Cypress Hill is the shit. They are A Tribe Called Quest's evil twin. Drawing membership from both coasts, vocalists B Real and Sen Dog run the most frightening, hilarious, and intelligent quasi-ganster lyrics in the field while producer DJ Muggs lays down album-length urban hallucinations packed with break beats, dirty bass lines, blues guitar twangs, nameless noises, crazed horns and the occasional sample of carousel music. Put all these sounds together and you have an amazing journey into the world of b-boys who, despite their best efforts to chill out with a blunt, are taken to the edge by suckas and perpetrators. At that point there's "Vatos rollin' up and they're stickin' out the flag, he jumps out with a sag 'hey where ya from, holmes?' it's on, he sees him reachin' for his chrome. Buck shot to the dome, jumps in the roam, honey's in the back but she just wants to go home. But he dips to the store, homeboy needs a forty, white boy at the counter's thinkin' oh lordy lordy. Pushin' on the button, panickin' for nothin', pigs on the way yo he smells bacon."
Buy that shit, strap on the headphones and loop the whole record until you're signing "Look at alla those funeral cars, cuz of my sawed off shotgun, hand on the pump, lift another forty, puffin' on a blunt...pump my shotgun...la la la la la la la la laaaa," and bobbing your head to a sample from "Duke of Earl." You must realize that all current hip hop in come way emanates from the musical influences of Cypress Hill. They are important. They are intelligent. They just want to get high and stay high while cranking out their records with a simple four track and a stack of old records. Just how many different ways can B Real get high and threaten you with a whole arsenal of weaponry? It doesn't matter as long as he keeps telling witty stories that actually make you think: "While you're up on the hill in your big home, I'm out there riskin' my dome. Just for a bucket, or a fast ducket, just to stay alive, yo I gotta say FUCK IT! Here is something you can't understand, how I could just kill a man."
What else could I say? At this point in time they are the greatest. Accept no substitutes or spin-offs like House of Pain, though Funkdoobiest has a few fat tracks worthy of your ear, especially the one where B Real does guest vocals.
If you want to gain broader access to the hip hop nation, check out The Source (594 Broadway, Suite 510, New York, NY 10012, 212-274-0646, $2.95/issue). The July '93 issue includes a fat interview with Cypress Hill.
graphic: Mondo 2000, issue #9
(Michael Franti of The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy)
Here is the TEXT POPUP for Hip Hop
Hip hop has been called a drug. Part of its narcotic effect is the rhythmic velocity of its drums, combined with addictive horn or bass loops, and the percussive jones' of turntable-driven scratches. The fact that it can be so ceaseless, driving one's mind into deep grooves, makes the chemical comparison apt. This quality matches the microcosm of the ghetto: the producer builds a wicked series of looped layers that, while redundant, are often as irresistible and inescapable as the ghetto can be. The lyricist serves to demonstrate the mental, vocal, and literary skills necessary to play with, within, around, and even to escape the ghetto landscape. Here, the heroics of confrontation are acted out in rhymes, coded in the "cyberspaces" of CDs, tapes and records.
- David Goldberg