
3. Sherbinskis Gelato or Sunset Sherbert, ether one of those two. Probably a Sunset Sherbert, that s##t’s off the chain right there. One of my favorites, it’s got a very, very distinct taste to it. A lot of people may have gotten those genetics but when he popped that s##t off on the scene, it was amazing. Always been one of my favorites.
4. My man OG Rascal’s White Fire, that s##t’s some of my favorite. Whenever I get some, I hold onto that s##t for a while.
5. The fifth one is my people at Seed Junkies. It’s hard to choose a strain from them because they have so f##king many. One they created for us is the Insane Holland Space Cake, man that’s some of my favorite. Seed Junkies are some of my favorite breeders and cultivators, they got their s##t together.
AllHipHop: I love that you smoke a lot of different strains because a lot of people in the industry smoke only one strain.
AllHipHop: Have you had any memorable bad trips?
B-Real: I’ve had some bad trips of all sorts. My first really f##ked up dab experience was one 4/20, we went to play up in Denver. The people from Weedmaps were up there, shout out to them. There was a crew of them, they had their own dab rigs and dab torches. They’re so ahead of the game before that became a thing, maybe 5 years back. Before dabs were really on the scene, but these dudes came with mad concentrates. Jars, everyone had their own different jar. Bees Wax with s##t on them, with wax and all that. Because I’m Dr. Greenthumb, they wanted to blaze me the f##k out.
I took one dab hit, then I took another and another. These were big hits for maybe my second time dabbing, because I smoke flower all day. Bong hits, whatever. But dabbing was sort of new to me at that point. After the third one, man I got so crushed. I had a show that night. I had to get it together. I pulled it together because I’m not going to let anything keep me down, but it hit me in such a way, it felt like it’s my first time smoking. It lasted a long time, I was trippin’.
AllHipHop: Did people know you were freaking out?
B-Real: I wasn’t really freaking out but I was pretty high as f##k. I didn’t know how on point I was going to be when it came time to do the show. I didn’t know how tight I was going to be because I felt like slow as f##k.
AllHipHop: Was this Cypress Hill days?
AllHipHop: Can we expect a Cypress Hill movie?
B-Real: Estevan and I and the guys have talked about it for sure. We’re putting something together now. We’ve actually been trying to figure it out for a while. Now that we all have some time to put some of the ideas together and figure it out, we’ll definitely be getting on that. Hopefully, we’ll have it together by some time next year.
AllHipHop: What happened to the Serial Killers group?
B-Real: We were going to put out an album, then we paused out. I can’t remember for what reason but we’re actually working on something right now. We’re trying to put it out this summer if we can hit the deadline properly. I always looked forward to working with Demrick and Xzibit. Xzibit and I had a studio together. It’s always good working with them, we have a long history. They’re fun It’s almost like working with Berner. It’s a family vibe, 3 emcees. It’s easy. We get songs done like that [snaps fingers].
AllHipHop: In hindsight, thoughts on the beef w/ Ice Cube?
B-Real: It was what it was. I’m glad we’re able to squash it before it turned into something seriously f##ked up for a lot of people other than ourselves. He’s always one of my favorite emcees so when we squashed it, we’re able to work together on a couple songs. I felt good about that.
B-Real: Your new project Los Meros with Berner has some legendary features, from Ty Dolla $ign to Wiz to Everlast Xzibit to Paul Wall. How’d you decide who to put on the project?
Fortunately, all these folks are our friends. All this was done before all this stuff started happening, we hit them at the right time. We hit everybody at the right time. Everybody happened to be home, not touring or doing shows out of town. They’re all our friends so the fact that they had the time, they got on. I dig the song we did with Rick Ross because he’s always been one of my favorite rappers. I always look for an opportunity to work with my dude because our voices bounce well off of each other in contrast, then Berner’s voice in the middle of that. All the tones of our voices work together, our flow so it’s one of my favorites. Rocking with Everlast, Xzibit, Trick Trick, those are awesome. Ty Dolla $ign, one of my favorites. He delivered on 2 songs, that’s my guy right there.
AllHipHop: Were most songs done in the studio or sent?
B-Real: No, they were done in the studio. The only one that was sent was maybe Rick Ross’. He was still in Miami but everybody else, they were here in LA. They came to the studio, dropped by, knocked it down. We had tremendous smoke sessions.