Rolling into the Friday launch party for his new cannabis brand Gas, the first thing Grammy-winning rapper 2 Chainz did was brandish a joint in one hand and a smartphone in the other to record the rows of boldly packaged cannabis flower and pre-rolled joints in a video to share with his 5.7 million Instagram followers. The second thing he did was stand back and take in the moment.
“I can’t believe it, that’s why I was over here just trying to take it all in,” 2 Chainz said about seeing all the green, yellow and black plastic pouches filled with marijuana, and a jerrycan converted into a display tray overflowing with green buds. “I’ve been told for over a year that we were doing this line, so now I’m just trying to live in the moment. I don’t do that a lot.”
The launch party took place at the Mid-Wilshire offices of Green Street Agency, a cannabis-focused branding and licensing company that is one of the rapper’s two Southern California partners in the venture. The other is L.A.-based Mazel Management Group (owners of theWestside Station dispensary in Van Nuys). Before joining the throng of well-wishers, industry friends and employees dressed in logo-emblazoned overalls, 2 Chainz (born Tauheed Epps), chatted with the Los Angeles Times’ Rolling Paper about his new project, how cannabis branding is like music and what took so long for the project to come to fruition. (Hint: There was lots of taste-testing).
The Rolling Paper: Where does the name of your line — Gas — come from and what does it mean?
2 Chainz: It’s Atlanta lingo that we use that basically signifies that this is a stronger type of flower — a stronger cannabis. I’ve been saying it since I came into the rap game and I’ve used it in a few verses of a few songs. At first people were like: “What do you mean by [the line] “gas in the ashtray?” After it caught on and basically went mainstream, I figured why veer off from what got me here? So we started a legal line of cannabis called Gas.
TRP: I’ve heard that you were pretty picky in the development process.
2C: It took months and months and about 30 different kinds of [cannabis] flower. I think I was looking for that first impression — that first pull — how it made me feel. Were there fireworks or no fireworks? What kind of memory did it create? That’s what I was looking for.
TRP: The three different types of flower you’re launching with don’t have names but numbers — 87, 89 and 93 — are those supposed to be kind of like octane ratings but for marijuana?
2C: That’s a great way of describing it. The 87, for example [a Petrol OG hybrid, with a THC content of 14%] is for functioning throughout the day, [and for] people who are on the go [or] at work and can’t get that whole indica sleepy feeling during the middle of the day. I think 87 will be sufficient. The 89 [a Sour Gas hybrid, 17% THC] is for when people go out for cocktails after work, when they want to get ready for the wind-down — it signifies the medium [strength]. And the 93 [an indica called God’s Fuel No. 2 with a THC level of 20%] I’d definitely say is the strongest. That’s for night-night.
TRP: How did the fuel theme and octane ratings and all that evolve from the name?
2C: I approached this the way I do in my music — which was come up with the concept and follow all the way through with it. So, when you have Gas, you have to have the gas cans and the imagery that actually represents the gas pumps and things that tie in to the brand itself. I think that gives it legs — gives it a little more substance and sustainability. And I used these colors because I knew they would be very catching and appealing to the eye and I know that I will kind of have to muscle my way in as far as getting where I need to be on [dispensary] shelves these days. I figure I could be on the back of the shelf and you could still see this green, this yellow and this black packaging.
Gas prices range from $12 to $14 (for 1-gram pre-rolled joints) and $36 to $48 for 3.5 gram packages of the flower. Currently available at Westside Station, 7022 Valjean Ave., Van Nuys.