Chem Dawg to the rescue

East Bay collective Kings of Destruction gets into graffiti, hip-hop, and medical marijuana advocacy

Kings of Destruction reps its strain-based clothing line on the Guardian roof.

HERBWISE The Kings of Destruction, more popularly known as KOD, were an hour and a half late for our interview. Being that the hip-hop-graff-clothing-medical-marijuana-advocacy collective is from the East Bay and we had arranged to meet at the Guardian Potrero Hill office, I figured I'd better look for them.

I didn't have to go far: all five of the group's members who had stopped by were sitting amid SF political activists in the Guardian conference room, mistakenly ensconced in a discussion of the new supervisoral district lines. They'd introduced themselves along with everyone else, but then faltered when the meeting's facilitator asked to what he owed the pleasure of having Oakland residents at the table.

All good. Soon enough I have Dogz One, Lil' Zane, Josh, Tase 1, and Don Juan assembled on the roof standing around a picnic table and talking about marijuana. They've brought some of their products for show 'n' tell; t-shirts emblazoned with characters culled from local marijuana strains. They've brought Grape Ape, a gorilla pulling on a joint with a purple berry-emblazoned baseball hat. Another shirt features Chem Dawg, a husky that figures in an upcoming KOD comic book in which the character (Dogz One is his alter-ego) will fight the government's attempts to keep marijuana from the people. Pending designs include Girl Scouts Cookies, which will feature a woman wearing a midriff-bearing scout uniform in honor of the SF-specific strain rumored to smell of pastries (those buds available locally at the Green Door dispensary).

Kings of Destruction started out as a graffiti crew, and though members still throw up pieces on walls occasionally ("go down around the train tracks, you'll see some things," counsels Don Juan) now its focus is on -- state -- legal activities: music, clothing, and the catalyst for this interview, advocating for medical marijuana. Though I'm unable to hear samples of the tracks before press time, the group tells me members have been in the studio laying down tracks about their medicine, and they hope to join this spring's Prohibition Tour (, a California college event series that plans to raise awareness among students this spring with lectures and musical performances.

"Oakland has been on the forefront of the medical marijuana movement, so we're trying to keep everything alive so that everyone can keep their medicine," says Don Juan. Many in the group are patients and growers themselves who naturally find themselves in the activist role around friends and family who don't use weed.

KOD sees marijuana as a healthy alternative to pharmaceuticals — many of which have adversely affected friends' lives in their East Bay community. A prime example is bo, as the promethazine-codeine cough syrup that figures prominently in Bay Area hip-hop these days is popularly called. Compared to the dangers of that kind of drug, KOD members say, the federal government's resistance to legalizing marijuana seems foolish. Not that there aren't side effects of marijuana: "You might get a little hungry, might go to sleep," says Don Juan. "You might just lay back instead of getting mad when somebody cusses you out," adds Tase 1.

In closing, I ask KOD to tell me a story about the group and marijuana. They give each other looks and chuckle. Finally Tase 1 steps up to the plate. "One time, we were going to do something bad. And then we smoked some weed." 

Find KOD clothing at



I guess these guys are a bunch of clowns none of them had anything important to say or even show. what so called rapper doesn't carry thier music with them? It seems to me that they were just promoting thier crappy shirts.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

jesus loves all sinners

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

you should just smoke and relax..

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

its people like you that really hold the movement back, if you was not so ignorant would would see that kod is pushing mmj strains to the public . get your head out the sand or better yet out your ass!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 25, 2012 @ 12:27 am


Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 12:00 am

love the shirts yall are the best! haters gonna hate let um

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 12:22 am

Facebook love! Yeeeeeeeeeeeeah legalize it!! superior quote at the end ^_^ for really!!<3

Posted by TRAINWRECKHARRIS on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 12:55 am

Love the shirts, get straight to the point, girl or boy can rock them, no confusion as to what message it's sending. Ak47 is sick!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 1:17 am

Underdogs on the rise.. good people.. i rock my KOD gear...See yall at the top.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 4:21 am

Good on these guys for getting out there and being advocates for the people of the medical cannabis community who are otherwise too sick to stand up against there government.

Cannabis IS a medicine!

Posted by William Rea on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

one thing I've learned...when you believe in it, and want something, you gotta get up and get it... regardless of what anyone says you guys are doing something, so keep up the good work! :]

Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 4:13 pm


Posted by Guest on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

I can't wait til the comic book comes out!! Super excited!! that's too bad the journalist wasn't able to hear any of the music iv'e actually heard a few tracks and I would have to say the team is quite talented each member with their own style. They approach topics many of our youth deal with today and lead them towards a positive path. In my opinion the style is mad fly they have major swagger, I hope to see and hear more of these guys and more upcoming bayarea artist. Shout out to KOD clothing!! I love my Chem dawg shirt!! Jah love, Jah bless!! Legalize It!!

Posted by Rastafari Movement on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

You guys are the truth!!!!!! Eff the haterz when ppl hate on you it meanz your doin something right. Keep pushin out the music and the t shirts were all loving them :)

Posted by Piny Amore on Jan. 20, 2012 @ 8:06 pm

oakland stand up!! keep doing your thang pay no attention to them haters

Posted by Oakland native on Jan. 21, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

Kod i fux wid em!At the beach wit tha sand wit my Chem Dawg sHIRT ON!!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 21, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

Dude! push strain designs, I guess there not ready for yall, I see yall MMJ

Posted by Rasta Monsta on Feb. 25, 2012 @ 12:31 am

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