June 24, 2007

Cypress Hill (August 13, 1991)

Cypress Hill is a rap trio from California, made up of Latino rappers B-Real and Sen Dog, along with resident white boy DJ Muggs. Thanks to their hard-hitting beats and B-Real's nasal lyrics, most of which involve marijuana or the legalization of said marijuana, Cypress Hill is the biggest-selling Latino hip hop group in history.

Cypress Hill, the debut album, dropped after original group member Mellow Man Ace left the group to do his own thing, a career move which I'm sure he sort of regrets now. The first single was, unbeknownst to most hip hop heads, "Phuncky Feel One", which was, in hindsight, a horrible fucking choice. Luckily, the B-side was "How I Could Just Kill A Man", an undisputed hip hop masterpiece that made the Hill household names to those who maintained subscriptions to either The Source or High Times. Eventually, they sold over two million copies of their weed-, profanity-, and anti-pig-sentiment-laced debut disc.

1. PIGS
You have no idea how thankful I am that this album doesn't start with the mandatory rap album intro.

2. HOW I COULD JUST KILL A MAN
You've all heard this one already, and it still sounds great. You already knew that, though.

3. HAND ON THE PUMP
I'm one of those guys who always loved the use of the "Duke Of Earl" sample. This is another classic track. Obviously Method Man and Redman think so as well (listen to "Da Rockwilder", off of their collabo album Blackout!, to hear what I mean).

4. HOLE IN THE HEAD
This is definitely not one of those classic tracks, though.

5. ULTRAVIOLET DREAMS
I would probably appreciate this skit more if I were stoned while writing this.

6. LIGHT ANOTHER
Muggs's production throughout the debut lends the sound a very consistent feeling, as if every song was meant to fit together in this sequence, instead of sixteen different songs on a CD that could be placed anywhere. That doesn't mean this one is very good, though.

7. THE PHUNCKY FEEL ONE
B-Real used to date Carmen Electra? Really? Are you kidding me?

8. BREAK IT UP
More of a musical interlude than an actual song.

9. REAL ESTATE
Still sounds good today, especially with the beat switch.

10. STONED IS THE WAY OF THE WALK
Uses the same sample as A Tribe Called Quest's "Vibes and Stuff", from The Low End Theory, which was released after this CD dropped. Both songs freak the sample well.

11. PSYCOBETABUCKDOWN
The title track from the Nicolas Cage film of the same name.

12. SOMETHING FOR THE BLUNTED
Another musical interlude.

13. LATIN LINGO
In case you had forgotten that two-thirds of Cypress Hill was of Latin descent.

14. THE FUNKY CYPRESS HILL SHIT
There is funkier Cypress Hill shit to be found on their second album, Black Sunday. But that's just my opinion.

15. TRES EQUIS
You'll probably enjoy this X-rated inclusion more if you understand Spanish.

16. BORN TO GET BUSY
One of those "final song combined with an album outro" things that you would, once again, appreciate more if blown out of your fucking mind.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Cypress Hill is a good, but not great, debut album from one of the more creative collectives in the rap game. Most of the beats are on point, as are the rhymes (B-Real's subject matter may rarely change, but he always rhymed well), but the songs that don't hold up, really don't hold up. If you were to judge this to their 2007 output, though, 1991's Cypress Hill would fuck their new shit up.

BUY OR BURN? The great songs outnumber the missteps, so by all means, buy this shit. Buy yourself a bit of hip hop history, and as an added bonus, you can show up your friends by proving that, yes, they were around before "Insane In The Brain".

BEST TRACKS: "How I Could Just Kill A Man"; "Hand On The Pump"; "Latin Lingo"; "Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk"

(Disagree with the above review? Leave a comment below! Make your opinions known!)

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
DJ Muggs - Soul Assassins Chapter One

12 comments:

  1. Another nice one. and Carmen Electra dated, nay, married Rodman and Dave Navarro so we probably have a chance with her too and she's probably mostly disease free. Not it.

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  2. "The great songs outnumber the missteps..." there are no missteps on this one, fool

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  3. buy, buy, buy...lol, i brought this purely on the strength of thier being nothing else in the store that i didn't already have or looked as intresting, i knew nothing about them or heard any of thier stuff, and boy was i glad when i got the vinyl on the deck and the speakers up, This was simply the soundtrack to an awesome summer, this is another one of few that i have owned on vinly, tape and cd...and it still sounds good today.....I know the album aint soo hot, but each song got memories of good times for me, so this definatley is a BUY, BUY, BUY!!!

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  4. AlmightyKDJune 27, 2007

    I never thought much of B-Real and Sen Dogs as lyricist. B-Real is adequite at best and Sen Dog is well Sen Dog. Yet I agree the thing that makes this a hip-hop classic is the cohesivness that DJ Muggs production brings to the album. This album was created at a time when albums were complete pieces of work and not scattered attempts to make the most singles with as many producers of the moment as you can. Not a great album but a great listen if you understand the concept of an "album".

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  5. Homie Homie Homie..all you needed to write was ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST ORIGINAL HIP HOP DEBUTS EVER!!
    You played yourself on this one..

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  6. Another thing if you bought this in 1991 when it came out you'd know that they had Hip Hop heads cosat to coast open with this album...production changed the game and the lyrics were ill and original..damn i can't believe you slept on this classic!

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  7. I remember when this album came out, I talked my little brother into buying the tape because I had no money and he did. He wasn't even that big a hip hop fan. As soon as he bought it, I popped it into my Walkman and that was it. I rocked that album well into my junior year of high school and beyond. I miss YO! MTV Raps....

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  8. A really good album, not the best from Cypress Hill (the bests are Temples of Boom and IV). A really funky CD, wich will never get old fashioned.

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  9. This is one of the top 10 hip hop albums of all time, IMO. Not every track is a winner ("Latin Lingo" is boring), but it pushed boundaries. One of the first albums I can remember where the production was not only more important than the lyrics, but where it didn't sound like ANYTHING that had come out prior. Of course I'm thinking back to when it came out originally, so maybe I can't see the forest for the trees here, but it's money in the bank in my book.

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  10. You couldn't really fit Cypress Hill into the hip-hop category.. their style is their own. I find them in between a dark comedic/hardcore rap group. Hint: "How do ya know where im at, when u haven't been where i've been, understand where im coming from" and then later u hear a really dark song in "Throw yo set in da air." I find them really funny tho in this one.. B-Real has that sorta high pictch n Sen Dog goes in w/ his deep "puffin on a blunt" "u niggaz didn't jump" haha i like this album!

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  11. How was this album able to reach double platinum status when they had a relatelively low fan base prior to its release?

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  12. CLassic album.

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