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Stoner Owner: Midzotics Matt Shotwell

“I just smoked some DMT, and my entire marketing campaign clicked in my mind..."

Josh Monthei

Meet the Midz God

We’re tearing down the two-lane highway that carves through the wetland stretch between Vallejo and Sebastopol, slicing through the dark, sticky night like scissors trimming sugar leaves. The engine whines at a high pitch as we fly past blackened silhouetted landscapes, reclining in bucket seats mere inches above the ground. How fast are we going? It feels like 1,000,000.

I glance over at the driver, who’s talking at breakneck pace without diverting his gaze from the unfurling blacktop, gripping the wheel tightly in his Wonder Bread NASCAR uniform.

“Dude, I like how you drive,” I say. “You push it to the limit.”

I peer through the dark at the dash, squinting to make out the odometer reading. We must be breaking multiple traffic laws at this pace. My eyes find the correct dial. We’re only going 65 miles per hour. 

I suddenly remember we’re in a Geo Metro. 

“Its full street name is the Lambo Metro Geo Ghini,” said Matt Shotwell, legendary trapper and owner of Midzotics, one of the most memorable flower brands in California Cannabis. Shotwell feels immense pride in the trusty steel steed carrying us through the night. “Its government name is the Chevy Geo Metro, the most midz car in America. That’s why I chose to make it my brand car. At least that’s the marketing pitch. But really, I’ve had five of these cars. ‘I made a million in a Metro’ is what I like to say.”

The fact that Shotwell took a Geo Metro, with its 55-horsepower inline 3-cylinder engine, and decked it out with bucket seats, a sweet paint job and Lamborghini-style scissor doors, tells you everything you need to know about his approach to life. Well, almost everything. 

MidZotics Matt Shotwell
Josh Monthei

Before the Midzness

Shotwell opened his first dispensary back in 2010 in the waning heyday of the Prop 215 era after a couple of years slanging weed via Craigslist in a different Geo Metro – with a printer, scanner and power converter in the back. It was a move that came on the heels of his father and sister both undergoing treatment for cancer, when he stepped up to become their medical Cannabis supplier. 

Before that? He was a Merchant Marine Officer and Cargo Ship Navigator, which was his career after graduating from the Vallejo-based California Maritime Academy. 

That’s correct. The man in the pimped-out Metro is an expert in global shipping routes and logistics, and has military training in conducting open-ocean water rescue operations as a rescue swimmer. 

“It’s arguably in the top three hardest trainings you could do in the military,” Shotwell said. “Navy Seals being number one, pilots being number two, then search and rescue swimmers, number three. That’s why this shit is easy for me on a weekday. These (weak asses) are tired and want to quit. I’m like, have you ever almost drowned? Get back in the fucking grow room.”

MidZotics Matt Shotwell
Josh Monthei

The Midz God Emerges

After years of growing his business in cultivation and distribution, Shotwell had an epiphany. 

“I was meditating one morning, talking to Jesus,” he said. “I just smoked some DMT, and I got a download from Jesus, from the universe, from Source. And my entire marketing campaign clicked in my mind. I knew clear as day every single thing that I was gonna do, instantly.”

See, when Shotwell was younger he and his brother used to freestyle rap, and goofed on the idea that he was Slim Shotty, in a send up of Eminem’s character Slim Shady. Flash forward to Shotwell’s DMT trip, and Eminem and Machinegun Kelly were in the press for a beef that resulted in the release of fire diss tracks: Eminem with “Rap God” and MGK with “Rap Devil.” 

“So the instant download was like, I’m gonna impersonate Eminem, I’m gonna impersonate MGK, and I’m gonna rewrite both of their songs like Weird Al Yankovic would do,” he said. “But I’m gonna make them battle each other in my own manufactured weed war rapper beef, where I talk shit about myself to myself.”

He recorded a parody of Eminem’s Machinegun Kelly diss track, “Rap God,” called “Midz God” – and it got picked up by Worldstar. A midz monster was born. 

Next, he set aside the beef for a moment and took aim at Riff Raff – the Florida-based rapper who bears a striking, allegedly not-coincidental resemblance to James Franco’s character in “Spring Breakers.” 

“I got in full character, bought all this merch online and then I reached out to his management on his email and I said, ‘I want to do a music video with Riff Raff,’” he said. Riff Raff’s management told Shotwell that the rapper doesn’t love the idea of being impersonated. 

“I was like, ‘Well, I’m gonna do it with or without you guys, so you can get in my sandbox and play if you want to – I’m just gonna do it either way. It’s already done,’” he said. “So then Riff counters with an even more genius idea. He saw my midz genius, and he proposed, ‘What if we make a brand-new song, a song about your brand and I produce it on my label, and I rap it and you get to be featured in it?’ And I was like, ‘Whoa, now we’re talking next level.’”

The pair dropped a track and a video for “Smokin’ on MiDZOTiCS,” and released it on Riff’s JodyHighRoller YouTube channel. To date, the video has nearly a quarter million views. Then Riff took Shotwell on a state-wide California tour from Humboldt to Hollywood, booking daytime dispensary meet-and-greets to promote Boysenberry Bobcat, Riff’s own strain he produced with Shotwell under the label Riffzotics, and the two performed together at sold-out shows at night. 

“My name was on the fucking bus,” Shotwell said. “They wrapped the whole bus and my name’s on the back of the bus, ‘Shotty,’ right there. Done.”

MidZotics Matt Shotwell
Josh Monthei

Midzmarketing Master

Though his outward persona seems absolutely bonkers, every move Shotwell makes is meticulously planned to serve the marketing of his brand. He’s about to launch an entire line of products with Riff Raff, who will be coming to NorCal for a show to promote the drop in May (date and venue was still TBD at the date of printing).  

He also just dropped his second video in the rap beef project, a parody of the MGK diss track “Rap Devil,” called “Midz Devil.” For the shoot, Shotwell underwent a complete transformation – bleaching his hair and cutting his trademark mullet, and covering his torso and arms with temporary tattoos he had custom-made specifically for the shoot more than a year ago (See behind the scenes pictures and footage on IG at @californialeafmag). 

The shot-for-shot video remake shows the rehearsed rap flow and the pure pro approach Shotwell and his team take to his projects. No official word on what he has up his sleeve next, but he did hint that his next “midzpersonation” would be Jack Harlow. As we tear past the Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, he comments that he wants to race his collection of Geo Metros there for a video shoot someday. 

One thing’s for certain, whatever the self-proclaimed Weed Al Dank-O-Midz decides to do next, it’s going to be entertaining … and midz as fuck. 

Website: midzotics.com

Insta: @midzotics

About Tom Bowers

Tom Bowers is in this with all of you.

This article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of California Leaf.

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