“Dude, George Washington grew hemp!” has become a modern cliche, used to invoke visions of smelly “pot” rally types getting in your face with this over-hyped nugget of information. Hempilation 2 (like its predecessor) gives the legalization army a much better weapon than that. Twenty star-studded tracks, some covers, some original, but all marijuana-themed, make up this “doper’s” delight, with proceeds to benefit NORML — the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. Actually, you don’t have to be a “smoker” to enjoy this collection. The accent is on roots rock, with cuts from acts like From Good Homes, Freddy Jones Band, and Dar Williams, but there’s also turns from Willie Nelson (of course!), Vic Chesnutt, and Letters to Cleo, to name but a few unexpected acts.
High points on here include Wayne Kramer’s latino-soul (!?) on “If You’re a Viper,” Spearhead’s disquieting “The Joker,” and best of all, the Long Beach Dub All Stars with Barrington Levy and their “Under Mi Sensi” and Big Sugar’s “Let Me Roll It” (yes, the McCartney song), both of which borrow heavily from dub and reggae for a true tropical “baked” feel. The success of the first Hempilation (which sold over 100,000 copies, monumental for a benefit album) was well-deserved, and Capricorn hasn’t skimped on the sequel, mixing a great collection of “dope” smoking songs and artists for something that’s definitely more than the musical equivalent of “George Washington grew hemp!”