Cannabis and music share a long and passionate history together, and Solomon Oyeyemi is on a mission to infuse that feeling into new products he’s introducing to Ohio medical marijuana patients. Group Sounds Edibles and Green Ideas and Wellness Ohio recently debuted their first offering: medicinal cannabis hazelnut truffles that patients can pick up at dispensaries around the state.
Hip Hop to Natural Health
Group Sounds Edibles and Green Ideas and Wellness Ohio (GS&GIW Ohio LLC) Chief Operations Officer and Co-CEO Solomon Oyeyemi reflected on his path from the hip hop music world to a career in advocacy, education, and making and marketing wellness products.
Music, Legalization out West
Born and raised in Dayton, Oyeyemi moved to San Francisco in the early 2000s to pursue a career as a hip hop artist. Picked up by a German label with worldwide distribution, this time in Solomon’s life gave him a front row seat to both the evolving music scene and the rumblings of cannabis legalization on the West coast.
Solomon recalls, “That was the very beginning of medicinal cannabis in California, Proposition 215. So going in there and seeing how the legislation changed and seeing how the climate changed with medicinal dispensaries and cannabis cards gave me an idea of where Ohio was [eventually] going with it.”
His day job as a San Francisco General Hospital youth counselor at a level 14 locked facility, he observed that kids would transition into independent living, or, if they weren’t so lucky, into the jail system. The job fostered a passion in Solomon to guide people to places where they could end up in a better position in life.
Back to Ohio: Family and Friends
Like a lot of Ohioans, Oyeyemi was called back to the Midwest when meeting his wife and starting a family. Settling and raising children now in the Cincinnati area, it was his local hip hop music family that led him to develop his career interests further in the entertainment realm. “A group that I was with was called Universal Dialect from Dayton, Ohio, but we were part of a bigger collective called Wanna Battle from Cincinnati.”
Notable members of the collective included DJ Hi-Tek and Talib Kweli, part of a group called Blackstar. In 2020, Kweli invited Oyeyemi on what many would consider a dream opportunity–joining Dave Chapelle’s Summer Camp.
Having already known Chappelle from Dayton and the local music scene, Solomon was interested but cautious due to Coronavirus. “At the beginning of the pandemic, Talib said, ‘Hey, we’re here in Yellow Springs and Dave is starting to put together some different things, like some shows…they had everything set up for COVID tests. We had a bubble. And Hollywood ended up coming to Ohio. It was just a great time and a lot of those friendships that we all made, they’re just going strong. And it’s almost like the Avengers, leaving out and then forming up for our own little secret adventures here and there.”
One of the partnerships Oyeyemi formed via Summer Camp was with Jarobi White, founding member of A Tribe Called Quest. White left the band at the pinnacle of their success to pursue a culinary career. In Chicago, Oyeyemi joined White and Childhood friend Ty Fujimura to offer a show and infused dinner prepared by White. The success of the first event “Trinity Social Club” led to six more, and earned the team a reputation as a tastemaker event.
Green Ideas and Wellness & Afolabi’s African Sorrel Herbal Tea
As part of his Ohio advocacy, Oyeyemi began hosting his Green Ideas & Wellness talk show, and began developing Green Ideas & Wellness into a brand that focuses on wellness products, marketing, advocacy, and education. His first offering under GI&W, Afolabi’s African Sorrel Herbal Tea, helped him learn the transition from hip hop music marketing to product marketing. The organic hibiscus tea blend of African Sorrel, rose hips, and citrus aromatics were a great fit for his brand in collaboration with Bruetta Tea(distribution).
Oyeyemi wanted to get involved as soon as he learned that Ohio would legalize cannabis for medical use. “It’s kind of like the light bulb went off. I knew I wasn’t wrong when it came to understanding what the plant really is used for, what it does, how it helps, how it heals, as well as financially, how it can change people’s lives and perspectives.”
Connecting in Ohio’s Cannabis Industry
He connected first with the Reverend Damon Lynch, owner of Have a Heart Cincinnati (since bought by Zen Leaf). “We actually had an office in the basement of his church and it was called Sesh. And it was kind of like the minority conglomerate of different people that were trying to get into the cannabis space or were already doing things in the cannabis space.”
Rev. Lynch’s group led to meeting more Ohio cannabis advocates and co-founding a non-profit organization called Cannabis Can. Through his advocacy work, Solomon made key connections with the team at BeneLeaves, a Columbus-based standalone processor and white labeler.
Developing the Truffles: Michelin-star pastry chef
The truffle came about due to another of Solomon’s connections, childhood friend Ty Fujimura. The two went to boarding school together at Culver Military Academy in Indiana. The events that Solomon’s entertainment group were co-producing in Chicago with Fujimura involved a seven-course infused meal finished with a dessert made by Michelin-star pastry chef Jared Bacheller. The delectably-infused bon-bon Bacheller concocted was reengineered as a truffle, and GroupSounds Edibles were born.
Also a DJ and entertainment entrepreneur, Fujimura and Oyeyemi were foremost friends and felt like if they could work together, it would give them a chance to spend more time together. GroupSounds was a concept that Fujimura and his brother had. “When it started, it kind of segwayed into… if we’re going to do something in Ohio, let’s go ahead and form our company correctly so that we can really put out the products correctly. So we kept the GroupSounds name, and we also have the Green Ideas and Wellness name on the label. It’s a collaboration.” This also was a collaboration between minority owned companies that have minimal ownership in the Cannabis Industry.
GroupSounds Hazelnut Truffles
White label partner BeneLeaves began producing the first GroupSounds Hazelnut Truffles earlier this year and they are now available in Ohio dispensaries. The plastic canister contains five hazelnut truffles,containing 100 milligram THC and 200 milligram CBD total, which breaks down to 20 milligrams of THC and 40 milligrams of CBD in each truffle. The truffles are described as “small batch, hand-rolled, dark chocolate truffles with chocolate ganache filling.”
Also in partnership with BeneLeaves, GS&GIW Ohio LLC will soon offer another product to Ohioans, a real fruit Yuzu and Ginger chew with 100mg THC and 200 mg CBD.
Medical marijuana patients can order GroupSounds Hazelnut Truffles at Rise Dispensary, Harvest of Ohio, Terrasana Cannabis, Bloom Medicinals, Sunnyside Dispensaries, Amplify Dispensary and Verdant Creations. If you’d like to see GroupSounds Hazelnut Truffles at a different dispensary, patients can request their management coordinate to order them at firstname.lastname@example.org or via leaf link for dispensary buyers.