Story by Steve Bloom
On April 27, High Times received the following e-mail from a man named Michael S. Copeland. The subject read: “Plant in Iraq.”
I have a friend over in Iraq fighting the war. Friends and family keep in touch with him via the guestbook at dankmobb.com. Well, his last post was a cool photo of a plant he found growing in Iraq. You can see Carlos Arellano kneeling next to the plant with his full gear on, including his M-16. The photo is here [attached to the e-mail]. Please let me know if you want to publish it.
The photo in question showed an American soldier in camouflage uniform, with a bandanna on his head and an M-16 dangling from his waist, crouching next to a relatively small marijuana plant. He was not quite smiling, but a glint in his eyes indicated that he was familiar with the plant.
The photo immediately set off shock waves in the office. Here was a soldier who decided to have this photo taken while on patrol in Baghdad. Who was he and what exactly was he trying to say?
I called Michael Copeland, who explained that his friend Carlos Arellano was also a rapper named Singe. “He’s very artistic,” Copeland said. “He has lots of tattoos. At raves, he’d tell a story as he was dancing. He’s very poetic, like Tupac.”
Copeland is married and lives in Illinois, but before he met his wife and settled down, he became friends with Singe. They lived in Antioch, Calif. “It’s something we did all the time,” Copeland said about their pot-smoking. “It’s the California lifestyle. It’s a way of life there, I guess. There’s nothing wrong with it. It shouldn’t be illegal. It’s something we did all the time.”
Last year, Singe released a CD, The Epidemic, on his independent label, StashBox Records. The cover features a bong, some weed, a blunt, several lines of coke, a drink in hand, a pot-leaf hat, and bags marked “Anthrax” and “S.A.R.S.” It’s a dark album that includes such pro-military tracks as “FTT” (“Fuck the Taliban”) and “Jacket Full of Metal.” On “Life,” Singe—whose baritone flow sounds like Ice-T—raps: “Sometimes I want to kill, but instead I just cry / I’m the guy back in school cutting class and getting high.”