Donnell Alexander is a journalist, author, and storyteller known for his wide array of expertise, with particular focus on cannabis, hip hop, and sports. His West Coast Sojourn Substack newsletter covers the heights of his Left Coast nation’s sports and culture each Monday. 

Donnell Alexander in 1991 (C) Mark Thalman

Who Is Journalist And Storyteller Donnell Alexander?

Alexander’s works include his memoir Ghetto Celebrity: Searching For My Father In Me, several short films, and contributions to publications such as Rolling Stone, Leafly, and Jezebel. He has also been featured by TIME, NPR, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story, and the Los Angeles Times Review of Books. From 2018 to 2020, he wrote and produced for WeedWeek, interviewing some of the cannabis industry’s most prominent players through articles and podcasts. He is the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s 2023 winner for In-Depth Reporting (Small Outlet Division). 

Donnell Alexander at the Weedy Awards (C) Catherine Eng

Donnell Alexander's Persistence Of Memory Weedsday Playlist

For his Weedsday Playlist, Donnell Alexander examines the persistence of memory. He says, “During the shutdown of 2020-2021, I took four super intentional psilocybin journeys and tricked out my relationship with memory. That’s what this mix is about, memory and time. But also, leaving Los Angeles, which has been the major event of my big post-pandemic life.”

Dionne Farris And Charlie Hunter - "Always Something There To Remind Me"

An exquisitely soulful cover, featuring one of my very favorite guitar players. Originators and popularizers Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, Naked Eyes, they all bleed through here as Hunter’s hella bluesy rearrangement of the tune allows Farris to soar like nobody’s business. Coming out of those four lockdown-era mushroom journeys, this was my a.m. wake-up soundtrack opener.

Click here to play on Spotify!

SIR Featuring Westside Boogie - "Rapper Weed"

This is a shutdown-era favorite of mine: World-class chill driving music that all-but insists: Burn one. SIR is modern and old-school at the same time. And whenever you hear new-ish R&B that’s actually surviving the Drake-ification of that genre? It’s an added bonus. And when Sir croons “Sunset in my rear view as the night falls”? I say Sunset. Because L.A.

Click here to play on Spotify!

Al Green - "Simply Beautiful"

Al Green’s otherworldly yet deeply soulful vocals are fantastic enough in themselves that he could be singing about anything and captivate our ears. Thing is, this future minister is lending his gossamer flights to the kinda love paean that no mere human could live up to. Lovely, lovely song. Kinda strange though if you think too deep. 

Click here to play on Spotify!

The Conscious Daughters - "Somethin' To Ride To (Fonky Expedition)"

I’m working on a book about West Coast hip hop that’s concerned with some all but forgotten artists and moments. The Conscious Daughters are a long-shot candidate to make the cut. Political rapper Paris put on [the duo of Carla "CMG" Green] and [Karryl "Special One" Smith] (R.I.P.) from East Oakland, back in like 1993. “Fonky Expedition,”a four-and-a-half-minute document of the duo blowin’ trees and mobbin’ around The Town, was The Conscious Daughters’ boombox and BET moment. I adore the way they trade verses and swing their lines, old-school. 

Click here to play on Spotify!

Fishbone - "Cubicle"

How about a little sativa energy to wrap up this Indica sampler? In spring, my all-time favorite band put out their best new music of maybe this century, and my favorite track validates my life choices. “Cubicle” is a double time, horn-driven bit of 21st-century ska whose lyrics mock those humans who do a lifetime of dull jobs for money. The breakneck track would be courting snottiness were it not for the recurring lamentation, “I could have had it all, if I had just learned to keep my mouth shut.”

Click here to play on Spotify!

For more about Donnell Alexander, join the West Coast Sojourn Substack newsletter, and follow @donnyshell on Instagram.

What are your favorite Weedsday tracks? Tell us about them - reach out at @honeysucklemagazine on Instagram and @HoneysuckleMag on Twitter!

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Donnell Alexander

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Featured image: Donnell Alexander (C) Brian Feinzimer @bri.fei