The Cannabis Trail Blazers Series: The Origins of OG Kush - Part II
In Part I of the Origins of OG Kush in our Beard Bros. Pharms Cannabis Trail Blazers Series we introduced you to Josh D and his story about how the legendary OG Kush strain got to Southern California back in the mid-1990’s and absolutely blew up from there to the royalty it is today.
That crucial chapter of cannabis history has long been debated, but the weed world was not a very big place 20 years ago. Now that some of the key players from that era have started comparing their tight-held tales and timelines, some of the main pieces of the puzzle have begun snapping into place.
At the beginning of Part I we told you that we were actually starting in the middle of the saga, and at the end, we wondered where Matt “Bubba” Berger got the Florida-held genetics that were eventually brought out west - and that’s the story we have for you today.
This story, like everything rooted in weed, all began with a seed.
But let’s take it back to the beginning...
FAST TIMES IN POMPANO BEACH
For those of us who grew up in the 1980’s, the style and swag of Florida’s culture almost defined the decade. Fluorescent fashion, convertible cars, hot sunshine, and even hotter women provided the playground for America’s drug-fueled coming out party.
Picture Miami Vice, or, if you’re too young for that just imagine a real life version of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. This was Pompano Beach and South Florida in the 80’s and this is where we meet @origins_tk, a 13 year old grom pinching Krypto buds from his pops, skippin’ school, and surfing all day till the sun went down.
His story is full of intriguing details, many of which openly defy not only the laws at the time, but also the law of the land where he currently resides south of the border. So for his own safety, we will refer to him in this story as OTK.
Growing up in the Florida surfing scene, OTK began kicking it with an older neighbor who shared his passion for surfing and smoking. That neighb introduced OTK to a crew of older dudes that saw the young reefer-loving rebel as a welcome sidekick on their epic adventures.
They turned him on to the original Krypto bud from other surfers in Central Florida. He recalls rides in ragtop 4x4 jeeps full of high grade herb and hot women...and plenty of police chases through the hot, humid nights of the 1980’s.
For the next three years, high school became little more than an afterthought as OTK fell deeper into the surf life. He was instead inspired by riding waves and filming the older heads and local pros surfing the local pier on a good day, and blazing Crippy weed and rewatching the footage later that day in some of the older guys’ cribs.
By the age of 17, OTK was all in. He had left home and his surfing connections led him to bigger players in the local weed game. Before he knew it, OTK was scooping 10-20lbs at a pop from an English dude we will call The Governor.
Living a good life full of women, waves, and weed, OTK was shook back to reality after a bankrupting double robbery in 1990. His own roommate – the same dude that introduced him to the crew – was the perpetrator. After the first hit, OTK used all his spare cash to re-up and get back in the game… and then got setup again by the same asshole.
At this point, The Governor knew that OTK was in the game for the right reasons and he took the young baller under his wing. He brought OTK to the local grow op for the first time, a trip that would change the kid’s life, and perhaps cannabis history, forever.
The local grow was pretty basic by today’s standards, but was cutting edge and highly illegal at the time in Florida. It typically consisted of a 12-light setup and eventually began to incorporate tech we take for granted today, like DIY homemade trellis netting.
The entire process became known as ‘the blueprint’, and it’s thought that the original step-by-step plan was handed down to outlaw Florida growers by some really old school head from the Pacific Northwest.
OTK saw the bigger picture immediately and later that same year he took an all-expense-paid trip to Amsterdam for the ultimate international pheno hunt with plans to bring the world’s best genetics back to Central Florida.
Now, the weed that OTK and his crew were dealing with back home in those days was arguably as good as it got at the time. Strain names had not caught on yet, so the bomb ass weed in the region was usually given general adjectives and nicknames. Much like “Chronic” isn’t a certain strain, neither was “Crippy”. So, when the Kryptonite crew in Central Florida lost that strain to a major bust, Crippy/Krippy became a shorthand description for high grade weed sort of like “hydro” or “indo”.
In Amsterdam, OTK was having a hard time finding weed that could meet his own high standards when they came across Neville’s Seed Catalog. Again, the strain names within meant little to them, so they bought the entire catalog and OTK smuggled upwards of $10,000 worth of cannabis seeds back home to the U.S.
Remember, he’s barely 18 at this time, working for a crew that was installing ‘the blueprint’ in homes up and down the Florida coast. Things were getting heavy.
So, in 1990, he and the crew start popping packs from their massive seed bank, hoping to find the next big thing.
While testing various seeds in rockwool, OTK had sexed them out and separated some promising looking Hindu Kush seedlings that he had popped from the Neville score with hopes of hunting down a viable pheno to add to the operation.
He took a few of the Hindu testers and placed them just inside the doorway of a stacked flower room for safe keeping.
This room was packed to the gills with a funky, flavorful strain known at the time as Emerald Triangle – almost certainly a product of, and a call back to, the notoriously cannabis-rich culture that still thrives in Northern California.
Due to the way they jammed ‘the blueprint’ into small, residential spaces, there was really no way to access the center, edges, or back of the Emerald Triangle sea of green after about Week 3. You couldn’t even crawl in if you had to.
When it came time to harvest that room, the crew realized that one of the Hindu testers must have chucked some pollen and, to their dismay, there was scattered pollination throughout the room.
OTK took the blame for the mishap, even though he had been sure that no male plants were present. The entire episode made him focus on selling the seeded crop as quickly as possible to put it all behind him.
The buds were still dripping with shimmering trichomes and gushing with exotic aromas, and the seeding was not too prevalent. Overall, OTK estimates that they lost about five pounds of yield due to the error, but the remaining 30 pounds of weed sold out almost immediately in Florida’s black market.
ORBITS CROSS NEAR JUPITER (FL)
So, here we are in the early-to-mid 1990’s and this slightly seeded Emerald Triangle has flooded Florida.
This is right around the same point in time that Matt “Bubba” Berger, living in Florida at the time, came up on the genetics that would eventually become OG Kush back in Los Angeles just a few years later.
While digging deeper into the history of OG Kush, we were left with the question: Where did Matt Berger get the prized cut that he would later deliver to Josh D?
Well, as the story goes, some of that seeded weed was being broken up for a sesh one day at the home of OTK’s main customer in Orlando when a couple of healthy looking beans popped out onto the tray.
A dude named Alec has told a similar story to outlets like the Adam Dunn Show, stating that it was him that found an Emerald Triangle seed, though he referred to it as ‘Blue Triangle’.
The story goes that Alec kept the seed and grew it out. As luck would have it, a fresh cut clone of this newfound strain made its way back to that dude in Orlando who then passed it back to OTK in 1994.
At first, the strain would only yield about one ounce per plant, but OTK soon had it dialed in and it would become his go-to.
Again, strain names didn’t carry as much weight then as they do now, and were often changed by dealers to increase hype. But, OTK is very confident that those ‘Blue Triangle’ seeds from Alec’s story are from that 30lbs of seeded weed that hit the streets, essentially making them a crude cross of Hindu Kush x Emerald Triangle.
Around this same time, The Governor got nailed by law enforcement and did four years behind bars before eventually being deported back to the UK.
Throughout 1995-96 OTK kicked in tens of thousands of dollars to help his friend and mentor with legal fees. Unfortunately, the pressure of the situation got to the Gov and he started singing to investigators. His loose lips led to legal problems for several of the key players in OTK’s crew, including their ringleader who was forced to go on the run from authorities and was later apprehended and forced to serve a long federal prison sentence.
To this day, The Governor has never been heard from again.
By then, OTK had already parted ways with his original crew, many of whom had fallen victim to the raging War on Drugs.
He was pumping out big weight, mostly of his killer new hypebeast that was being loosely referred to as ‘The Triangle’, or even simpler, ‘The Tri’. His main clientele were surfers and wakeboarders but he was admittedly completely unaware of the waves that the genetics were making on the other side of the country thanks to Matt Berger and Josh D.
In 1998, OTK moved to Melbourne, Florida. For the next decade, he was growing outstanding Triangle, surfing every chance he got, and just loving life in general while ducking both cops and robbers every step of the way.
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ WARRANT
One day in 2010, OTK was chilling in his front yard in Melbourne when two ordinary looking men approached him, taking him to the ground to kickoff what would become the worst day of his life.
Restrained in his own driveway, OTK (and the entire neighborhood) watched as federal law enforcement officers gutted his house, including his own grow. Flowering plants were chopped and laid out before him in front of the house while live trays of cuts and hard earned genetics were confiscated intact and carried away.
His demands for a warrant fell on deaf ears as the search continued. This breach of his rights could have potentially gotten state charges tossed out, but the Feds don’t fuck around and OTK eventually found himself serving a two year sentence.
Between his probation, pre-sentencing, and the time he did behind bars, a four year window elapsed where OTK couldn’t have anything to do with growing or smoking weed.
Many parole officers would force a person in his situation to go get a menial job at a fast food restaurant or something to keep them out of trouble, but OTK was an aspiring artist and was able to turn that passion into a full time job creating jaw dropping hand painted seascapes and selling them at local art shows and fairs.
This creative outlet really helped him through a very rough time in his life.
Being stripped of his freedom was painful enough, but when that raid was over, so too was the legacy of the Triangle in OTK’s mind.
Little did he know how beneficial an accidentally seeded crop would prove to be for years to come.
LAYING BACK IN THE CUT
Today, OTK is a free man. He has bounced out of the U.S. and lives an ideal life south of the border riding waves and laying low.
With the rise of social media, and the fall of social stigmas, many old school heads have resurfaced to tell their own war stories, and OTK has, until very recently, been fine with hanging back in the shadows and observing.
He saw the popularity of a strain called Triangle Kush and was instantly intrigued.
When he started studying the history behind OG Kush, his research led him to Josh D.
He and Josh have a friend in common who is known on Instagram as @miami.mango
Mango grew up with OTK back in Florida, and once he started doing the math and overlaying his and OTK’s timeline with that of Josh and Berger’s, it all started to click.
As with most legendary strains, stories swirled about the origins of Triangle Kush, but as is often the case, few were grounded in any sort of reality. That’s when Mango decided to out his old friend on an Instagram post, revealing to the world that the likely creator of The Triangle was not only alive and well, but was ready to tell his version of events.
All of this has gone down just in the past 2-3 months, including the formation of the @origins_tk Instagram account.
In that time, OTK has been able to make a trip north to California where he got to meet face to face with Josh D, and got to see Josh D’s foundational OG Kush, and his Skunk Master Flex version of Triangle Kush, both just prior to harvest.
At that time, when inspected side by side, the OG and the TK looked almost identical – further cementing the case that they could have originally been one and the same.
Shortly after OTK returned home, however, Josh informed him that the two had begun to show some pretty distinct differences. Most noticeably, the TK appeared to be finishing a bit faster and was showing a pointier crown when compared to the rounder tops on the OG plants.
Still, OTK is sitting on a pine-fuel stank filled jar of Josh D’s properly cured OG Kush flowers and he says it’s like a trip back in time to the Tri he remembers so well.
VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
There are certainly doubters to this story.
Many people are quick to say that they have grown both, and that they have nothing in common.
To that, OTK points out that back in the 80’s and 90’s in Florida, there was a very distinct difference in bud structure and overall quality depending on if you harvested in the hot, humid summer, or in the more temperate winter. Same strain, same room, vastly different results.
He also points to the sheer amount of time that has transpired since those glory days, and how many hands have touched both The Triangle and OG Kush. Different growing environments, trait selection, and standard procedures over decades of prohibition could have certainly altered the two lines enough to create some confusion.
Nobody knows how many of those accidental Emerald Triangle x Hindu Kush seeds made it into circulation, but we know that some did.
We also know that cuts of the same cross were making their way around Florida around 1994 when we catch up to Matt Berger’s role in this story.
These timelines, along with the endorsement of OTK’s version of events by Josh D, has us fairly confident that we have found the true roots of OG Kush.
A lot of people have made a lot of money off of The Triangle, The Tri, Triangle Kush, or any of its seemingly infinite number of crosses and hybrids over the past 25+ years.
For a very cool guy with a very cool story, one of the coolest things about OTK is the fact that he isn’t looking for a penny for his part in the provenance of the strain. Hell, until his buddy Mango shouted him out, he was perfectly happy keeping ten toes in the ocean and his larger-than-life story to himself.
He is well aware that he lost the cut in 2010 and that if not for the ongoing work by crews like the Swamp Boys, Skunk Master Flex, Jungle Boys, csi-Humboldt, Seedjunkies, Bread House, and others, the terps and the lore behind them could have been gone forever.
The best part is, this story isn’t over.
As more influential Cannabis Trail Blazers like Josh D and OTK put out the real truth, Beard Bros. Pharms will be here to lay it all out for the true connoisseurs.
For now, we’ve got our sights set on @miami.mango … we hear he has a story to tell