A pitch letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda ends up on a hip hop record.

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If you look at many of the top tracks and on the Billboard charts, you’ll notice most of the subject matter deals with love, partying, or inhabiting Chris Brown’s body. So, I could not help but be completely surprised, dazed, almost confused, when I found out that an album featuring my scolding rap on cannabis legalization had hit not one, but eight different Billboard Charts, including the numero uno (#1) on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, #9 on Rap Charts, and #11 on Independent Charts.

The album, The Whoodlum Ball, was produced by Smith & Hay, DJ Whoo Kid, and Ranna Royce. It features big-name rappers, cool up-and-comers and O.G.’s like Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Inspectah Deck, Twista, Lil Windex, Riff Raff, and Parliament-Funkadelic’s Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey.

So, how did I, a humble cannabis writer, get on this chart-topping record?


The Backstory

It all started in my shower. 

I had recently seen famed playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda deliver a spot-on performance explaining Puerto Rico’s debt crisis on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and thought: This guy would make for a great interview and could definitely add value to my book on cannabis business for Entrepreneur, which I was writing at the time.

I knew it would be hard to get him to talk about cannabis, even from a medical perspective. So I tried to get creative with my pitch. Over a longer-than-usual shower, I came up with a poem, a rendition of one of Lin-Manuel’s own, to send him:

Yo, Lin. Allow me to use your “ritmo,”

To talk cannabis legalization.

Let me tell you about the Washingtons that could fund education.

We could create a lot of wealth for every state in our great Nation,

A multiple billion-dollar basis of new taxation.

After about 15 minutes I had an entire song. I wrote it all down as soon as I got out of the shower.

Then I sent the whole, 300-word poem to Lin-Manuel’s team. Let’s just say the response was not what I hoped:

“Regrettably, due to his work schedule, he is unavailable for an interview at this time.  I’ll be in touch should his schedule change.”

Related: 4 Actions to Help You Recover From a Crushed Dream

Disappointed? Yes, but I still cherished the poem. It was fun writing it. I even laughed to myself thinking of some parts – like “The great debate over morals has to wait / That’s Bubba telling Forest about shrimp on Judgment Day.”


The Record Deal

Fast forward to early April of 2018 – almost a year after that long shower. I’m in Pittsburgh at the World Medical Cannabis Conference and Expo, presenting my book with Entrepreneur: Start Your Own Cannabis Business: Your Step-By-Step Guide to the Marijuana Industry.

I decide to show the rap to a Senator friend–who will remain nameless. He suggests I perform it at a dinner cruise in front of 300 people later that night. At first hesitant and a bit embarrassed, I do it anyway.

A few days later, music producer Jonathan Hay sees a video of my performance and gives me a call. “Hey dude just saw your spoken-word,” he says. “I want to put it, as is, live, on an album I’m doing with DJ Whoo Kid, Ranna Royce, Twista, RZA and a bunch of other cool artists including some from Eminem’s posse.”

I told him I was in.

The album debuted a few weeks ago and quickly hit several Billboard Charts.

Lesson learned: Good friends will help you get heard. Authentic relationships will help you achieve your goals.

Related: Relationships Are Currency


The Final Cut

In case you’re wondering, here are the full lyrics to my track “Stop the Madness.”

Yo, peers. Allow me to drop some “ritmo,”

Talk cannabis legalization.

Let me tell you about the Washingtons that could fund education.

We could create a lot of wealth for every state in our great Nation,

A multiple billion-dollar basis of new taxation.

Hoping to God Jeff Sessions’ tragic misinformation

Does not confuse the Congress, which needs to pass legislation,

Ending with fratricidal tax burdens on medication.

I care about the stoners, but this is really about the patients.

This is a topic we refuse to ignore,

The opioid epidemic hitting home is real hardcore.

We got here at the cost of a million tombstones,

Leaving cartels to business, while damming the good souls.

They’ve locked up yours? They’ve locked up mine.

But somewhere down the line

We decided: if you’re white, you’ll get off with a simple fine.

The great debate over morals has to wait.

That’s Bubba telling Forest about shrimp on Judgment Day.

We need to be pragmatic and focus on what matters.

We’ve got Veterans, kids and mothers, patients going down the gutters

What about taxes? And what about the jobs?

We need to make weed legal, it is time to cut the loss.

To recap: 3.2 hundred million

American civilians are missing out on billions.

Booze, tobacco, pharma and prisons are leading this grand shakeout,

There’s nothing left to say or do. We’re done. We want a bill out!

It’s time to close the fracture, weed is not the malefactor.

We can’t just let it play out.

For some, death is less that a year out.

It’s non-partisan.

The hard part is in convincing Congress legalization matters

So their hearts get in the fight.

Not to get high.

But for relief.

A belief that there’s a leaf that can help millions ease their grief.

Sean Spicer, I’ll agree with your alternative “facts,”

I’ll play board-games with the Kushners, I’ll wear a Trump campaign hat.

Our citizens are suffering. Stop the Madness, it’s just pot.

Help our patients, all that’s needed is ONE law.

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