This past April, New Jersey legalized marijuana to be sold in dispensaries. After years of talks in the Garden State about who and how cannabis can be sold, anyone 21 and up gained access to carry marijuana recreationally. With therapeutic effects like stress relief and reducing inflammation, many New Jerseyans have been trying out the once demonized plant.
To celebrate the occasion, rapper Reggie Sinatra, real name Dennis Alex Bellew, went to work on his first album, “The Caged Mind of a Pothead”. Paying homage to Stevie Wonder’s “Hotter than July” album cover, the 22-year-old New Jersey native sports braids and beads with smoke billowing out of his mouth in the center of a leaf for the album cover. Sinatra also pays tribute to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” album with the positioning of himself on the album cover.
For frequent stoners and dab dabblers, Reggie Sinatra provides the soundtrack for stoners of all types. For a group smoking session with friends, “Herbs Comes Around” might play in the background due to Sinatra’s enthusiasm and its celebratory instrumental. Other songs like the laid-back sounds of “Fly Your Wings” serves well hours after eating an edible for its euphoric instrumental and Sinatra’s easy-sounding flow and harmonies throughout. Full of fun times and good vibes, Sinatra raps about topics like bonding with homies over a spliff or two and his love for the little green plant.
Sinatra's love for pot is also personified in the music video for his lead single, “Herb Comes Around”. With scenes including him on a picnic date with a massive bag of Mary Jane, Sinatra’s energetic raps paired with the horn-studded trap beat is a highlight of the album.
Directed by Jasmine Bellew, other scenes include Sinatra, with his signature afro, popping out of a wall filled with rolling papers as well as rapping while hotboxing a car with some friends.
The album takes some influences from the 2010s “trill-wave” era. Pioneered by artists like A$AP Rocky, Clams Casino, and SpaceGhostPurp, the genre is known for its drug-inducing sounds. With distorted vocals, hazy lyrics, and a slower melody, Sinatra experiments with those sounds in songs like “Tomahawk” and “She’s Gotta Have it”.
“Tomahawk” has Sinatra experimenting with a deep distorted voice, in the style of a young A$AP Rocky. With its simple snare pattern on a slowly chopped trap beat, “Tomahawk” creates a somber atmosphere that reflects well with the lyrics. Being the most introspective song on the album, Sinatra shares his vulnerability with the listener as he goes in-depth about his family life.
Transitioning into the classical-inspired track “She’s Gotta Have It”, the pairing of the bass with the violins is a blissful and unique combination. Sinatra maintains a flow that has no breath breaks during the verses. It is a highlight of the album and is reminiscent of the period when producers took cathedral-like sounds from classical instruments and paired them with rap beats.
The only features, coming from Zai & T2 on “Sorry Not Sorry.” The trio rapped on a snare heavy light-hearted trap beat. The last verse on the song from T2 is a highlight as he fits a lot of wordplay in his fast pace flow.
With eight songs spanning over 24 minutes, Sinatra sounds like he is having a good time on each track. There are skits, like a parody of Katt Williams’ stand-up routine about creative weed names in “Hotbox”. Featuring production from Jairo, Jay the 1st, Rowdy, Blakkat, and T2, each is able to compliment Sinatra’s laid-back delivery. If you decided to give “The Caged Mind of a Pothead” a listen, do not forget to bring some of the green stuff with you (responsibly, of course).