August 20, 2019

Cypress Hill - Stash (EP) (July 2, 2002)

In 1996, Ruffhouse Records released Unreleased & Revamped, an EP from Cypress Hill that was intended to keep the group’s name active within the culture while the trio of B-Real, Sen Dog, and producer DJ Muggs worked on their fourth album, IV.  It consisted primarily of reworkings of previously-released tracks, serving mostly as a vehicle for the label to promote the Fugees remix of “Boom Biddy Bye Bye”, as the two groups were among the most well-known on the roster. The trick seemed to work out for all parties: the Fugees remix seemingly received much more airplay than any of the actual singles from the Hill’s third LP Temples of Boom, since that was around the time when Lauryn, Wyclef, and Pras were nigh untouchable.

In 2002, Ruffhouse Records released Stash, an EP from Cypress Hill that was intended to keep the group’s name active within the culture while the trio of B-Real, Sen Dog, and producer DJ Muggs worked on their seventh album, Till Death Do Us Part. It consisted entirely of reworkings of previously-released tracks, serving mostly as a vehicle for the label to make a quick buck off of the Cypress Hill brand without any attention paid to quality control. There are six songs on this EP, five of which are inexplicably censored, as though the label were actively trying to recruit children and parents for the cause, even though anyone who was even remotely interested in the Cypress Hill of the early 2000’s would have already sought out their work, explicit lyrics and all.

Stash is a goddamn fucking mess.

Unlike Unreleased & Revamped, five of the six songs featured here had been previously released as B-sides on various twelve-inch singles and the like. These tracks weren’t especially rare: each one could easily be found online merely by having your cat walk across your keyboard. Unlike its spiritual predecessor, Stash doesn’t feature any guest verses from outside acts: it is purely a Cypress Hill showcase, with B-Real and Sen Dog taking center stage. That last sentence doesn’t sound entirely awful, but trust me, given the songs provided here, you do not want to just hear these two fuck around.

Let’s just get this over with.

I couldn’t tell you what the original Muggs-produced version of “Amplified” (from Stoned Raiders) sounded like, nor can I be bothered to go back and listen to it for the sake of today’s post (I’m a very busy guy, you two), but producer Fredwreck takes the seeds wherein and grows… a generic-sounding West Coast dud. Sure, the new beat isn’t entirely bad, and it’ll bang out of your speakers as necessary, but the song itself isn’t worth any of the effort. Our hosts coast on built-up goodwill and weed smoke through their boasts-n-bullshit on “Amplified”, regardless of who is providing the musical backing, and there just isn’t much of anything for the average listener to give a shit about on here. Sigh.

“Amplified (Fredwreck Remix)” is the only reworking that is exclusive to the Stash EP – everything else has been previously released. As such, this lower-key “Illusions” reboot appeared on the single for the song back in the day. I remember liking it just fine, but it still pales in comparison to the much darker, expansive, and haunting album track (from Temple of Boom), so I hasn’t really given this DJ Muggs-produced remix a second thought until today, when I was struck at how empty this shit felt to me. B-Real’s performance, lifted wholesale from the original track, doesn’t even really fit the proceedings all that well: his nasally inflection needs something to bounce off of, and the acoustics in the sonic abyss that is the “Harpsichord Mix” are awful. The fact that this version is censored doesn’t help much, but you can easily find the original version of this remix online, so that isn’t a valid complaint. What is valid is how this song cannot stand on its own. Just stick with the (excellent) album version instead.

I mean, nearly every song on this garbage EP are “radio edits”, so I don’t know what the intern tasked with putting together the liner notes was even thinking here, but fuck everything. I quite liked the original “Checkmate” (from IV) – it isn’t a perfect Cypress Hill song, but the energetic performance s bolster Muggerud’s attempt at duplicating the sheer rush of a track such as N.W.A.’s “100 Miles and Runnin’”. This remix takes that vibe, slits its throat, and leaves it choking to death on its own blood by the side of the highway. Tony Morello (not Tom Morello, I had to check that one twice myself) remixed “Checkmate” into some rock radio horseshit that’s just bland enough to have earned airplay at some point, although I have no proof that ploy ever worked, as I don’t remember ever hearing about this remix even existing until this EP was compiled. Besides, nobody even seems to like “Checkmate” besides me and, like, three other people. B-Real and Sen Dog normally sound alright over guitar-driven beats, but this was terrible. Stick with the original album track or, even better, the Spanish version recorded for Los Grandes Exitos en Español, which is fucking aces.

This one’s been out in the world for quite a while, but it still sounds pretty fucking great today, so I’m not exactly complaining. (This is the only song on Stash even worth a god damn. Sorry for giving away the ending to the story.) Besides, any Cypress Hill song where Sen Dog takes center stage and B-Real is forced to act like, hell, like Sen Dog is worthy of a spin (unless it’s called “Amplified”). “Latin Lingo (Blackout Mix)” seems dated today when it comes to the lyrics and the Spanglish of it all, but you have to keep in mind that this song (well, the original version, anyway) appeared on the Hill’s debut album way back in 1991, so the fact that it holds up in any capacity is impressive, let alone the fact that DJ Muggerud’s reworked instrumental is bleak and funky all at once. It certainly works better than Prince Paul’s remix, which appeared on the Unreleased & Revamped EP.

The Eminem dialogue at the beginning of The Alchemist’s take on “(Rap) Superstar” is different than it was on the original version. Both serve virtually the exact same purpose, but Marshall sounds angrier here. Aside from that, Daniel’s remix is identical vocally (although Em’s follow-up after Noreaga’s speech has been eliminated entirely), the instrumental hitting the same bullet points as his work on D-12’s “Get Back”. This version really isn’t all that hot, and its inclusion on Stash is almost certainly due to The Alchemist’s standing as an occasional member of the Soul Assassins crew whenever the need suits him. Besides, there was no need for this remix to even exist when Muggs himself has already reworked the song and called his remix “(Rock) Superstar”, in case you two forgot about that shit. B-Real’s laser-focused vocals discussing the downside to fame still sound stone-cold sober, but that just means he did a perfect job the first go-round, so.

For whatever reason, the “Slow Roll” remix of Temples of Boom’s first single “Throw Your Set in the Air” is not censored, which makes for a jarring listening experience. Muggerud turns to a slower, blues-ier loop but doesn’t manage to do much with it, so as a result B-Real’s lyrics lack the urgency and aggression the performance tries to give the audience. By itself, the beat sounded fine, but I personally would have chopped it down to a quarter or a fifth of its length and included it as a between-song interlude on a proper Cypress Hill project, but then again, I’m not Muggs. This one may call out to you, but I wasn’t really with it. Bye!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Stash is the polar opposite of Unreleased & Revamped, and not just because the latter project is actually worth your time. It’s so blatantly a cash grab by Ruffhouse that I expect a formal apology to be issued from B-Real, Sen Dog, and DJ Muggs, and each moment that passes without one implies that they are all complicit, which should immediately trigger their fanbase to begin shedding. I’m not fucking around: there is no excuse for this EP to even exist. If this were intended as a bonus disc to be tacked on to a proper album project, then sure, maybe the fans would dig it (although including only the clean versions for five out of six tracks is still a questionable marketing tactic), but as an isolated project, I can only say: what the fuck?

BUY OR BURN? The fuck do you think?

BEST TRACKS: “Latin Lingo (Blackout Mix)”


Catch up with the rest of the Cypress Hill write-ups by clicking here.


  1. Who knew Cypress Hill released ANYTHING after Black Sunday... might go back and check the '96 release though.

  2. Stinky McCheeseAugust 21, 2019

    Enjoying the shit out of the new album. I wasn't expecting to, as "Elephants On Acid" is a bit too on-the-nose a title, makes it sound like they're trying to be weird, but it's a really entertaining album. There's some stuff on there that would fit really quite well on Temples Of Boom, which is cool by me. It's kinda long and kinda all over the place, but I listened to it in the frame of mind that Cypress Hill recommends you listen to their albums on, so I was ready to just relax and let Cypress Hill let it all hang out.

    1. This is me spoiling the eventual review: Elephants on Acid is really fucking good. After all of the Muggs side quests with Meyhem Lauren, Roc Marciano, and the like, it was cool to hear that he still had chemistry with the rest of Cypress like that.